Is it just me or are a lot of prime time television shows airing episodes where a female character is struck deaf and dumb by the loud ticking of her biological clock? Has this always been a go-to plot contrivance or am I’m just noticing it now because I’m 31 and at least one of my peers is posting a birth announcement to Facebook every other month? The mass influx of baby shower invites aside, I find it rather offensive that TV shows are slamming this narrative down our throats. While there are real and significant concerns about fertility as we age, I see the media playing a role in the hysteria, desperation, and ultimate “settling” that a number of women engage in whether intentional or not. Think about it, what sparked the last conversation or serious thought you had about fertility, your Ob-gyn or the hens on Basketball Wives?
Biological clock episodes are everywhere, it seems. Last summer on Lala’s Full Court Life, Lala Anthony struggled to reconcile her desire to focus on a career that’s gaining steam with her desire (and perceived duty) to have a second child. On Chrissy and Mr. Jones, Chrissy, who is 41 years old, reveals her reservations about parenting with a partner as laissez-faire as Jim. When she considers freezing her eggs so that she’ll have more time to decide, she gets the gas face from Mama Jones, Jim, and her girls. Even the comedy New Girl starring hipster fairy child Zooey Deschanel showed her character Jess losing her shit because her gynecologist friend told her that by the time a woman turns 30, 90% of her eggs will be gone. GONE!
I bet you can think of some shows you saw this year with similar story lines but you can just as easily turn to real life for examples too. Maybe you’re one of the many women out there who is truly concerned about how many good eggs she has left and how much more risk she might expose herself and her future child to the longer she waits. I’m not here to fault you for that because, without a doubt, the facts are on your side:
- According to a report published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction, fertility gradually falls around age 27 before dropping more dramatically after age 35. Findings suggest that older would-be moms may have to wait longer before becoming pregnant. There’s a decrease in the probability of becoming pregnant per menstrual cycle, not in the probability of eventually achieving a pregnancy at all. Shorter version: It might take women in their late 20s or early 30s a month or two longer to become pregnant compared to their early 20s.
- Women in their mid-30s who want to have children may need to start paying attention to their ovulation cycles for the first time. You can’t just “end up pregnant” like so many of our gal pals did in high school (no shade). The older we get, the more getting pregnant requires planning and time – not such a bad thing, in my opinion.