Fertility and pregnancy: how long can a woman wait before having a baby?

Woman's fertility by age
Woman’s fertility by age

This is from Aeon magazine. The author writes for several ultra-leftist publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Salon and Slate.

She writes:

Many studies show that women are not only woefully ignorant when it comes to fertility, conception and the efficacy of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) – but they overestimate their knowledge about the subject. For instance, a 2011 study in Fertility and Sterility surveyed 3,345 childless women in Canada between the ages of 20 and 50; despite the fact that the women initially assessed their own fertility knowledge as high, the researchers found only half of them answered six of the 16 questions correctly. 72.9 per cent of women thought that: ‘For women over 30, overall health and fitness level is a better indicator of fertility than age.’ (False.) And 90.9 per cent felt that: ‘Prior to menopause, assisted reproductive technologies (such as IVF) can help most women to have a baby using their own eggs.’ (Also false.) Many falsely believed that by not smoking and not being obese they could improve their fertility, rather than the fact that those factors simply negatively affect fertility.

Fertility fog infects cultures and nations worldwide, even those that place more of a premium on reproduction than we do in the West. A global study published for World Fertility Awareness Month in 2006 surveyed 17,500 people (most of childbearing age) from 10 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America, revealing very poor knowledge about fertility and the biology of reproduction. Take Israel, a country that puts such a premium on children that they offer free IVF to citizens up to age 45 for their first two children. According to a 2011 study in Human Reproduction, which surveyed 410 undergraduate students, most overestimated a women’s chances of spontaneous pregnancy in all age groups, but particularly after receiving IVF beyond age 40. Only 11 per cent of the students knew that genetic motherhood is unlikely to be achieved from the mid-40s onward, unless using oocytes or egg cells frozen in advance. ‘This can be explained by technological “hype” and favourable media coverage of very late pregnancies,’ the authors concluded.

[…]For a woman over 42, there’s only a 3.9 per cent chance that a live birth will result from an IVF cycle using her own, fresh eggs, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). A woman over 44 has just a 1.8 per cent chance of a live birth under the same scenario, according to the US National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Women using fresh donor eggs have about a 56.6 per cent chance of success per round for all ages.

Indeed, according to research from the Fertility Authority in New York, 51 per cent of women aged between 35 and 40 wait a year or more before consulting a specialist, in hopes of conceiving naturally first. ‘It’s ironic, considering that the wait of two years will coincide with diminished fertility,’ the group says.

[…]‘No one talks about fertility,’ said [reproductive endocrinologist Janelle Luk, medical director of Neway Fertility in New York City], who does not believe women are really open to hearing about it. ‘I don’t think women know that there’s a limit: the message is equal, equal, equal. Women say: “We want to go to college, we want to work on our careers, we want to be equal to men.” But our biological clock is not.’

[…]Another way women might even out the fertility playing field is by focussing on the so-called male biological clock. But is there one? Although there have been recent news stories about how advanced age in men (over 40 or 50) increases time to conception and the incidence of autism and schizophrenia, the absolute risk is negligible. ‘When you look at the numbers, you have to separate what the absolute risk and the increased risk is,’ said Natan Bar-Chama, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. ‘The absolute risk is still really very small.’

I think if I ever have a daughter, I will be sure to urge her to be skeptical of her emotions and intuitions, to learn how to assess probabilities, to disregard exceptional cases when making plans, to resist the feminism in the culture, to get wisdom from older married women with children instead of young unmarried childless women, to accept that she is not so special that laws and rules don’t apply to her, and to accept that the universe is not malleable according to her needs and desires. I hope my wife will see the value of reining our daughter in before the catastrophes like infertility happen.

Where does the organized opposition to educating young women about fertility facts come from?

‘We feel that women should be able to talk to their ob/gyn about fertility,’ said Sandra Carson, ACOG’s vice president for education. ‘We certainly want to remind women gently that, as they get older, fertility is compromised, but we don’t want to do it in such a way that they feel that it might interfere with their career plans or make them nervous about losing their fertility.’ In other words, there are no guidelines for talking to a woman about her fertility unless she herself brings it up.

All this talk of ‘gentle’ reminders and ‘appropriate’ counselling has a history – a political one. Back in 2001, the ASRM devoted a six-figure sum to a fertility awareness campaign, whose goal was to show the effects of age, obesity, smoking and sexually transmitted diseases on fertility. Surprisingly, the US National Organization for Women (NOW) came out against it. ‘Certainly women are well aware of the so-called biological clock. And I don’t think that we need any more pressure to have kids,’ said Kim Gandy, then president of NOW. In a 2002 op-ed in USA Today, she wrote that NOW ‘commended’ doctors for ‘attempting’ to educate women about their health, but thought they were going about it the wrong way by making women feel ‘anxious about their bodies and guilty about their choices’.

We don’t want women to feel bad, so it’s best to let them follow their hearts. That view is not helpful to women! If we want to help women, we must tell them the truth, and take the consequences.

All this talk about fertility could be accompanied by a discussion of the hard fact that a woman’s attractiveness will decline as she ages. This is a troubling lesson that countless women have had to learn the hard way. When you are young, you stand a much better chance of finding a successful male with good values and who is willing to commit to marriage and parenting. Many women will testify that, as you get older, this convenience deteriorates quickly. The good men will be claimed by the responsible women who don’t waste their youthful years seeking thrills.  Men who are contemplating marriage value a woman’s appearance, fertility, vulnerability and submissiveness to his leadership. Women need to be careful not to embark on a course that will reduce their ability in any of these areas that are important to men, e.g. – careerism, premarital promiscuity, etc.

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12 thoughts on “Fertility and pregnancy: how long can a woman wait before having a baby?”

  1. Female fertility summary for girls of any age:

    1: Body. Your body is at its most healthily fertile from ages 15-25. Before, your womb may not be ready; after, your eggs degrade. Humans are not actually 100% fertile year round, either. You will probably need to adjust your diet and sexual behaviour several months in advance to prepare for impregnation.

    2: Mate. You will need someone to find you attractive enough in body to breed with and attractive enough in mind to stay with. Children need either an integrated community or two clear male and female role models to grow. Making a good choice of mate within your ten year fertility bracket can make a big difference for resulting children. Being a good choice of mate improves your chances of getting the creme of the crop.

    3: Resources. Children need food, clothes, shelter, education and medical care. Do not breed beyond your resources. If you wish to have many children, it is better to start a bit later in the fertile window. If you wish to have a few, starting earlier gives room to give them a higher quality of life. If you and your partner don’t have any resources for your children in the fertile window and you don’t wish to lean on relatives, friends or the government, adopting an older child may be wiser than attempting to be 22 at the age of 42

    1. 4. Reading a book on fertility awareness/natural family planning (using basal body temperature and other physical observations to know when you are fertile) has much more information about your body than either “health” or “biology” (through second semester of college) classes. Knowledge of when you are fertile can be applied to either achieve pregnancy or to avoid it.

      1. Absolutely. Whether a girl grows up to use commercial contraception, natural remedies or natural family planning, knowing to track her cycles has innumerable benefits. Better understanding of her moods and health. Preparedness for menstrual problems. Better understanding of diet and fertility. Less likely to get pregnant without knowing. More likely to conceive after the first few attempts.

        I can now tell exactly what stage of my cycle I am at and adjust diet, exercise, workload and sexual routine accordingly.

  2. So if men were to follow your unbiblical advice and select women by their looks than your mentor and idol, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse would still be single as she was definitely lacking in physical beauty in her 20’s.

    Are you saying men should shy away from Goldly women in their 30’s who lack “worldy” beauty? A lot of these women will meet most of your ridiculous “10 marriageable criterion” but are still single simply because of their homely looks.
    You’re adding more to the decline of marriage problem than helping!

    1. I have four sons, and we talk about marriage a lot. In my opinion, who you marry is the second most important decision you’ll make in your life, second only to whether you choose to go to Heaven or hell. Anyway, my boys all agree that they want to marry someone attractive; not because they are shallow, which they are not; but because they do not want to be tempted by some other woman in the future, they want to be proud of their wife, they want to have children who are decent looking as well. Most women can look pretty good if they just try. Someone who doesn’t try, doesn’t respect herself or her husband very much. I always thought it was the wife’s job to look as good as possible for her husband, since he committed to being faithful to her and her alone, for life. So in other words, I don’t agree with you, Eph5guy, and neither do my sons.

      1. I am more impressed with a woman who puts effort into fitness and make-up and clothes than natural beauty. The reason that men like appearance is because they are visual, and they interpret a woman’s effort to look good *for them* as being respect for their different male character. There are lots of pretty women who walk right past me and pay me no mind, but when I get chosen to see beauty, that’s much better for me.

  3. I can’t think of any woman I’ve ever known who CHOSE to be childless!

    Stop blaming women – especially Christian women! – as though we are unmarried/childless on purpose.

    1. I know women who chose to be childless because they murdered their children before they were born and called it “choice”. I know women who are childless because they put off having children too long, and before they knew it, they couldn’t any more. So Wintery Knight is warning women against these mistakes. There are some women who are childless for reasons they can’t control, and that is a tragedy, but W.K. doesn’t have anything negative to say about these women, not that I’ve seen. So your comment doesn’t make sense to me.

  4. Mrs. Susanne, with all due respect I am sure your boys are exemplary and developing into fine young men but as a father of 3 college-aged women, I must vehemently yet humbly disagree with your assessment on biblical standards regarding, specifically, on how Christian men select their wives.

    Of course women should always put their best face forward with respectable modest fashion to attract available Christian men or to keep their husband’s happy. That’s not the issue here.

    The issue is a significant population of available single Christian women who are not “blessed” with the worldly standards of natural beauty. Now I’m not referring to the clinically obese or wearing a potato sack; I’m referring to those women with a good modest sense of style imbedded with a kind and gently spirit yet despite their best attempts to match worldy beauty standards still are perceived as physically unattractive by men, even Christian men.

    Here you basically state that men should marry attractive women as a preventive measure to avoid infidelity???
    From SusanneH: “Anyway, my boys all agree that they want to marry someone attractive; not because they are shallow, which they are not; but because they do not want to be tempted by some other woman in the future, they want to be proud of their wife, they want to have children who are decent looking as well.”

    I find this statement quite infuriating and insulting to all Christian men and women. I expect this type of thought process from the world but not within our own Christian community and I will not remain silent about it, respectfully…

    1. Physical Attraction fades. Most successful married couples will tell you that initial red-blooded physical attraction fades over time and a new “inner attraction” develops and lasts a lifetime. This inner attraction is leaps and bounds more powerful than the initial physical attraction. I completely get that men, even Christian men want that perfect 10, but lifelong happiness through God can be found in a 2.

    2. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE OTHER WOMEN THAT A HUSBAND WILL FIND MORE PHYSICALLY ATTRACTIVE THAN HIS WIFE. ALWAYS! It is, what is. As we age there will always be young beautiful vivacious women around for husband’s to notice, therefore regardless who your boys’ marry, there will always be better looking women out there. Those extremely attractive women whom your sons will find more physically attractive (key word physical) in comparison to their own wives will only increase in number as your boys and their wives age. Thinking that by marrying a very attractive women, your boys will never ever be physically attracted to other women is a futile exercise, as basic male sexualtiy does not allow it. The solution is, does someone (preferably a respectable Christian male elder) teach your boys how do deal with this natural attraction in a Godly way and still remain always faithful to their wives regardless of how they look?

    3. Granted there has to be some sort of phyical attractive for a man to want to mary a women but, and this is a HUGE but, the level of intensity of that phyical attraction can easily be misguided/misinterpreted and lead to foolish decisions if placed at too high a priority. For the those good Christian homely women out there who may exhibit quality femine traits are still being overlooked in huge numbers, because many Christian men are, unfortunately, using worldy and not biblical standards of beauty. Statiscally today there are more practicing Christian women than there are Christian men in the United States making it even more difficult for Christian Women to find a Christian mate.

    Now my only evidence I have is anecdotal but I see time and time again the attractive Christians getting paired up and married easily before 30 and the “leftovers” are the homely Christian girls. It is up to us as elder senior married Christians to teach the these very bilblcial standards of beauty to our young Christian men. She can be 5’2″, broad shouldered with a large nose and still be a more Goldy wife than a Christian Mingle ad model.
    (Sidebar: On a side note we also need to better teach our younger Christuan women Christian feminist but that’s another topic for another day. )

    My point is, I plead for you to teach your boys to just give the Christian homely girls a chance. There are plenty of Christian women who, no matter how hard they work out, get facials, apply perfect make-up and dress in modest but fashionable styles, most Christian men will still not be physically attracted to these homely Christian women upon first meeting them. If these good Christian men just took the time to really get to know them, who knows, maybe more Christians begin healthy Godly marriages?

    Let’s work together to reverse the decline of marriage, not make it worse.

    Some 67% of single women voted for Obama in 2012. Do you know who are the 33% of single women who voted for Romney? It was the homely single Christian women.

  5. Very well said Eph5guy.
    Unfortunately it’s a selfish and materialistic world we live in today.

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