Science finally admits that it’s a myth that we fall off a fertility cliff at 35

Good news, ladies! We’ve officially been granted two more years of useful life. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the reproductive years for women in the United States increased from 나이 35 ...에 37.1. The study looked at 60-year trends in reproductive life spans and found that the average of menopause had gone up, while the average of the first period had gone down.

This study obviously doesn’t mean that having a kid after the age of 35 is a breeze. 하나, I really hope it prompts us to stop treating 35 like it’s some kind of fertility cliff. Hit that magic number and you’re officially described as being of “advanced maternal age” or a “geriatric mother”. You’re given dire warnings about how hard it will be to get pregnant and all the problems you and your baby might face if you do. Your pregnancy is immediately labelled “high-risk” and subject to extra monitoring. Trying to get pregnant after 35 is a process that is often shrouded in stress and judgment.

The quality of your eggs declines over time, that’s very clear, but the current obsession with the age 35 as a fertility threshold is outdated and unscientific. Take, 예를 들면, the often-cited statistic that one in three women aged 35-39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying. Want to know where that statistic from? Data from 1700s France. Researchers looked a bunch of church birth records from people whose life expectancy at the time was around 30, and came up with these statistics. One imagines the researchers would have been ridiculed in any other scenario. 하나, since this statistic serves the very useful purpose of shaming and scaring women it was parroted endlessly. 있다, by the way, more modern – and significantly more cheering – data to hand. One study 에 출판 2004 that looked at 770 European women found that, with sex at least twice a week, 78% 노인 여성의 35 ...에 40 conceived within a year, 에 비해 84% 노인 여성의 20 ...에 34. The Atlantic notes that these encouraging figures were left out of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) 2008 committee opinion on female age and fertility, which instead relied on “the most-ominous historical data”. A few years later the ASRM also launched a controversial ad campaign reminding people that “women in their twenties and early thirties are most likely to conceive.”

Our current obsession with the age 35 being a fertility cliff isn’t just unscientific, it’s unhelpful. As an obstetrician-gynecologist recently wrote in Slate: “this monolithic thinking creates stress and a stigma.” Because doctors use this cut-off point to guide the care of patients, you get a barrage of sometimes unnecessary extra testing and treatment once you’re over 35. This often results in a “care cascade” that can do more harm than good.

You know who isn’t treated as over-the-hill the moment they reach 35? 남자들. There still seems to be a pervasive idea that men don’t have biological clocks and can become a dad at any age. 하나, I’m afraid sperm doesn’t exactly age like a fine wine; sperm quality declines as men get older. Studies have shown that babies born to older fathers have been found to have an increased likelihood of health issues, psychiatric problems and cognitive disorders. Men can be solely responsibe for 20-30% of infertility cases and contribute to 50% cases overall according to one study. You don’t get many men in their 30s stressing about freezing their sperm to preserve its quality though, do you?

I’m not trying to suggest we shame men for waiting “too long” to have a kid, by the way. It’s just time we stop shaming women. If organizations like the ASRM want women to have kids earlier in life, then the focus should be on making parenthood more affordable, not on fearmongering ad campaigns. And instead of making women the culprits for infertility, we ought to be shaming the plastics industry. It’s been posited that one reason infertility rates are rising is the fact that we’re all consuming the equivalent of a credit card’s worth of plastic every week. Fertility is complicated; it’s affected by multiple things and is different for every individual. But let’s just fixate on the age 35 shall we?

Dads-to-be now have to pay half the cost of a mother’s medical care related to pregnancy and delivery. It’s the first law of its kind in the US. You know what would be better? Having universal healthcare, so that having a baby isn’t so damn expensive.

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I had no idea what wikiFeet was before I read this disturbing (but also brilliant) piece and my life was better for it.

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