I don’t want to start a gender fight, but the way people pressure their twenty-something women to get married and have children is different from the way they pressure men around the same age.
Sure, both men and women have heard their parents’ “we want grandchildren” spiel to fill their empty nests with grandchildren they can spoil without the responsibilities of actually raising them. But for men, it’s limited to that argument alone. For girls, our parents – and even societal expectations – argue we should have children while we’re still young adults because of supposed medical arguments.
You might have heard this from someone before: have a child in your late twenties or early thirties. Because by 35, your eggs will start to die. And if you get pregnant late, expect that your child may develop autism or any health condition while inside your womb. Sperm cells, on the other hand, can still impregnate a woman even if it comes from a man in his forties.
If a woman wants a baby, she should get pregnant in her twenties, when she’s at her prime and most fertile. Otherwise, she should opt to freeze her eggs for $20,000 so that she can wait until she’s ready. However, statistics have shown that millennials are waiting longer for marriage and children. And in this economy, it’s clear not a lot of us can afford to freeze our eggs. So, how is it that the population continues to grow as more and more children are born?
It’s simple: the belief that women’s fertility plummets after the age of 35 is false.
Women’s Biological Clock Is Based on Outdated Sources
Because of outdated studies, you probably grew up with older people and the media telling you that your fertility rate is cut in half by the time you’re 35. Sure, people say there have been studies to support this. But do you know what that study is?
A 400-year-old census record from France.
We have been arguing that women should try to get pregnant in their twenties – even if they’re not mentally ready to have a kid – by using the health and medical practice standards of the 1600’s. Take note, this was a period of feudal war and a time before modern medicine and antibiotics. The reason statistics showed women were no longer having children after 35 was probably less because their fertility went down, and probably more because their husbands weren’t there to impregnate them.
In fact, the average life expectancy in the 17th century was 35 years. Back then, you were lucky if you lived past 35, let alone have a first or second child after turning 35. So, really, statistics show a substantial drop of mothers older than 35 because those who survived to produce children after that age were more of an exception than a rule.
The Chances of Pregnancy Are Pretty Good
Using modern data, it shows that a healthy 27-year old woman has an 86 percent chance of pregnancy within a year. Which is good news, considering that most millennials are having kids at 26 years old, the highest average age women are getting pregnant.
But what about older millennials who should be 38 years old as of 2019? According to modern studies, their chances are still relatively high at 82 percent. As long as you are physically healthy to have a child, your age doesn’t drastically affect your fertility until you reach your forties.
The Advanced Maternal Age
The birth rate of women in their forties have quadrupled from the mid ‘80s to 2012. While your fertility rate doesn’t change drastically until your forties, thanks to misinformation, women from the ages 35 above are labeled under the “advanced maternal age. During this time, doctors treat women more carefully as not to risk a miscarriage, but the chances of a birth defect or miscarriage aren’t as high as you think.
According to researchers, that “double” the media has been telling the world for years is actually a 0.5 percent chance of miscarriages to a 1 percent miscarriage. Technically true, but not as significant of a probability as many people would imagine.
Due to the fear ingrained in women, we’re left with two options: have children at an early age or freeze your eggs. The problem with the former, though, is that while some women want to have children eventually, they’re pressured to have children while they’re building other aspects of their life such as their careers.
The egg freezing industry, on the other hand, is unnecessarily pressuring women to save their eggs. Originally, it was a way for women about to undergo chemotherapy to save their eggs. However, it began marketing to women by claiming that their eggs at a younger age will be more successful in having a baby later in life.
The result is women spending at least $20,000 for up to a 12 percent chance in getting pregnant. In reality, the chances of getting pregnant the natural way are relatively high as long as the man and woman are both in good health.
As long as you practice a healthy lifestyle, there is no best moment for you to get pregnant. Women have the best chance of getting pregnant in their 20s, when pregnancy risks are at its lowest. However, for women with health issues affecting their fertility, it’s possible for women to seek treatment and increase their chances of getting pregnant.
You might have already heard of in vitro fertilization (IVF), for example. In this case, an egg and sperm and united in a petri dish (compared to the traditional way where it’s done in a woman’s uterus) and the fertilized egg is planted inside the woman. If there’s a defect in your eggs, it’s also possible to use a healthy donor egg that will undergo IVF and then transferred to your uterus. However, some women aren’t for the latter option because the egg isn’t hers, so technically speaking, the child doesn’t have the woman’s genes.
Don’t be pressured into having a baby at an early age. A lot of people may claim you only have a certain amount of time to get pregnant. In reality though, you have about 25 fertile years to produce a healthy child. So, take your time, build your career, and find the perfect partner you want to take in this journey before you decide it’s time to try for a baby.