I’m 31 years old. I’m not old at all and yet I live in a society that’s constantly reminding me that my eggs are entering their golden years. I’m happily single with no signs of marriage any time soon and while I would love to meet my match one day and have a baby, I refuse to let my uterus control my love life – or my life for that matter.
We live in a world that’s constantly reminding women that they have to have kids by a certain time – you know before their “biological clock” expires. We’re constantly reminded that we have this small window of time and opportunity.
I can’t tell you how many smart, strong, professional, and successful women in their 30’s I’ve met or I’m friends with, who are completely stressed by the possibility that they may not be able to have kids one day. I don’t judge them at all – I get it. The pressure is real. In fact, I’m not even going to pretend I don’t have the desire to one day procreate. I’m just saying, I don’t want it to run my life decisions. I won’t settle into relationships or speed up relationships with men out of this urgency to get married and reproduce.
Did I mention that the term “biological clock” was actually created by a journalist back in 1978? The term which refers to a woman’s limited fertility declining with age, was first used coined by Richard Cohen, a reporter for The Washington Post. The whole article touches on how the older women get, the more desperate they get to become mothers.
But even the writer himself admits today, that he probably wouldn’t write this article the same today, mainly because men also have “a limit on their fertility.”
“But I don’t have any problem with the piece,” he told a Washington Post writer in 2016. “It’s just a biological fact.”
Sure, fertility may not affect men the same way it affects women, but men can’t just have kids at any age. It might not be spoken about enough, but a man’s fertility does in fact decline with age, which would mean they technically have a “biological clock” too.
Studies show that quite a few things happen to men with age. Their sperm count declines and their testosterone declines, which can eventually lead to both decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. Also, men who try to conceive at an older age can trigger a child being born with or developing health problems. Though the changes do occur at an older age for men than for women, it’s not in a man’s 60s or 70s like we were told back in the day. A man’s fertility starts to get affected after 40. And yet I don’t meet men in their mid 30s, late 30s, or even early 40s stressing over whether or not they’ll be able to have kids.
I don’t meet men expressing regret over casual relationships, flings, or failed committed relationships because they didn’t result in a child. In other words, you don’t typically meet men who run their love lives based on their “biological clock.” In fact, most of the single 30-something and 40-something-year-old men I meet aren’t stressing over finding their match or whether or not they’ll ever experience fatherhood. Most of them are living their lives, confident that marriage and fatherhood will eventually happen to them.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being proactive about fertility. In fact, egg freezing has become huge these days – especially in the states. It’s like insurance for your fertility. Time magazine reported that fertility marketer EggBanxx estimates that 76,000 women will be freezing their eggs by 2018. But egg freezing is expensive and I don’t work for Facebook who covers the cost of female employees freezing their eggs.
I’m not saying I won’t one day decide to be more proactive. I’m not even saying I’ll feel the same way I feel today when I’m 35. I’m just saying that right now at 31, I refuse to treat my body like a ticking time bomb. I will not settle and make desperate decisions in my dating life just to up my chances of becoming a mom. My value is not based on whether or not I experience motherhood and my happiness certainly does not revolve around it.