The Real Biological Clock

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of The Impatient Woman's Guide to Getting Pregnant, discusses her Atlantic story in which she posits that the decline in fertility over the course of a woman's 30's has been oversold.

Comments [27]

Yvonne from Park Slope, Brooklyn

I do not know what the truth is but I have heard the idea that it is not the age of the woman but the frequency of sex that is the problem and that, when a couple has less frequent sex, they have waited too long and the egg has started to decompose which is what it is supposed to do each month once it is past a certain point in a woman's monthly cycle.

Of course, it is quite possible that this may be among multiple factors that may create problems with both fertility and birth defects.

Does anyone know what the truth here is???

Jun. 26 2013 12:59 AM
Ed from Birchmee

I just love scripture, don't you? It's just so special and relative to all our lives. Some people say it's just a bunch of ranting by ancient Canaan sheep fondlers, but there's so much more to it than that. Did you know if you put all of scripture in a computer and cut and paste the relevant selections it actually predicted the birth of Nostradamus? I digress. The issue is fertility, and the fact they just don't make women like they did in biblical days. My significant other, Big j. told you about our problems procuring a baby the "normal" way yesterday, so we've decided to make one ourselves in the lab. As you know, it's the man's magical seed that makes the baby, so we figure some distillation equipment, some of that Nestle water and a little divine intervention will do the rest. We'll keep you posted. It's time to get to the subway now and tell everyone how wonderful it is to be Chosen.

Jun. 25 2013 11:06 PM

If you are a pregnant woman 35 or older Roosevelt Hospital (the only one I know from experience) requires parents to ingest 30 minutes of statistics regarding the increased risks your child and yourself face, simply because of your age.

Jun. 25 2013 07:08 PM
John from NYC

What is interesting is the purpose of this study in the wider society? Is it really a problem in our society that women (and men) are having kids at an earlier and earlier age? I might say the problem is reverse. Will the studies lead to delaying pregnancy even more that it is now (30's) and would that be better for society?
It is a question?

Jun. 25 2013 05:29 PM

"Peg" wrote, (10:46 a.m.):
"Sarah was Abraham's sister"

Where did you ever get that idea from?!

Jun. 25 2013 05:14 PM


Don't give me any baloney - start early, it will make you fit early, it's not weird chemicals.

Jun. 25 2013 11:29 AM

Re Molly: Also some women begin to experience menopause in their 30's. And if Mother Nature doesn't lie, what about the 20 years of high fertility that women experience before they are 35.

Re Aaron: Right On!

Jun. 25 2013 11:18 AM

I wasn't raised with the pressure to get married or have children, in fact, I'm sure my mother would have tried to keep me from being married before the age of 30. I didn't get married til I was 35, and I was 40 when my son was born. I am very glad that I waited as I was barely ready to have a child at 35 let alone my twenties. most of my friend with children also happened to marry later and have their children at 38-39, and I don't think any of us really thought about our fertility or lack thereof. We just sort of went with it...

Jun. 25 2013 11:14 AM
Debbie from NYC

Aaron -- You make a good point.

Jun. 25 2013 11:11 AM
Aaron from NY

Despite all of the real and personal considerations that go in to this decision, it's hard for to me relate to the intentional plan to have less time on this earth with one's children rather than more.

Jun. 25 2013 11:03 AM
Debbie from NYC

Does she have information about a 2nd child? I will be 39 soon, and I would like to have another child. Does the fact that I already have one increase my fertility significantly?

Jun. 25 2013 11:00 AM
Jennifer from Morningside Heights, NYC

I'll be 39 in December and my husband and I will start to "try" to have a baby this August. I went to college, got a graduate degree, and traveled the world. Now I am ready to have a baby!

Jun. 25 2013 10:58 AM
Wendy W from central NJ

My great-grandmother married at 39 and had one baby at 41 and one at 46, both perfectly normal. She was born during the civil war!

Jun. 25 2013 10:57 AM
Allison from Park Slope

I am going to be 41 in two weeks and I'm 10 weeks pregnant. I was in no way ready for a baby before I turned 40. My husband and I had no problem getting pregnant.

Now I am in a very stable happy relationship and have a happy home to welcome my family. I'm very happy that I waited.

Jun. 25 2013 10:56 AM
J Stanton from New York

My doctor told me the 35 age is important because it is the point at which the risk of having an amnio sample taken may result in a mishap crosses the rate of potential child malforminitiesundetected without taking a sample

Jun. 25 2013 10:56 AM
brooklynmom78 from Park Slope, Brooklyn

Modern women are able to prolong fertility years due to advances in fertility treatments. The statistics consistently show that a woman's risks for having a child not only with down's syndrome, but other disorders are increased after 35. I was very happy to be able to become a young mom (I had my daughter at 28 and my son 18 months later at 30. I can say that I can NOT imagine having a baby for the first time at 40, ESPECIALLY if I was working full time. My children had the benefits of having a young mom who had plenty of energy to take them to the park and lessons, extended breastfeeding, and plenty of perosnal attention. I would not take that decision back even though I (voluntarily) did not put as much time into my acupuncture practice, whicih is struggling.

Jun. 25 2013 10:56 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Is there any way to predict which parents are more likely to have babies with genetic problems like Down's or Marfan's syndrome?

Jun. 25 2013 10:55 AM
John A

Makes it seem more a shame that good fetuses (the best ones?) are tossed to buy a few years of freedom.

Jun. 25 2013 10:55 AM

I haven never bought into the mid 30s cut off for women and pregnancy. Mother Nature doesn't lie. Why would women generally experience menopause way past that, if it wasn't ideal for pregnancy?

Jun. 25 2013 10:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

There's nothing new about women over 35, or over 40, getting pregnant & having children. Before realiable birth control, it happened all the time. What's relatively new is women having their *1st* child at later ages.

BTW, some disorders, like Marfan's syndrome, are more common when the father is older.

Jun. 25 2013 10:52 AM
suzinne from Bronx

Think it's a real big mistake to backpedal on this issue of fertility. Just because doctor/author had children late in life without problems, doesn't mean that a great deal of women will not be able to do so w/o the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist.

Read The Atlantic article. On the personal level, for me my fertility was KAPUT by age 40. It was devastating, and I thought it wasn't going to be a problem. Saw so many women in the news having children in their 40s. What I didn't know was - were they using their own eggs? How many IVF cycles did they have to suffer through.

Of course, women are going to welcome news like this, but it's junk science, seriously.

Jun. 25 2013 10:52 AM
ivan obregon

the irony: it's not getting pregnant that is really the challenge for women after 35, harder as that may ( or may not) be but rather.......falling in love, getting married or finding a man who wants (or can support) to have..... a child. 40 may not be the new 30 ( or the old 20) for certain goals biological and sociological to women and constructs of relationships with men who may not agree with women's new definitions of what men should be willing to expect from be careful. Samantha was the most real character on that show that Carrie ever realized as an outcome more than by design.....if these goals matter that much to you. If not, then that's when it doesn't as much of a difference, when true love and/or marriage and/or children can be as much of a choice rather than a need as feminists claim it should be and supposedly is.......whether anybody else wants that or believes in it as much in the same way.

Jun. 25 2013 10:51 AM
Dee from BK

What about the risk of developmental issues, diseases, etc. as it relates to the aging of eggs,sperm...

Jun. 25 2013 10:51 AM

re: Ed ...and Methuselah (800 years) ... and Sarah was Abraham's sister and Abraham impregnated Sarah's handmaiden. Very good examples for our current society to follow!

Jun. 25 2013 10:46 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It's time to move on to producing babies in labs. People today can't be trusted with them.

Jun. 25 2013 10:46 AM
Ed from Larchmont

One thinks of Abraham and Sarah ... or Zachariah and Elizabeth ... etc.

Jun. 25 2013 10:37 AM

What are the rates of birth defects by age of mother and father? Seems that rates of children with disabilities are rising. Medical science has greatly enabled fertility in aging mothers and fathers, but is that gained at the expense of healthy children?

In the US, we've moved the age of childhood up to 26 years so that their parents can continue to 'provide' for them while they try to 'grow up.' Will this age of dependence continue to rise? Are we educating our children way beyond adulthood at the expense of their future fertility?

Perhaps we need to change "the message" that says "Wait to have children until you are professionally situated." Plenty of parents in past generations (myself included) had our children when we were young adults AND we pursued higher education at the same time (takes a little longer than 4 years, but so what?) Young adults are amazing people. They have SO MUCH vigor, energy, creativity. It's truly amazing what they can accomplish including having a family and 'LEANING IN' to their professional development.

Jun. 25 2013 09:59 AM

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