I’m in my late twenties and I have never written articles that candidly resonate with me like this. It feels like I’m writing about myself and the pressure I have been facing lately on getting a baby. Weh! The pressure is real and every conversation has been around the biological clock.
So what is a biological clock?
It is a metaphor used to describe the sense of pressure women feel to get pregnant while they’re at the peak of their reproductive years. The idea of a biological clock has also come to symbolize the sense of psychological pressure you may feel when you haven’t had a child by a certain age.
According to fertility experts, fertility peaks in the early 20s and begins to decline after age 32. Further, after age 37, many women have a much harder time becoming pregnant. For many men, fertility begins to decline in their 40s. This is because fertility changes over the course of your lifetime. While it’s true that fertility begins to decline for most people in their mid-30s, you can still become pregnant later in life.
It is paramount to know that there is considerable scientific evidence that the number and quality of both eggs and sperm decline as you age. Additionally, just as women start and stop menstruating at different ages, the age of peak fertility also differs from one woman to another. There is no fit for all ages.
Every woman has her own plans including when to have babies. If you’re not ready to get pregnant now, don’t worry, there are options. One of the options is removing some of your eggs and preserving them for a time when you’re ready to be a parent. This is what is referred to as Mature Oocyte Cryopreservation, where a healthcare provider will harvest several of your eggs, freeze them, and thaw them later. When you’re ready to get pregnant, the eggs can be fertilized and implanted through a process called In-vitro fertilization (IVF). It’s also possible to freeze fertilized embryos.
The possibility of harvesting and freezing eggs for fertilization later in life is becoming more socially acceptable. I won’t lie, it’s a great invention yet still quite expensive. Hopefully, it can become affordable to all women soon.
One thing to note is that the procedure has risks that should be carefully considered before choosing this means of delaying pregnancy. In addition, having a baby later in life can put a woman at greater risk for gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia.
If you’re feeling conflicted about when or whether to have a child, you’re definitely not alone. It might be a good idea to talk with people you trust — including a healthcare provider — about what decision is best for your physical and mental health as well as that of your future child.
Your reproductive choices are a deeply personal matter, and you have the right to make them in your own time