A few articles that are out and about right now, for a little watercooler level conversation on the Age & Fertility Conundrum.
Well, here's a HuffPo piece about the study in Human Reproduction that catches women in their 40's palm-to-cheek, wide-eyed, mouths open and aghast about their decrepit eggs. Granted, all the survey participants (from only 61 families) had to use IVF to conceive, so the little study's a little skewed. But that doesn't stop us from chattering about it as news.
It's nothing new (is there ANYthing new?) -- for example, here's an NPR story done in late 2011 about the EMD Serono survey of more than 1,000 younger women (25-35 years old and none of whom had given birth or sought fertility treatment) who figure a vegan diet, zealous yoga workouts, and just generally staying physically fit will protect them from normal, age-related infertility later.
Then there's Judith Shulevitz at The New Republic slapping all of us old folks around for pursuing babies beyond the usual societal borders. The "grayest generation" is imposing scary consequences on -- upending, even -- "American Society," Shulevitz says.
Wondered with despondency about the state of the country lately? It's our fault. G'head. Blame us. See if we care. We bet you can't slog through the whole article, anyway.
And anyway, a large Danish study was published recently in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health that says if you want kids and don't wind up having any, you're likely to die sooner and have psychiatric illness. The study's lead author said in this related article “Parents are less likely to die from accidents, circulatory diseases, cancer, and external causes," suggesting there are related behavioral differences between people with kids and non-parents. I know that I made a point of jumping out of an airplane before pursuing parenthood, and my post-delivery anxieties were part of why I made the career choices I did. Once my son entered my life, the thought of strolling through Crackville as a social worker brought a new element of fear. Choosing to be an at-home copy writer is probably the only thing that kept me from being an eventual gunshot statistic. (do i need to insert j/k here?)
How much of this study information is valuable to regular people? I mean, it's juicy for sociologists and media types who need an attention-getting article topic du jour. But it seems to me the only thing that comes from any of this in terms of real-world daily living is that we are woefully ignorant about reproduction. How it happens, when it happens, why it happens... The real conundrum isn't How Old is Too Old & Isn't It Better To Have Kids At Any Age Than Not? The true mystery is why the heck we don't see the value in sexuality (and family planning) education before it's moot for most people. Now THAT's worth an OMG look.