Not to rush you, ladies, but your biological clock is probably ticking louder than you think it is. According to a new survey, most of us know that age is a major factor in infertility, but most women don’t know exactly how much. In other words, we underestimate how easy it will be to get pregnant and long it will take–especially as we get past our 20s.
Funded by the bio-pharmaceutical company EMD Serono, their poll found that women today expect to be seven years older than their mothers were when they get pregnant with their first child. On top of that, we live in a society now where women are being told that having a baby later in life is better–best to get our careers going and not rush into marriage and a family. We see it all the time in the media–women getting pregnant in their 40s and even their 50s, making us believe that we will always be fertile when the time comes that we’re ready to have a child.
But this new research claims that we may be more than a tad disillusioned.
When asked what our chances of becoming pregnant after one month of unprotected sex for a women in her 20s, women believed it was 80-89%, when in reality the answer is 20-29%. For a women in her 30s, respondents believed they had a 70-79% chance of getting pregnant after one month, but again, they really have a 20-29% chance. And for women in their 40s, people thought they would have up to a 39% chance of getting pregnant after one month, but in reality, it’s less than 10%.
And when we keep trying to get pregnant? The survey finds many think we can get pregnant more quickly than it actually happens. For example, they thought it would take four months for a 30-something to get pregnant, but the correct answer is six months. They also didn’t know that a 40-plus-year-old is considered infertile if she doesn’t get pregnant within six months.
Barbara Collura, who co-authored the survey and heads Resolve, the National Infertility Association explained:
The first thing they say is, ‘Why didn’t anybody tell me this?’ Let’s be honest, women don’t want to hear that they can’t have it all,” she says. “We can have a great job, we can have a master’s degree, we don’t need to worry about child-bearing because that’s something that will come. And when it doesn’t happen, women are really angry.
The bottom line? As Elizabeth pointed out in a post last month, just because women put off having children until a later date doesn’t mean that they aren’t well-informed about fertility facts. And yes, women are not that stupid that we don’t realize that waiting until we get older can affect our chances of getting pregnant when we want to get pregnant. It just appears that we don’t always know specifically how much it can affect our chances. There are plenty of good reasons to wait (including financial stability, emotional readiness, relationship stability, etc.), and research like this shouldn’t make women feel like they have to have a baby before they are ready. Do what is right for you–even if that includes waiting until your 40s or never having a child.