Feature: Soapbox Musings

Is There Really a Biological Clock?

Author: Laura Carroll
Published: October 27, 2010 at 4:40 pm

bio clockWe have all heard of the “biological clock” or “urge” – that deep rooted feeling women are supposed to get that calls them to have children. But is there evidence that it truly exists?

Research tells us that women lose their eggs as they get older, but not all experts agree as to how much and when. Some say women lose about 90% of their eggs by the age of 30. Others refute the mathematical model this prediction is based on.

And for men, as men age, research tells us that the percentage of damaged sperm they carry tends to increase, thus the possibility of babies being born with problems, including things like schizophrenia, dwarfism, bipolar disorder, autism, and Down syndrome. Whole books are out there on the subject of men’s ability to have children as they get older, like The Male Biological Clock.

While we know about egg reduction and sperm quality with age, how does it relate to that deep inner longing, that intense feeling of “I have to have a kid and now”? 

Many women talk about it, but there is no scientific evidence of where this “urge” comes from or even that it exists. Maybe the longing arises when women know they are coming to the end of their reproductive prime—that the option to reproduce may be about to pass them by. However, this origin of longing does not apply to all women, given the growing number of women who are not having children by choice.

The same goes for guys. Childfree men don’t talk about experiencing anything like this. And while fathers may talk about the desire to have kids, they don’t talk about the kind of deep longing mothers often speak of. 

We may not have the answer to where this deep urge to have a child comes from, but we do know that it's not a given for all humans--not everyone experiences it. There is one urge we all have in common, though. As a childfree woman in Families of Two says, the urge is not to procreate; the urge is to have sex!


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Article Author: Laura Carroll

I am the author of Families of Two, and blog about being childless by choice and more at La Vie Childfree. Along with being a "go to" on the topic of childless by choice and writing nonfiction books, I talk books at LiveTrue Books blog, and help people …

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