That ‘fertility cliff’_ it may be more of a gentle slope

Let’s talk about time. Fair trade definition deutsch The slow killer, the destroyer of all hope, the pitiless blank-eyed enemy who, with each passing second, bears you further from all the joys you once knew and toward decrepitude and the void. Definition of international trade theory Because it gets a bad rap.

I mean, obviously all the stuff I just said is true. Definition of trade payable Time is awful and it’s going to kill us all. Trade sample definition But in one, highly specific, sense, time’s savagery is overstated.

Trade in economics definition And that’s when it comes to having babies.

You’ll probably have read about how women who put off childbirth are gambling with their future. Definition of global trade There are countless stories in newspapers of all stripes about women who concentrated on their careers in their twenties, then couldn’t have a baby in

their thirties. Trade show definition But there are about 9 million women of childbearing age in the UK, defined by the ONS as between 15 and 44. Meaning of terms of trade In a group that large, you’ll always find enough sad stories to fill a newspaper. What is the definition of trade off What it doesn’t tell us is: what are your chances of getting pregnant at different ages?

Again, if you read the newspapers, you may have got the impression that there’s something called the ‘fertility cliff’ — you reach a certain age (often given as around 35) and your chances of having a baby drop off precipitously. Trade industry definition And it’s obviously true that at some point women stop being able to have children. Off trade on trade definition But it’s far from obvious that age 35 is a particularly relevant date. Trade repositories definition Where is this claim coming from?

As far as I can tell, it’s heavily based on a 2004 study published in the journal Human Reproduction, carried out by Henri Leridon. Tourist trade definition It looked at women reproducing under ‘natural conditions’ — i.e. Definition of trade payables no artificial birth control methods or fertility treatments — and found that 75 per cent of 30-year-olds will conceive within a year, compared with 66 per cent of 35-year-olds and 44 per cent of 40-year-olds. Trade structure definition In four years of trying, it says, those numbers jump up to 91 per cent, 84 per cent and 64 per cent.

That feels like a cliff, doesn’t it? The change in the four-year figures looks particularly alarming between 35 and 40, going from about a better than five-out-of-six chance of conceiving to less than a two-in-three. Merchandise trade definition You’re leaving one of the biggest decisions of your life to the roll of a dice, and hoping it doesn’t come up 1 or 2. What is the definition of trade union But there’s a snag here. Short trade definition The data that these figures are based on comes from a very unexpected place. Fair trade definition geography Or rather, a very unexpected time. Definition of trade fairs Specifically, the

Leridon and his colleagues looked at French church and civil records between 1670 and 1830, and compared how long it took for women to get pregnant, and how many children they had, after they got married. Definition fair trade They found — unsurprisingly — that women who got married later had fewer children. Pain trade definition And they found that the rate of childbirth dropped dramatically after the age of 33, to near-total ‘sterility’ at the

For one thing, it doesn’t take into account whether or not the women actually wanted any more children. Trade compliance definition Even though there weren’t artificial contraceptives around at the time, natural methods do exist. Definition of trade protectionism And, of course, older couples often just have sex less often. Trade worker definition As far as I can tell from the study’s methods, it doesn’t make any effort to account for these things. Stop loss trade definition And yet somehow this fertility cliff has become part of the modern conversation.

The good news is that there have been some — surprisingly few, but some — studies carried out with modern data. Trade network definition One was by David Dunson, and was also published in Human Reproduction in 2002. Definition of fair trade products It looked at 780 modern European women, who, importantly, were trying to get pregnant, and measured the likelihood of getting pregnant each time they had sex. Trade journal definition And it found a real drop-— women in their late twenties were twice as likely to get pregnant in any given sexual encounter as women in their late thirties. Definition for trade union However, when you expand that out, as couples try over extended periods to get pregnant, the news was much less bleak.

Dunson himself put it like this: ‘Although we noted a decline in female fertility … what we found was a decrease in the probability of becoming pregnant per menstrual cycle, not in the probability of eventually achieving a pregnancy.’ About 82 per cent of couples aged 35 to 39 will still get pregnant within a year of trying, says Dunson – far better than the 66 per cent in the Leridon study. Trade organizations definition And that figure goes up to 90 per cent in two years.

The trouble is, it’s hard to get good data. Trade dictionary definition Women who have problems with infertility anyway are the ones who are most likely to be still trying to have children in their late thirties and forties, which skews the figures and makes it look as though waiting is worse than it is. Trade magazine definition These are not the only studies, and there are still huge discussions over how steep the ‘cliff’ is and when it starts. Definition of trade system But it seems that it’s much less bleak and frightening than popular opinion will tell you.

None of this is to say that there aren’t good reasons to have children earlier, if it fits with your life. The definition of trade barriers Most obviously, if you do have fertility problems, it’s clearly better to find out sooner rather than later, so that you can do something about it. Trade customer definition Also, your chances of meeting your grandkids and great-grandkids are obviously improved.

But there are good reasons to have them later as well; speaking as a new-ish dad, my eldest was born when I was 33 and I wasn’t mature enough to deal with it then. Trade protectionism definition But at least I had a paying job, and a home, and a steady relationship. Trade imbalance definition There is nothing irrational about putting off having children until you have a better chance of providing them with a stable life, even if the trade-off is a slightly reduced chance of pregnancy. Definition of trade fair And the evidence suggests that the trade-off isn’t as stark as you’ve probably been led to believe.

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