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The “Aniston Syndrome”

Here in New York City, people tend to settle down later. Although I was lucky enough to meet the person I went on to marry and have kids with in my mid-20s, I have many friends in their mid- to late-30s who are either single, or in new relationships where marriage seems way down the road. Girl talk has started to include discussion of frozen eggs, sperm donors and infertility fears.

Babble’s got an interesting piece on what they call “the Aniston Syndrome,” wherein women put off having kids because they’ve been sold a bill of goods about their ability to conceive a baby later in life. Celebs who deliver well into the “advanced maternal age” of 35 – most likely with the hush-hush help of fertility drugs or donor eggs – propagate the myth. And women who figure there’s always fertility drugs may underestimate the toll treatments can have on a woman’s body and psyche. From the piece:

"Did we in fact buy a false message from our feminist mothers, and focus too much control on ourselves and our bodies in terms of birth control and sexual freedom in our 20s and actually wait too long to have children?"

I think educating women about the true bell curve of fertility is a good thing, but I'm wary of finger-wagging. Most of the women I know aren’t suffering from misconceptions about their biological clocks – believe me, they feel the pressure. Nor are they obsessed with their careers or too busy having lots of casual sex; they just haven’t met the right person. And it’s hard to move on to Plan B (becoming a single mom by choice) when there’s still a chance Plan A (husband, marriage, kids) might happen later. And for many, becoming a solo parent is just not financially possible, so it’s Plan A or bust.

Did you get pregnant later in life? Has your fertility ever been a factor in your relationships?


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