UPDATE:Women can now take a fertility test called “What’s My Fertility” between the ages of 18-35 from the Center for Human Reproduction, to identify women who are likely to suffer premature ovarian ageing.
We’re bombarded with headlines about fertility declining with age and now pioneering gynaecologist Dr Michael Dooley, says we need to start having fertility checks at 25 years old if we want to conceive naturally. But is it really necessary? Two writers go head to head…
“Yes, We Need To Know Our Options”
argues Radhika Sanghani, 25, a journalist and author of Virgin
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always assumed I’ll be a mother– to the point where I’ve made major life decisions based around my biological clock and panicked at headlines screaming about ‘my eggs’.
But, I don’t actually know if I can even have kids. For all I know, I’m infertile and when I’m desperately trying and possibly failing to conceive, I’ll realise this decade of planning has all been for nothing.
That’s why I definitely think women are entitled to start fertility tests at my age. Right now they’re not readily available on the NHS – meaning they can cost hundreds in private clinics – but if that changed, it could liberate a generation of women.
Critics say that ignorance is bliss and knowing the truth could be hard. But as difficult as it would be to know if I couldn’t have kids, or if I had limited time to conceive, the alternative is far worse.
When it comes to my fertility, I’d much rather know all my options.
“No, It Will Force Us To Make Decisions We’re Not Ready For”
says freelance writer Daisy Buchanan, 30
I believe that it’s really important for women to learn as much as we can about our bodies, so we can stay healthy and take care of them. The more informed we are, the more prepared we are. However, I think that gynaecologist Dr Michael Dooley is wrong to suggest that all women should have fertility tests at 25. We’re endlessly made to feel anxious about our bodies and I think that this would only worsen that anxiety.
At 30, I’m fairly sure that I don’t want to have children. As a freelance writer, I worry that I’d never be able to afford to give them the financial security they’d deserve. At 25, I didn’t know myself or what I wanted nearly as well. If I’d had a fertility test and the results weren’t what I’d expected, I might have felt pressured to have a baby at a time that wasn’t right for me.
Women in their twenties already struggle with debt, unemployment and housing contracts – it’s not a time to make fertility a priority. Don’t make 20-somethings feel they should start taking care of babies when they’re still working out how to take care of themselves.
By Giselle Wainwright