Knot Yet! #3: Ticking Clocks

‘The biological clock’ is phrase often used to describe the sense of urgency childless women experience as they age. But are women the only ones whose fertility is age-limited?

We’re all familiar with the proverbial ‘biological clock’ that relentlessly taunts childless women reminding them that their time is running out. It’s one of the reasons that women get serious about marriage and starting a family (or just starting a family) at a younger age than do men. Some recent research however has highlighted that men don’t exactly enjoy indefinite virility either.

Men reach their fertile prime in their early twenties. After this, sperm count declines slowly to age 45 after which it falls more rapidly. While technically, some men can conceive children into their old age, the reality is that this is very uncommon.

In addition to the decline in the quantity of sperm, the quality of sperm also diminishes with increasing age. Recent studies of children conceived by fathers over the age of 30 have been found to be at higher risk of Autism, Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. They are also are associated with lower IQs. The effect is slight for men in their late 30s and becomes more significant at older ages.

Clearly, neither men nor women are spared the ticking of their biological clocks.

It’s another good reason to question the cultural wisdom of delayed marriage. Maybe its time to stop and rethink: why are we waiting longer only to make it harder?

Being married and having children in one’s twenties is now met with negative social pressures…but has anyone stopped to ask: what is the advantage of waiting? Life is full of trade-offs and waiting to have children comes with trade-offs just like everything else.

So if you’re ‘single and in love’, and marriage and family is part of your long term plan for your life; ask yourself…what are you waiting for?

Knot Yet Series

  1. Too Young to Wed
  2. Age Does Matter… sort of
  3. Ticking Clocks
  4. Marriage Horizon
  5. Responsibility Phobia
  6. Marriage Drain Myth
  7. Continuity Factor
  8. Finding Myself


Francine & Byron Pirola

Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children. Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links. For Media Enquiries Please Contact us here

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