Why Do Women in Their 30s Not Want to Date Men in Their 40s?

I’m a 42 year old single male who recently left a 5 year relationship for various reasons, but mainly because I wanted kids and she did not. I thought that since I was an attractive, fit, well-educated, financially and emotionally secure guy that I would have no problem finding a woman in her mid 30s to settle down with and start a family. I have tried a combination of online dating, speed dating, professional singles events, volunteering, happy hours etc. and have had very few dates over the past year. I thought that online dating would be great since you are essentially pre-screening people for dates. I have found that I get no responses from any women online and the only women who respond to my ad are usually much older and don’t meet any of my criteria outlined in my profile.

I am told that women want to settle down and have kids, etc., but their actions seem to be to the contrary. At singles events, women come in groups and are reluctant to talk to men. In online situations, women say they want desperately to meet a nice guy like me, but never answer my response to their profile. I am trying to remain positive, but two things are really bothering me. One, that younger women are no longer interested in dating men who are even just slightly (3-5 years) older than them and sometimes want to date men 5-10 years younger then them. Two, women seem to be content in the fact that they are independent and self-sufficient and have a career, family and friends that fulfills them and don’t seem to be interested in truly finding a relationship. I find the latter hard to believe, but find this mantra in every profile of every professional woman online. Any advice on how to navigate these new paradigms in the dating world?

Adam

Dear Adam,

You came to the right place.

And to directly address your email, I have to divide my response into two different parts: 1) What You’re Getting Right and 2) What You’re Missing.

Let’s start with What You’re Missing. We’ll do What You’re Getting Right next week.

Why Do Women in Their 30s Not Want to Date Men in Their 40sWhat you’re missing is that what you want has absolutely no relation to what women want. We’ve addressed this before, from an older man who couldn’t possibly fathom why a younger woman wouldn’t want to be with him. This isn’t all that much different. We can complain that the opposite sex is unrealistic and passing up great opportunities – and we’d be right – but it doesn’t change that people want what they want. It’s not fair. It’s not right. It just IS.

From 25-34, men play around a lot. Why? Because they can. They have a lot of dating options, they’re building their careers, and there isn’t a clear urgency to settle down.

Once a guy crosses 35, however, he (theoretically) tends to get more serious.

What you’re missing is that what you want has absolutely no relation to what women want.

Alas, the women with whom he wants to get serious are 27-34. This gives men time to court, fall in love, travel together, move in, get engaged, and enjoy a few years of childless marriage before starting a family.

The problem is that many women from 27-34 are independent professionals just like their male peers. They, too, have a lot of dating options, are busy building their careers, and don’t have a clear urgency to settle down.

Then she hits 35. Theoretically, this is when she starts to get more serious. This is also when all the problems start.

Because 35-40-year-old men who are ready to settle down still want to have time before becoming dads. Thus, their target market remains women, 27-34 – who may not be ready to settle down quite yet. These women still have money to make, places to travel and oats to sow.

The 35-40-year-old women who ARE ready for marriage, unfortunately, are roundly ignored by the men they desire – their 35-40-year-old peers. These women are youthful and find themselves far more attracted to men in their 30’s than their 40’s.

…the bigger takeaway is that ALL of us are very judgmental on age.

Which brings us to you, Adam. You say you’re looking for a woman in her mid-30’s. That’s perfectly fair. But if none of them are looking for you, your wheelhouse is going to be women in their late 30’s to early 40’s:

Find the people who want you. It’s the same exact advice I give to women in their early 40’s who want men in their early 40’s…except men in their early 40’s want women in their 30’s.

And around and around we go.

I’m being a bit unfair, Adam, because there IS a market for a 42-year-old man – and you can certainly be doing better than you’re currently doing. Pick up a copy of www.findingtheoneonline.com and it should make a difference. Seriously. But the bigger takeaway is that ALL of us are very judgmental on age. To a 34 year old woman, 42 sounds OLD. To a 42-year-old man who wants his own biological children, anything above 36 is getting into risky territory. The lesson to all of you younger readers: take your love life seriously when you turn 30, instead of waiting until you’re 35 or 40.

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Comments:

  1. 61
    Ann

    Thanks for pointing out my misreading of the data. I was looking for data to support my claim that the majority of women having abortions are at either ends of the barbell and just did a random Google search. This factoid is what I had been told, not by the CDC, but by women at abortion clinics.

    It could be that this anecdotal evidence is speaking more to the observation at the clinics that proportionally more women at either end of the barbell choose to end their pregnancy. (Maybe the reality is: “You wouldn’t believe how many older women we see having abortions…”–meaning, the day-to-day experience of women who are actually on the front lines flies in the face of the cultural expectation that older women can’t get pregnant naturally).

    But back to my original argument: I was only making the point about the number of abortions to older women to support my assertion that actual fertility/fecudity rates among the female population are unknowable, so the bandying about of what your “chances” of getting pregnant are fall into the category of bad science–manipulated or misread (see how easy it is?) statistics. That a fellow blogger chose to zero in on that point and ignore my argument doesn’t diminish my argument, since the argument does not rest on the number of women who have abortions at what age.

    What my argument hinges on is what is measurable and what is not, so statistics (the measurement of what is knowable) in general, and how they are used, are key to the discussion. So let’s go back to those statistics on the CDC site and then I will reiterate my original contention, so lost in the ensuing discussion.

    If you read the CDC site you will notice that all abortion statistics are reported by abortion clinics/hospitals and the age is only reported when known. What is missing are the ages of ALL women having abortions and the TOTAL number of abortions performed–which would be near impossible to get. You’d have to collect data on and include the number of miscarriages (spontaneous abortions), abortions by non-reporting centers or offices, at-home abortions via unprescribed abortion pills or some other method, etc. In short, the CDC statistics are not representative of the phenomenon of abortion at large since they only include what is known and reported through very specific and defined channels.

    The same is true of the CDC statistics on fertility, though there is something else at operation in the culling of these statistics. The fertility statistics on the site are the collected results of fertility clinics across the country, which is how the CDC monitors what is going on in that industry. From the clinic side of the story, these statistics are what a clinic uses to market its services. To be blunt, the CDC statistics report on the success of a business model. If you speak to women who have been to more than one clinic you will hear the stories about how one woman’s chances of getting pregnant change based on the “reputation” of the clinic. That’s because no clinic takes ANY woman wanting to get pregnant; they screen based on what they deem to be acceptable “prospects.” Since there are plenty of examples of women using fertility treatments (donated eggs/sperm/embyos) to have children after menopause even, we know that the “chances” of an “older woman” (post-35, in fertility clinic lingo) getting pregnant are not as bad as presented–unless a clinic has some reason for turning away women who desire the most aggressive types of treatment. It’s fine that clinics turn away women seeking treatment–IF they present it as a decision driven by a business model–but they don’t. They tell these women that they “cannot get pregnant.” Which is untrue. They can get pregnant. Under different circumstances. (And please don’t flame me with rants about the ethics of older women having children. I don’t care, and that’s not the point of this.)

    What is missing from the discussion about fertility (besides more research into and more widespread information about the male half of the equation, which many bloggers here have brought up) is a comprehensive, longitudinal study into what is unknown–which is, what the natural span of human fertility/fecudity is. Such a study would require a sample population that is actively looking to reproduce without interference for decades. Obviously this kind of study is not possible (though there are some historical data that suggest that our fecundity lasts longer than the fertility clinic data would lead us to believe).

    In sum, because the natural span of human fertility/fecundity remains an unknown, the “chances” of any one person conceiving or impregnating at any age cannot be given.

  2. 62
    Jennifer

    When I posted earlier, I was referring to women becoming pregnant and carrying a pregnancy to term without medical intervention (can’t speak for other posters though).

    I think it’s good for women to know that if they choose to wait until a certain age to have kids, there is an increased chance of needing medical intervention (fertility drugs, IVF, donor sperm or egg, etc.) to make that possible.

    Some women will have no problem with that at all and choose to wait. Others may use that information to reconsider some priorities. But no matter what a woman chooses to do, I think it’s hard to make an argument against having more knowledge on the subject.

  3. 63
    Ann

    @62: I agree with you. That’s all I’m saying. There is no information on what the true biological span of human fecundity (male and female) is because we humans exercise a great deal of personal choice when it comes to our reproduction (no control group is available). With that understanding, what kinds of choices we make are greatly influenced by whatever the prevailing beliefs are about our reproduction. That some women have the eggs of a 20-year-old at 40 is a belief. That most women do not is a belief. That we should have our kids young is a belief. That we can have them until whenever is a belief. All of it can be argued; none of it can be proved.

    We believe what we believe at our own peril. :)

  4. 64
    Karl R

    Ann said: (#44)
    “The statistics you are quoting about female fertility are coming from fertility clinics, and the data collected are on women who have presented themselves as having trouble conceiving. [...] these are businesses, and their research are used as such and are very much manipulated.”
    “I do hold the media is responsible for this kind of bad science getting bandied about.”

    Ann said: (#55)
    “(highest rate of abortions per 1,00 women) are in the age categories of under 15, 15 to 19, and over 44.”
    Ann said: (#61)
    “Thanks for pointing out my misreading of the data.”
    “the bandying about of what your ‘chances’ of getting pregnant are fall into the category of bad science manipulated or misread (see how easy it is?) statistics.”
    “my argument hinges on is what is measurable and what is not, so statistics (the measurement of what is knowable) in general, and how they are used, are key to the discussion.”
    “the CDC statistics are not representative of the phenomenon of abortion at large since they only include what is known and reported through very specific and defined channels.”

    Let me get this straight. You believe that statistics are easily misused and misread. You also believe we can’t rely on the CDC statistics (despite your willingness to do so in #55, when you thought they supported your point). As evidence of how easy it is to misread and misuse statistics, you point out your own misreading (manipulation?) of the CDC statistics.

    My chutzpah meter just redlined.

    (If you don’t know what chutzpah is, look it up on wikipedia.)

    Ann said: (#61)
    “the CDC statistics are not representative of the phenomenon of abortion at large since they only include what is known and reported through very specific and defined channels.”

    Do you have any evidence to suggest that non-reported abortions make up a statistically significant portion of total abortions? Do you have any evidence to suggest that non-reported abortions would not follow the same age distribution as reported abortions? Do you have any evidence to suggest that the abortions where age was not documented would not follow the same age distribution as those where it was documented?

    And why would you include miscarriages (the accidental termination of a potentially wanted pregnancy) in with abortions (the deliberated termination of an unwanted pregnancy)?

    I agree that the CDC data is not 100% complete. However, it appears to be the best available data, and it’s unbiased. Your criticism of those statistics (as “bad science”) is not based on evidence or sound statistical procedures. And you seem to have a heavy bias.

    Fact: The average age of menopause is 51.
    http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/menopause.htm

    Fact: Live births drop off during the 30s and dramatically fall during the 40s.
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_12.pdf
    (Note that the statistics for older women are by 10 year age range, not 5 year age range)

    Fact: Abortions drop off during the 30s and dramatically fall during the 40s.
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.Htm#tab16
    (Note that the statistics for older women are for a 10+ year age range, not a 5 year age range)

    Fact: This decline in births and abortions does not correspond to the age distribution of the female population.
    http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-12.pdf

    I can’t tell you whether an individual woman is fertile. I can tell you which demographic will be reproducing most in the next 5 years.

    If you’d like to convince me that the CDC, NIH and census bureau are unreliable sources of information, you should probably start by demonstrating that you’re a better source of information.

  5. 65
    Ann

    Karl, you are missing the point completely and discussing statistics about fertility (rate of reproduction) as if they are statistics about fecundity (ability to reproduce). No one can predict who can or who cannot reproduce because there is no way as yet to determine fecundity. Apply some logic here.

    If a man does not have a child at point X in his life, does that mean he was not able? No. It does not mean that. We don’t know what it means. There are many ways to explain the observable phenomenon that the man did not have a child at point X, only one of which might be that he was not fecund.

    Similarly, there are many ways to explain the statistics you reference. You notice that the statistics above are not interpreted, they are merely reported. Look for causality and correlations, draw what conclusions you will from them. None of them can be proved one way or the other.

    I was using statistics in my argument to make the point that fertility (reproducing) demonstrates fecundity, but absence of fertility does not demonstrate absence of fecundity. If you can show that fertility statistics exclude instances that demonstrate fecundity, then you can disavow the claim that fertility stats and fecundity stats are the same. Clues to fecundity that might not make it into fertility stats: miscarriages, non-reported abortions, etc.

    To your other point, the prevalence of these things is not reported, so who knows how common they are or how significant statistically they are? Again–no one knows. I might have had a miscarriage last month and not know it. A miscarriage demonstrates ability to conceive (fecundity) without demonstrating fertility (reproduction). If I’m trying to get pregnant a miscarriage means I can get pregnant. Can I reproduce? Maybe, maybe not. Different question.

    Which brings us back to–fecundity first, fertility second. The second depends on the first, and the first is an unknown. It is bad science to say that a non-event in the second is based on what is unknowable in the first case. The best we can do is theorize. And perhaps years from now whatever popular theory we now espouse will be proved wrong.

    We do observe that most people seem unable to reproduce after a certain point. Why is that? To me, that is a very intriguing question. It isn’t that way in the rest of the animal kingdom. And, as yet, there is no known answer.

  6. 66
    Karl R

    Ann, (#65)
    I am applying logic. First, you act as if the capability to reproduce is the only factor. If a woman is able to reproduce, but does not want another child, then Adam will not want to marry her. If a woman is able to conceive, but is consistently incapable of carrying a child to term, Adam will not want to marry her.

    So for someone like Adam, fertility may be more important than fecundity.

    Furthermore, the available statistics demonstrate some overall trends. We can assume that most of the women who have abortions are capable of conceiving, but are not willing to give birth. We can assume that the women who give birth are willing and able to give birth.

    The rate of live births drops off even faster than the rate of abortions, so it appears that the overall willingness to reproduce declines faster than the ability. However, the rapid decline in both live births and abortions indicates that the ability to reproduce is also declining rapidly.

    It is possible that the decline in abortions could be due to women over forty becoming vastly more disciplined about using birth control (as an alternative explanation for the statistical trend).

    As for non-reported events, can you provide a plausible explanation why women over 40 would be getting unreported abortions in disproportionately large numbers? I can think of a plausible explanation why teenagers might get them in disproportionately large numbers, but not women over 40.

    I agree that older women have disproportionately more miscarriages.
    http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/14332_1155.asp#head3
    I would say that supports the arguement that older women are less capable of reproducing.

    And I think we can safely assume that fecundity ends with menopause (unless you can produce a documented exception). My girlfriend went through menopause at 42, so it can occur well before the “average” age.

    Ann said: (#65)
    “Look for causality and correlations, draw what conclusions you will from them. None of them can be proved one way or the other.”

    You’re tossing around the absence of proof like it’s a persuasive arguement. Meteorologists can’t tell you when and where lightning will strike, but I’m not about to start dancing on the rooftops in a thunderstorm. Sometimes correlation is sufficient to advise a course of action.

    If you want to pioneer long-term fecundity studies, I’ll applaud your efforts. But in the absence of such information, people are going to make decisions based on the best information available, even if it’s not perfect.

  7. 67
    Selena

    Re: #66
    Thank you Karl for doing the research and providing the references. It’s all about making educated choices from my point of view.

  8. 68
    Janet

    Actually, Ann, I do think that the CDC statistics are pertinent to your argument. You had it right the first time. What they show is not that more women at either end of the barbell (as you call it) are getting pregnant (relative to the birth rate) but that more women in those age ranges (relative to the birth rate) are choosing to end their pregnancies. Perhaps we can infer from those stats that women in those age ranges are less willing to give birth. Perhaps we can extrapolate here and suggest that women in those age ranges are also less willing to conceive and are taking pains NOT to get pregnant in the first place (you left out IUDs, which allow for conception but not implantation–very popular in Europe).

    From the outside what we would see is a bubble in the number of women in a certain age range giving birth. Which people who don’t dig deep enough might interpret to mean that women in certain age ranges CAN’T get pregnant.

    Karl, your argument misses one key element–women get pregnant by men. Perhaps men’s ability to reproduce drops off just as abruptly or even more so than a woman’s, the example of Tony Randall notwithstanding. Just as one possible scenario: Perhaps as our environment has changed male fertility is more negatively affected than female fertility. There may be others: Male fertility is very unexplored territory in reproduction-land. So the fact that Eve isn’t getting pregnant after a certain age might just as well be Adam’s “fault.” Just think of all the women who were murdered/divorced/etc. because they didn’t produce male heirs, only for us to discover centuries later that it is the sperm that determines the gender of the child!

    So in my book, Ann is right–nobody knows for sure what is going on here. She isn’t making a case for anything except accurate information–which fertility statistics don’t give us. There are whole countries where the birth rate is at or near zero–s0 clearly not every woman (and man!) in the world is as crazy to populate the earth as we are made out to be, and not all of us are frightened by any decline in fertility, which (in my experience) is what all these “statistics” are about. You are also peddling this fear, Karl.

    And just for the record–you guys should stop touting your supposed biological imperative. Everybody knows that no guy is chasing young tail to get her pregnant!!! I would say that he is hardly thinking about that at all!!! Ha!!! He just wants the supposed social advantage that comes from his buddies thinking he’s getting laid.

    It must also be clear to you that nature is about the egg and the resultant offspring–these are the precious commodities–not the superfluous sperm, most of which just ends up spinning off into nowhere.

  9. 69
    Ann

    Thanks, Janet @68. Yes, that is what I was getting at. I don’t know what Karl is getting at. He keeps insisting that fertility declines overall as we age and that isn’t even what I’m talking about. And I don’t even care about it. Have kids, don’t have kids, who cares. I’m saying that we don’t know what the natural arc of potential reproduction is for humans–neither for men nor for women. And to your point, we don’t know if that natural arc has changed over time. (I would imagine that our reproductive powers have been mightily compromised by growth hormones in dairy, pesticides in produce, metals in our water, whatever. But I digress…)

    My main concern is how the medical world and the science press present so much about reproduction as fact, when really it is business. $20,000 a pop to be told what your “chances” are. Misleading science and shrewd business and very freaked-out people paying over tons of money. It ain’t right…

  10. 70
    Karl R

    Ann said: (#69)
    “I don’t know what Karl is getting at.”

    Whenever someone starts tossing facts around that sound like they’re incorrect (i.e. #55), I like to double-check the facts. You misread your data.

    Then you started claiming that the CDC data was inaccurate (i.e. #65) since it did not represent 100% of the data. That is probably not true. The CDC data is accurate provided it captures a representative sample of the entire set of data. (Polls are based on this fact.) Since the CDC’s sample size greatly exceeded the minimum number for an accurate sample, the only way it could be inaccurate would be if it were non-representative of the entire set.

    Not only did you offer no proof to back up your allegation that the CDC data was inaccurate, you didn’t even provide a plausible explanation for why it might be non-representative.

    The information you were using to support your arguments was wrong. That was my entire point.

    “Perhaps men’s ability to reproduce drops off just as abruptly or even more so than a woman’s,”

    If that had been your entire point, I would have let it slide. Male fertility decreases with age. There is no hard limit (like female menopause), but I was easily able to find a source stating that the motility of sperm decreases as men age.

    Janet said: (#68)
    “Everybody knows that no guy is chasing young tail to get her pregnant!!!”

    Are you sure? I don’t want kids. I started dating older women because they were less likely to want kids, and more likely to have kids that were grown and gone.

    It seems perfectly plausible that a man who wants kids might also focus his search based on the age of the women.

  11. 71
    Selena

    Re :#70

    Janet: “Everybody knows no guy is chasing young tail to get her pregnant!!!”
    Karl R. “Are you sure?”… “It seems perfectly plausible that a man who wants kids might also focus his search based on the age of the women.”

    Which brings us back to the letter writer Adam – who broke up with his partner of 5 years because he wanted children and she didn’t. It seems perfectly plausible to me that he might focus his search on the age range of women who are most likely to want and be able to have children. Which historically is under 40.

  12. 72
    wanderlust

    It’s pure numbers. Women in their 30′s are hard to snag for any guy not just men in their 40′s. In my experience women that are still single, never married, no kids and in their 30′s are career women. Not to mention sort of rare so they have a lot of options. Not all men go younger so if you’re a guy in his 40′s you have to remember you’re competing against guys in their late 20′s and 30′s as well. A guy in his 40′s will generally have more money than a guy in his 20′s or 30′s but that doesn’t mean much to some women.

  13. 73
    Janet

    @71: Yes, Selena, I am sure. :)

    For both genders the issue of children can be a deal-breaker if they are contemplating marriage and they want different things. I know more women who would end a relationship if the guy doesn’t want them; I know lots of guys who don’t care one way or the other or definitely do not want them.

    But no man is going around chasing tail (I want to use a stronger word here but fear it won’t get through the censors) because he wants to impregnate that woman. Please. Let’s be real here. Getting her pregnant is the farthest thing from his mind. Ha!!!

  14. 74
    Janet

    Karl @70: Ann didn’t say the CDC data was inaccurate, she said it doesn’t represent what people (like YOU) seem to think it represents. It does not represent what is possible in terms of human reproduction, it represents what has happened in any given year.

    That’s like saying the tree didn’t fall in the forest because you, Karl, didn’t hear it. According to your logic, a 46-year-old woman can’t get pregnant because she isn’t in the CDC stats on abortion or assisted live births. I’m sure that practicing Catholics Tony Blair and his wife Clarie and his son Leo would be very surprised to hear that.

    Ann stated quite clearly at the beginning that she is researching what the potential for human reproduction is–not what the actual rate of reproduction is. Did you miss this? Do you have any data that can actually answer her questions? No, you are just descending into the usual ad hominem attacks.

  15. 75
    Ann

    Janet @74: You are too funny! Everyone knows that Tony Blair’s son Leo does not exist–because his wife was 46 (if not more!) when Leo was born. And the CDC statistics on abortion clearly state that a woman cannot get pregnant after 44. So Leo must not ever have been born. Unless…oh, dear. I’m not misreading those pesky CDC statistics again, am I?

  16. 76
    Karl R

    Janet said: (#74)
    “Ann didn’t say the CDC data was inaccurate,”
    Ann said: (#61)
    “In short, the CDC statistics are not representative of the phenomenon of abortion at large since they only include what is known and reported through very specific and defined channels.”

    Feel free to read Ann’s statements in their original context.

    Janet said: (#74)
    “According to your logic, a 46-year-old woman can’t get pregnant”

    I think the Guinness record is 66. According to my logic, women can’t get pregnant after menopause (on average, 51). Based on the miscarriage rates, they seem to have significant difficulty before then.

    “Ann stated quite clearly at the beginning that she is researching what the potential for human reproduction is [...] Do you have any data that can actually answer her questions?”

    Besides the world record (66), the average age of menopause (51), the miscarriage rate at age 45 (over 50%), the rate of downs syndrome at age 45 (1 in 30) and 49 (1 in 10)…

    For older men: fathers in their 40s are 5.75 times as likely to have offspring with autism than fathers in their 20s and 30s. Their sperm also has substantially less motility.

    If Ann is researching this, then why am I finding more information on this topic than she is? I’ve spent less than 15 minutes researching it.

    I can say with certainty that a woman’s reproductive potential ends at a certain age, it diminishes as she ages, and the potential for genetic defects also increases as she ages.

    Furthermore, I can say with reasonable certainty that a man’s reproductive potential doesn’t seem to end, though it also diminishes as he ages, and the potential for genetic defects also increase as he ages.

    Janet said: (#73)
    “no man is going around chasing tail [...] because he wants to impregnate that woman. Please. Let’s be real here. Getting her pregnant is the farthest thing from his mind. Ha!!!”

    I find this statement surprising, since you just accused me of making ad hominem attacks.

    How can you say that with certainty? Do you know the motivation of every man who is seeking a younger wife?

    Last year I had one man tell me the story of what he went through (at the age of 50) to get a younger wife so he could have a second chance at raising a family. He was trying to persuade me to start while I was still young, and therefore spare myself the difficulty that he went through. (He couldn’t seem to understand that I do not want kids.) I doubt that he’s the only man for whom fatherhood is the primary motivation.

  17. 77
    Evan Marc Katz

    Ann and Janet,

    To an objective third party, Karl is the one who is making more sense. Your point is that a 46 year old woman CAN have children biologically. Karl’s point is: who cares? Any man who wants his own biological children is going to spend most of his time looking for women 25-35. The fact that men’s fertility goes down as they age has absolutely no bearing on the situation. Whether he’s 25 or 75, if he wants kids, he’s looking for a woman younger than 40. All your statistics actually support Karl and miss the gist of the entire post.

  18. 78
    Ann

    EMK, I think a lot of people care if a 46-year-old woman can give birth. Especially all of those 46-year-old women who might/might not want to and the men who are in relationships with them and also might/might not want to. What about them?

    I think you missed the gist of the thread, which, true, went off topic.

    And just like woman of a certain age who haven’t chosen to reproduce, I would say that if a man of a certain age hasn’t chosen to reproduce he might not be as keen on it as some others and he might want to look at that. Unless, of course, he foolishly believes the myth that men can reproduce without problems until they are one foot in the grave.

  19. 79
    Ann

    Oh–sorry. One more thing. My point is not that a 46-year-old woman can give birth. That is beyond contest since it happens quite often. My point is that we don’t know what the natural rate of decline in fertility/fecundity is, neither for men nor for women. Yet fertility clinics, and the media who pick up their stats, present this as a known fact. It isn’t. That is all that I am saying. Janet added that there seem to be indicators that our ability to reproduce is probably changing.

    So in my view, any kind of talk about what people are/aren’t “attracted” to or what people think is possible for them in relationship is just a bunch of hooey. No man can tell when a woman is fertile, if she is fertile, or when her fertility ends. Some women can get pregnant up until a year after their periods stop (so my ob/gyn counsels women entering menopause and thrilled to ditch their birth control), but no one can say who those women are. So there ya go. Ignore this at your peril. :)

  20. 80
    Ann

    Karl@76: Because what you are saying is irrelevant to what I am researching. As I said, I am not talking about whether or not women should get pregnant, or give birth, or what might happen if they do, I am talking about what the actual decline in the rate of fecundity (ability to conceive) is over the span of our lifetimes. This is a very important question for all of us, especially as more people are getting married later, as divorce and second families become more prevalent, and as more and more people (single women, gay couples, traditional hetero couples) turn to assisted reproduction to build their families. It’s even an important question to ask in terms of how changes to our environment and in our food supply are affecting our bodies. This is not some “feminist” issue to get your manly knickers in a twist over. Think about it.

  21. 81
    sayanta

    interesting tidbit- Marie Antoinette’s mother was around 42 when she gave birth to Miss Let-them-eat-cake. And that was in the 1700s…

  22. 82
    A Reader

    “Whether he’s 25 or 75, if he wants kids, he’s looking for a woman younger than 40.”
    Yeah, maybe, but there is no way I would want to be stuck with some shriveled up 45, 55, 65 or 75 year old man and his kids unless he was R-I-C-H and he had already given me an irrevocable trust fund PLUS he had hired a 24/7 nanny for both him AND the kids. And I am sure I’m not the only woman who feels that way. Let men want what they want, but until they learn to be realistic they will continue to be disappointed.
    Or they’ll keep kidding themselves into believing that the arm candy they’re escorting around sees them as anything but a wad of Benjamins. But the arm candy won’t be me.

  23. 83
    Janet

    Ann @78: Well put! And let’s take it a step further. If the demographic of this dating/relationship site (as I understand it) is primarily single women over 35, and all of the single men who might date them want women under 35 because these men forgot to procreate (and because men are only interested in sex with younger women for reasons of procreation–still very funny), who cares about those men? A man of any age who wants children is irrelevant to a woman of any age who does not want them or cannot have them. And vice versa. Not rocket science.

  24. 84
    Joe

    Come on Ann, even you have to concede that while a person doesn’t know what age a specific woman will stop being able to have kids, that the older she gets the more the odds decrease.

  25. 85
    Ann

    Joe@84: How would I know what the odds are of a specific woman or a specific man being able to have kids at any specific point in that specific person’s life? Even YOU have to concede that that’s a pretty hard thing to determine.

  26. 86
    Karl R

    Evan said: (#77)
    “Any man who wants his own biological children is going to spend most of his time looking for women 25-35.”

    Let’s turn it around. If women are concerned about the man’s fertility (and problems like autism) they may spend most of their time looking for men under 35 as well … regardless of their age.

    If everyone starts doing this, then people who want kids probably shouldn’t wait until they turn 36 to start searching for a spouse.

    Ann said: (#78)
    “I think a lot of people care if a 46-year-old woman can give birth. Especially all of those 46-year-old women who might/might not want to and the men who are in relationships with them and also might/might not want to.”

    In this particular thread (and I agree with you that it’s wandered), we’re discussing the decision-making process of single men and women who want to become parents. When they look at a potential spouse, do you think they would seek an older partner if they had more accurate statistics on fecundity?

    Think about how people make decisions when the outcome really matters.

    Let’s say that you have leukemia and you’re getting a bone marrow transplant. You research the statistics, and you discover that one hospital performs successful bone marrow transplants 78% of the time. Another hospital performs successful bone marrow transplants 83% of the time. Which hospital do you choose to have your bone marrow transplant at?

    When the stakes are that high, even a small percentage is a huge deal.

    Ann said: (#78)
    “No man can tell when a woman is fertile, if she is fertile, or when her fertility ends.”

    In my leukemia example, nobody knows whether the patient will survive the bone marrow transplant. But the patient will be trying to stack the odds in his/her favor.

    Biology isn’t fair to women. Let’s say a couple gets married and discovers that one of them has fertility problems. If the man has the problems, it will cost about $2,000-3,000 for donor sperm and a cycle of artificial insemination. If the woman has the problems, it will cost approximately $15,000-20,000 to accomplish the same thing.

    Ann said: (#78)
    “any kind of talk about what people are/aren’t ‘attracted’ to or what people think is possible for them in relationship is just a bunch of hooey.”
    A Reader said: (#82)
    “there is no way I would want to be stuck with some shriveled up 45, 55, 65 or 75 year old man and his kids unless he was R-I-C-H”

    Ann, I would say most people can give you an explicit answer about what they are/aren’t attracted to in a relationship.

    Janet said: (#83)
    “If the demographic of this dating/relationship site (as I understand it) is primarily single women over 35,”

    That’s probably not correct. I just checked the ages of women on Match.com within 10 miles of my location.
    age 25-29 = 720
    age 30-34 = 607
    age 35-39 = 516
    age 40-44 = 447
    age 45-49 = 358

    The younger women are also more likely to be interested in procreating.

  27. 87
    Selena

    How many women, proportionately, in their 40′s are desiring to have children these days? Anyone know? Anyone want to take a guess?

    I know very few women who had their first or subsequent children over 40, though I can name a few celeb’s if pressed. Biologically possible or not, trend or not, the vast majority of women who want biological children seem to manage to get this done in their 20′s to mid 30′s. I know some who got tubal ligations so as to avoid any “accidents” after having acheived the number of children they wanted. Seems to me women who are willing to have children past the age of 40, just might be a small niche in the dating pool. And maybe that’s what fellows in their 40′s who want biological children are coming up against – there really are fewer women within their age range who even want children – even if theoretically they could have them.

    A 50-something friend of mine made this comment once when referring to a co-worker who had her first baby at 44, and hoped to have another one in a couple years: ” It’s easy to raise a baby when you’re in your 40′s. The thing to think about is, do you really want to be raising teenagers when you’re in your 60′s?”

    I think that might weigh in with some women who’ve already been there.

  28. 88
    Karl R

    Selena asked: (#87)
    “How many women, proportionately, in their 40′s are desiring to have children these days? Anyone know? Anyone want to take a guess?”

    Checking Match.com for women in my area:
    Ages 40-44
    12% definitely
    11% someday
    31% not sure
    13% probably not
    12% do not want kids
    20% no, but it’s okay if their partner has kids

    Ages 45-49
    3% definitely
    1% someday
    20% not sure
    14% probably not
    31% do not want kids
    30% no, but it’s okay if their partner has kids

    I wouldn’t call it a representative sample of all women, but Adam is probably seeing similar statistics in the women he’s looking at on the dating site.

  29. 89
    Joe

    Ann said: (#85)
    “How would I know what the odds are of a specific woman or a specific man being able to have kids at any specific point in that specific person’s life?”

    I didn’t ask you to know the odds. I asked you concede that the odds decrease as age increases (reading for comprehension). Would you say that any individual’s odds for having healthy children are exactly the same when they’re 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70?

  30. 90
    Helen

    Of course fertility declines with age. Trying to argue one’s way around this by talking about this individual or that individual is irrelevant. Fertility declines in EVERY individual with age.

    It’s called telomeres. If you wish, look it up.

    Of course, I’d argue that fertility shouldn’t be the deciding factor in romantic relationships, since: 1) people can adopt, 2) people can seek alternative treatments, and 3) kids are not the be-all-and-end-all of a relationship.

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