Feminism & the Fertility Window
Angelina Stanford tells me something I did not know about two daughters of famous women. Excerpt:
At age 39, Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha Stewart decided that the time was right at last to have a child. Sadly, her body disagreed, and she was unable to conceive. Alexis was shocked to discover the biological truth: by age 30 a woman’s fertility decreases by 7 percent; by age 45 it declines by 87 percent.
She is downright angry when she discusses the ways in which women have been hoodwinked. Magazines herald celebrities giving birth to their firstborn in their forties or beyond. No one tells you what her gynecologist told her about those celebrities—those aren’t their eggs.
She was dismayed to discover how rare it is for a woman to conceive naturally in her forties. Even those who can afford fertility treatments are often turned away because of their age. At forty, you are too old, the clinic insists.
Alexis Stewart’s story has a somewhat happy ending. After painful and expensive (she was paying $27,000 a month) fertility treatments, she did conceive and have a child.
Actually, that’s not quite how it happened. Wealthy Alexis Stewart rented a surrogate’s womb. Several of them, in fact. Sicko stuff. But yes, she has a baby, at last, and will be raising the child without a daddy.
Stanford also highlights the case of Rebecca Walker, daughter of the feminist novelist Alice Walker. The two are estranged because, according to Rebecca, her radical mother propagandized her against motherhood. From a NYT piece about Rebecca Walker’s embrace of motherhood:
“I keep telling these women in college, ‘You need to plan having a baby like you plan your career if it’s something that you want,’ ” she said. “Because we haven’t been told that, this generation. And they’re shocked when I say that. I’m supposed to be like this feminist telling them, ‘Go achieve, go achieve.’ And I’m sitting there saying, ‘For me, having a baby has been the most transformational experience of my life.’ ”