Plan C?

Reliable birth control changed everything.  For women, this test could change everything again. A new test can detect the rate at which a woman’s reproductive genes are aging, to determine how long she will remain fertile.  Says the researcher of the test’s possibilities:

Then you can sit down and have a discussion about her reproductive life plan. In other words, ‘do you want to have your kids before you get your PhD, or afterwards?’ If the answer is ‘afterwards’, OK, but maybe you want to freeze some eggs.

Caveat, caveat, right?  I can almost hear the smart women lawyering up at this invitation to rely when it comes to such a deeply personal choice.

[A] test reliable enough to transform the lives of a large number of women will likely involve a series of genetic and hormonal markers. It will also need rigorous testing to ensure woman aren’t burdened with anxiety – or given false hope.

How exciting.

Like the Pill revolutionized social lives, this test seems poised to revolutionize family lives.  Insert more caveats, of course; a family does not require children.  Indeed, this is only arguably more-revolutionary for women because our fertility is so much more complicated and medically mysterious than men’s.  (Jezebel cautions: “[I]f we gave child-free people their due as valid families, maybe we’d also stop viewing a woman’s ability to reproduce as a measure of her value.”).

For professional women, this test represents a marginally enhanced scope of control.  Enough caveats deter from relying on this test (including an aging woman’s increased risks of carrying a baby).  But at the margin it’s exciting to think that the next generation might have a better grip on the knowledge problems that haunt too many women today.


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