Since at least the mid-1990s, the popular press in the developed world has been spreading the word that women’s ability to get pregnant declines with age. I wrote an Atlantic Magazine cover article on the implications of delayed childbearing in 1995, and the biological facts haven’t exactly changed over the ensuing 16 years.
It’s true that IVF success rates among older women have increased due to the use of donor eggs. Too, egg freezing has become more viable due to the advent of the high-speed cooling process known as vitrification [PDF]. That technique has led to a whole mini-industry in egg banking, a.k.a. elective oocyte cryopreservation, but success rates continue to be quite low [PDF, registration required], so the procedure doesn’t significantly alter the situation despite claims to the contrary. One recent meta-analysis suggested that those women who have opted to freeze their eggs might have done so too late to make a real difference.
So I was surprised to discover, checking up on recent literature, that unrealistic views about women’s fertility continue to be quite common among college...