Cue headlines telling women to have children NOW NOW NOW! (No, no, no). This is not, however, what the professor is saying. "It's not for me to tell women what to do." However we already knew that fertility declines as we age. To zhoosh up this knowledge the Daily Mail and morning television wondered if older mothers weren't selfish. Of course the only conclusion you can really come down to is: no - on account of differing circumstances.
We have already read of the Liz Jones sperm-nicking episode, this news no doubt had many freelance childfree older women pitching various media outlets about how they regret leaving it so long. Most people find adjusting to new things take a little time. Even those who thrive on the new, who constantly get itchy feet (the kind that can't be fixed with a steroid cream) or mean it when they write on their CV how they enjoy new challenges. Adjusting to having a kid or adjusting to the idea there will never be a kid, or not one that's biologically yours... they are things people have to deal with at some point and a little less guilt tripping from either side would be appreciated.
Even people who don't care for children can probably be persuaded to get behind the idea of ensuring every child born is a wanted child and that is probably best achieved through good education regarding contraception, access to abortion and support for parents. No child wants to hear they exist because the contraception method failed, nor that Mum was getting close to 35 and bowed to societal pressure.
we prefer to interrogate the women we cast as selfish old maids
There's the question of a falling birthrate equalling ageing population. This simply means there's room for immigration surely? But instead of considering how movement can solve some of the problems that come with an ageing population we prefer to interrogate the women we cast as selfish old maids. SPAWN ALREADY YOU BARREN BITCHES!
Speaking to to the Observer Dame Eileen Atkins said of her childlessness "If a woman wants a child she'll find a way. I would have done, I'm sure, but when I was young I didn't want to think about anything else but work - and men, I'm afraid. I wouldn't have made a good mother. In fact, I'm always surprised that people are so sure their genes are going to make a good person â that's optimism in a big way."
If a woman wants to explain why she doesn't have children she'll find a way to explain. Until then...I think we have all the required information thanks.