My unmarried niece failed to show up at my son’s wedding. I complained to her mother, observing that she has no life, so no excuse for not turning up.

Her mother, who is my elder sister, was somewhat indignant about this and alleged that my niece had a boyfriend. I commented that since my niece was too old to be fertile, her boyfriend was not serious, unlikely to become a husband, and may well be a boyfriend only in my niece’s energetic imagination.

At this my sister went apocalyptic, claiming that women can go on having children forever, or for a very long time, and that women remain attractive to potential new husbands forever, although her own life should have disabused her of this theory. (She foolishly divorced her high socioeconomic status husband, and expected to remarry swiftly, and remarry someone of equal or higher socioeconomic status, despite two kids in tow and a past history of … behavior unsuitable for a wife.)

It would seem that the male belief that fertility and attractiveness decline rapidly once a woman reaches a certain age is phallocentric and oppressive.

Equality means that female ovaries have the same functional lifetime as male testicles, which is logical, and, like equality itself, insane.

So here follows a public service announcement for women: 

Ovaries dry up a lot quicker than testicles. At age thirty six two fifths of women are infertile, and most of the women that are theoretically fertile have a hard time getting pregnant, plus there is a substantially higher risk of the pregnancy going wrong. So you should have your babies before thirty six. If planning three babies two years apart, need to get pregnant at thirty one. If pregnant at thirty one, married at thirty. Which is why your prospects for getting married plunge abruptly at thirty, because any potential husbands are doing the same arithmetic. Yes, some woman you know got pregnant and married at forty four – but your chances of being that woman are not good.

Getting married and having kids is going to deep six your career to the same extent regardless whether you marry at eighteen or thirty five. Being successful in your career makes you less attractive to men, because of the higher divorce risk, bitchiness risk, and infidelity risk of successful career women. You can always do the career thing later. You cannot do the baby thing later. Male doctors marry nurses. They do not marry female doctors.

And if you divorce after having kids, you are not going to remarry a handsome physically fit millionaire, no matter what the movies and romance books tell you. Even divorce before having children substantially impairs your marriage prospects, because of the high infidelity and divorce risk posed by divorcees.

You can probably postpone getting married to thirty six, but if you postpone having children to thirty six, you are likely to have zero or one child.


43 Responses to “Fertility”

  1. Glenfilthie says:

    Jim, you live very, very dangerously!


  2. rightsaidfred says:

    Reminds me of the adage that we are not a rational species; we are a rationalizing species.

  3. Samson J. says:

    Male doctors marry nurses. They do not marry female doctors.

    Whoa, hoss – I almost always agree with you, Jim, but this sociological observation is outdated by three decades or more. We actually had a discussion about it recently at Lion of the Blogosphere. I estimate that over 50% of the female doctors in my generation marry other doctors (and the rest have weird marriage trends not representative of your typical “career woman”, which is another discussion.)

    Otherwise, nothing here to find fault with.

    • SOBL says:

      Samson – you are right as is Jim. The percentage of FEMALE MDs married to MDs is absurdly high and much higher than MALE MDs married to MDs. How else can female MDs work less than 30 hours per week on average and still pay off the loans? Men still make it majority of MDs (roughly 75%). It’s like the stat where high income women marry high income men more so than high income men marry high income women. Women don’t like sharing their wealth.

      • Samson J. says:

        The percentage of FEMALE MDs married to MDs is absurdly high and much higher than MALE MDs married to MDs

        Yes, that matches what I see, and is itself an interesting observation about hypergamy. It’s significantly explained by female GPs marrying male specialists, and in fact things have gotten to the point where, when I meet a married female GP at a conference or wherever, I generally assume she is married to a specialist, or at least to a GP who works more than she does. If not, she’ll turn out to have married a guy whose job is interesting and off-the-wall.

        Men still make it majority of MDs (roughly 75%)

        Eh? Not in Canada, where women are about 55% of new MDs, and I had the idea it was similar in the US. It’s a real problem for these hypergamous lady doctors.

        • Dire Badger says:

          Except that that 55% ignores the statistically high probability of a Female MD ‘leaving the service’.

          While more new doctors are females, in general, a large number of them (over 65% according to some studies) Will no longer be a practicing MD after they pay off their student loans (within about 12 years) Whereas, male MD’s tend to keep around 90% retention after 12 years.
          All in all, this adds up to a much larger percentage of male GP’s than female. It aslo explains why it is far less financially profitable to support the educational requirements of female practitioners… due to their drop rate, it technically costs 30% more to educate a woman to be a doctor than a man, and introduces instabilities into the number of available doctors.

      • Congo Sam says:

        Worked in a hospital pathology/cytology dept 25 years ago. Your impression matches my own. The female doctors married male doctors if possible, chose mommy-track friendly specialties (path/cyto, for example) in most cases, and often tended to have kids in their 20s, managing that with residency as best they could.

        By now, female doctors may for all I know be too empowered to grasp simple arithmetic and well-understood biology, but in those days a majority seemed to grok it. Overall, they were just almost scraping along at replacement, fertility-wise, in the small sample I knew. Which by first world standards is above average.

    • Ace says:

      From an infidelity stand point it actually makes more sense for a male doctor to marry a female doctor and fuck the nurses on the side. A women doctor really doesn’t have a lot of room to trade up and thus has less temptations than a nurse(works fewer hours too), but a nurse has a lot of male doctors with much higher status around her constantly. Proximity to a much higher status male is a bigger risk than the extra attraction provided by your own status boost as a doctor.

    • rob says:

      Male MDs will marry down. Female MDs will only marry on their level or up.

  4. spandrell says:

    Congrats to your son, Jim. Hope he makes you a bunch of grandkids so you can be the grumpiest grandpa ever.

    My grandpa was plenty grumpy but he was a communist. He’d agree with anything you said here though.

    • reakcionar says:

      Ma fathers uncle is an old communist, a really wonderful man. A bunch of us were watching news at his place some time ago, and there was something about gay rights on. He frowned and lowered his voice to the minimum and said: “in my time there were not so many malformations like this”. What was fascinating about it was that gentle lowering of his voice – living under a communist regime for 40 years gave him a very sharpened sense of what one should and shouldn’t say in front of other people.

    • jim says:

      They are planning lots of grandkids for me, and working on them starting right away.

  5. Shenpen says:

    >If planning three babies two years apart, need to get pregnant at thirty one. If pregnant at thirty one, married at thirty.

    I chuckled. I used exactly the same arithmetic, just one year later. I proposed when she was 31, and now we have our first kid born at her 32,5 age. However we just plan 2. We don’t really have enough living space for 3. Anyway we will see how things turn out.

    What is missing from your arithmetic is that it is easier to get pregnant later if it is not the first time. My great-grandma was giving birth at 42, but that was the sixth child. For a third child – in case we manage to make more moeny – I feel fairly safe with 36-38.

    • Somebody says:

      I’ve noticed that too, and here’s my theory: women don’t menstrate while pregnant and often not while breast feeding. 9 months pregnancy plus 13 months breastfeeding = 22 eggs conserved. Times 6 kids means that the 42 yo great-grandma was 132 eggs fresher than any first timers that age.

      It seems that the more kids a woman has, the longer she can have kids.

      • Steve Johnson says:

        That probably isn’t the cause – hormonal birth control reduces the frequency of ovulation and a 40 year old woman who’s been on the pill since she turned 16 isn’t as fertile as a 25 year old.

    • sunshinemary says:

      What is missing from your arithmetic is that it is easier to get pregnant later if it is not the first time. My great-grandma was giving birth at 42, but that was the sixth child. For a third child – in case we manage to make more moeny – I feel fairly safe with 36-38.

      Oh, is that true? How interesting. That is how it played out for me, too. Do you know if there is a scientific basis for this?

      One thing to note, though, is that miscarriage rates are still much higher for older women. I had our first at 30 and was dropping babies left and right throughout my 30s; then I turned 40 and, while I’ve still gotten knocked up half a dozen times over the past four years, I’ve always miscarried. You can’t bank on an older woman being able to deliver a child even if she’s had children already and can still get pregnant.

  6. Shelby says:

    Jim I posted about this blog article. Thanks.

    I note the two most important cryptographic papers I’ve read recently are from three women. This doesn’t serve as a counter-example to the fertility facts as I explained in the above linked post.

    • jim says:

      On following your link, I see that these were very smart women, but the first paper seem unremarkable, and the second paper, proofs of witness, is a cool technology in search of a useful application, so, not the most important cryptographic papers you have read recently, unless you have read them very recently.

      But yes, those women can do maths.

      • Shelby says:

        Melissa Chase and Anna Lysyanskaya, “On Signatures of Knowledge”.

        Kaisa Nyberg, “Fast Accumulated Hashing”.

        My opinion only of course, which doesn’t carry much weight in cryptography. Kaisa explains how to accomplish an accumulator which is quantum computing resistant, which is highly relevant to my work on a better Bitcoin, e.g. to improve on a Merkel tree and possibly as a way to make a Zerocoin that is quantum computing secure. Melissa and Anna explain how to allow one to issue signatures on behalf of any NP statement, which is profound and apparently the glue innovation of Zerocoin.

        Are these just outliers to your statistical fact on comparative IQ between the brightest men and women, or are these developments more expected systematically due to the nature of cryptography?

        P.S. I just helped Karl Gluck to publish an apparently correct way to trade-off space for computation with something that is similar to a Lamport signature.

        • jim says:

          No one knows what is and is not quantum resistant, but any symmetric algorithm is likely to be quantum resistant, thus, just another symmetric algorithm, of which we have a very large supply.

          Not obvious to me that signatures on behalf of an NP statement is part of zerocoin. Tomas Sander and Amnon Ta-Shma do not cite Melissa and Anna.

          These are undeniably smart women, but “the most important papers you have read recently”? I don’t think so.

          • Shelby says:

            Your appraisal may be more informed than mine. I am a recent autodidact in cryptography. Here are my further observations.

            The new Zerocoin optimization (signature sizes reduced from 50KB to 344B) paper cites Melissa and Anna.

            Pinocchio Coin: Building Zerocoin from a Succinct
            Pairing-based Proof System

            Kaisa’s accumulator employes only a cryptographic hash and no number theoretic assumptions.

            I wrote at the Bitcointalk forum:

            For the laymen, most public key cryptography (e.g. RSA and Bitcoin’s ECDSA and Zerocoin) is based on number theoretic assumptions such as the difficulty in factoring discrete logarithms which makes them impossible to crack (at sufficient bit lengths) with current computers. However, quantum computing would (in theory) enable Shor’s algorithm which reduces these factoring problems from exponential to polynomial time. Thus what would have required a zillion years to crack can be cracked in reasonable time to make it practical.

            However, cryptographic hash functions do not rely on number theoretic assumptions. Instead they rely on the assumption of asymptotically perfect random distribution of the input to the output, which can be somewhat verified like this. Thus they can’t be cracked with Shor’s algorithm and only Grover’s algorithm can be applied with a quantum computer. Thus they remain exponential time, and only the bit lengths (exponents) get effectively halved.

            Lamport signatures use only cryptographic hashes. One of the problem with employing them in a blockchain has been they take up much space (either for the public key or the signature or both), but I just published a discovery in my prior post which enables making them smaller in exchange for more computation.

            • jim says:

              You are correct: I was looking at the old zerocoin paper, which had an impractically large proof of knowledge. The new zerocoin paper replaces that with a much smaller signature of knowledge, a new cryptographic primitive developed by two women.

  7. Thales says:

    Never miss a wedding or a funeral.

  8. […] FOR THE LADIES: “Ovaries dry up a lot quicker than testicles.” […]

  9. Rollory says:

    I have tried to say this to my 30ish sister and our parents. My sister knows but doesn’t want to think about it, it’s too depressing. Our parents (generally conservative and realistic in most other ways) just deny outright.

  10. Ron says:

    Thanks Jim, I really needed to read this

  11. Shelby says:

    Jim I’ve seen you posting at ESR’s blog on the Dark Enlightenment as it pertains to issues such as this Fertility blog. As you know I can’t post on his blog, as he banned me under three names (Shelby, Jocelyn, and JustSaying). He even mentioned me anonymously recently as “wack-job” that he formerly limited to one post per day in his recent discussion of whether to ban you.

    Someone challenged me on the natural order we are asserting in the D.E., and I refuted mathematically. With this post on your blog, I hereby add my input to the D.E. discussion. I note your name is on the D.E. chart.

  12. Does your son follow your reactionary ways, Jim? Your name is thrown around occasionally (among others) for Interim Supreme Autocrat, so just thought I’d check…

    • jim says:

      At my son’s insistence, the priest had to read all the most politically incorrect parts of the old and new testament as part of the wedding ceremony.

      • Shelby says:

        I just blew myself up politically by posting Damned Truths about racial differences.

        Jim do you have a better theory and data on why the black’s penis is on average longer and the Asian’s shorter?

        • jim says:

          short version of same theory: r selection, feral women, predatory men, versus k selection and women kept under control, protected and supported.

  13. Zach says:

    “My unmarried niece failed to show up at my son’s wedding. I complained to her mother, observing that she has no life, so no excuse for not turning up.”

    Wow. Jim, we could be brahs.

    Same thing happen to me, I did the same.

    • Herbert says:

      “My unmarried niece failed to show up at my son’s wedding. I complained to her mother, observing that she has no life, so no excuse for not turning up.”

      Perhaps not the most sensitive thing to say.

      There are things that are true, and that need to be said. There are other things that are true, that don’t need to be said, and are better off left unsaid. Save your political capital for the things that need to be said. You’ll need it.

  14. On the other hand, the supposed fact that conservatives tolerate infertile marriages but not gay marriage is cited as evidence of right-wing hypocrisy.

    So… Are right-wing people supposed to be for or against infertile marriages?

    • Erik says:

      As with so many other things in life, there is an ideal of what a marriage should look like, and I dock metaphorical points for straying too far from the set of reasonable answers. Didn’t get married until 40, bad. Nobody in the family can be bothered to raise the kids, bad. Extensive past sexual history and willingness to divorce, very bad. Marriage not between a man and a woman, catastrophically bad, this is like answering “aliens did it” on a history test, you have failed at the absolute basics.

  15. Anthony says:

    “her boyfriend was not serious, unlikely to become a husband”

    Which is *why* she didn’t show up to the wedding.

  16. J says:

    You are wasting blog ink. Women (and men) live in denial of reality. Nothing can be done about it.

    • Dire Badger says:

      actually, a very small portion of people are willing to embrace the truth if they are exposed to it. While the percentage is small, it is also disproportionately capable. if even a half of one percent of the people reading are open-minded enough to do the research themselves, that is still an enormous number of people that will, for the first time, pay attention to reality.

  17. […] A study on why men marry some women and not others. Good advice for women; some red pill stuff in there. The editor’s note amused me. Related: A blunt message for women on fertility. […]

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