There’s been quite a bit of internet buzz during the last week or so about a study conducted at University of St Andrews and Edinburgh University by Tom Kelsey, in which he and his colleagues develop a computer model of how a woman’s supply of eggs declines over time. The scaremongering accompanying news reports of this study is reminiscent of the 1980s kerfuffle about how women over 40 were more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to be married. Some headlines are proclaiming “Women lose 90% of eggs by age 30″ and advising women who want to be parents to act quickly. Some are even recommending fertility screening analogous to cancer screening.
Before you ladies under 30 rush off to get impregnated, let me point out a few things. First, this study is a computer model. It is not definitive evidence that women cannot conceive after 30. Second, there has been ongoing new research in the last several years that suggests mammals may be able to produce new ova, contrary to conventional doctrine that females have a fixed reserve of egg cells enclosed in the ovaries at birth. Although there are many skeptics, there is still a great deal that is unknown about how the ovaries work.
Third, it only takes one egg cell to make a baby.