The Year 2050

by | 16 Nov 2014

I knew as soon as I saw it that I would have to write a blog about it. The headline read: ‘Sex will be just for fun by 2050 as we all switch to IVF’.

It’s one of those statements that makes you gasp. The suggestion that anyone would choose IVF over the natural way of making babies is unthinkable. Just ask any woman who has been through it (successfully or unsuccessfully).

I don’t want to be a sexist but it is interesting that it’s a man who said it – Professor Carl Djerassi who was instrumental in the development of the contraceptive pill. His theory is that by the middle of this century more IVF fertilisations will occur amongst fertile women than those experiencing infertility. First, he says, there will be the growth of women choosing to freeze their eggs in their twenties in order to circumvent the biological clock. Added to this will be advances in genetic screening that will, he says, make IVF a normal non-coital method of having children.

I have already written about my views on egg freezing in my blog entitled ITRAGTFWATW? And Miriam Zoll, who I referenced in that post, has just written another article on the subject which is one of the best pieces of fertility journalism I’ve read all year. It ends with the following statement which has been rattling round my head ever since:

We must ask why women who want to have children fear that, for professional or personal reasons, they will be unable to do so during their safest and most fertile years. If we fail to ask that question, we inevitably endorse a world in which the very real forces that create this fear and reality are not held to account.’

For me, right now, this is one of the fundamental questions of our time.

But as I read more of that article about Professor Djerassi, I found a new question was involuntarily formulating in my mind. If the science worked and if we could be sure of no adverse health effects (and admittedly those are two very big ifs) could he, in fact, be right? Maybe I am a sexist in criticising his male perspective on making babies because maybe he is the harbinger of ultimate equality. Perhaps in 2050, IVF will be the best way to ensure that women can have it all (or at least as much as men).

Terrifying but true.


  1. kiftsgate

    I don’t even know what to say… I don’t believe anyone with a choice would go through IVF and skip the romantic moment of conceiving under the blankets, on a desert beach, in the woods or anywhere else one may like.. I do know that, despite 4 years of IVF, no one will ever take away the emotion of the first time we got off contraceptives. And I can’t see how anyone would want to give that up.. I love the statement from Miriam Zoll’s post. So true!
    I also wonder why we don’t ask the question on why infertility is becoming more common to start with: bad food habits, pollution, use of fertilisers etc. These are things that should be addressed way before creating a crazy world in which IVF is the main conception method.
    Finally, the article says “a loved child is the greatest cement for a relationship between a man and a woman”. I don’t agree with it. There is so much more that can cement a couple. And I hope that couples who have a loved child are well cemented before…
    Thanks so much for sharing this. As crazy as I find this idea, it was interesting to read! xx

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      I agree with your last two statements wholeheartedly. Is infertility becoming more common? It certainly feels that way. And if so, why so? And, yes, a relationship needs much more cement than a child. You only need to look at the increasing divorce rate to know that! Jessica x

  2. jnorland

    I agree that the biological imperative is hard to reconcile with trying to career build in one’s 30s. I hope to be able to ease this for my kids some day by being an involved grandparent – the extended family can offer solutions that a nuclear family cannot. Perhaps we need to return to viewing family building as a multi-generational collaboration. IVF & delayed child bearing is not ideal for many reasons — Even from the perspective of the mother, there are benefits to being able to enjoy the freedom of an empty next (and possibly a second season of career building, or even starting something new) in your 50s and grandparenthood in your 60s.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Love your comments about multi-generational family building and, of course, later parenthood definitely has its pitfalls around that. If we had kids now they would only have one grandparent (my mum) now in her eighties. Mind you, I only had one grandparent too (the other three all died over 20 years before I was born – one from accidental death, one from suicide and one from murder!) At least it give me a great a multi generational legacy to write about!