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Nicole the Fertile Chick: Oldie but Goodie



We are having children later…and that’s a fact. This is primarily because we are marrying much later than was considered the norm as recently as a decade ago. Today, the average marrying age for women is 29. Dial back to the 70s, and this average was 22.

Science, with the able accomplices of worried Mothers and busy body Aunties, keep drumming it into our ears that a woman’s fertility dips drastically after the age of 30, with an even steeper dip after the age of 35. This might be true…but rather than the Grandfather Clock booming noise we are made to believe our biological clocks make, I have come to realize that it is more of a teeny-tiny, almost inaudible, alarm clock tick. Let me explain.

Yes, I understand the benefits of marrying young. My friends who started child bearing in our early twenties have teenage kids now. So, yes, I appreciate that benefit of starting early. But, that said, I strongly believe a woman should not start a family, or even get married, before the age of 28. I didn’t always think this way though. If someone had told me this when I was in my early to mid 20s, I would have blanched at the very thought! By the time I was 22, I was already chomping at the bit to get married, and later endured a 3-year engagement to somebody who was so wrong for me. Luckily, this relationship did not work out, and I found myself single at the age of 27. A couple more unsuccessful relationships followed, before I met my husband at age 30, and married him at age 31. Looking back now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, this is my rationale, and I know how polarizing it will be to many. It’s not about attaining maturity, because the truth is that a lot of women are as wise as King Solomon by the time they are 18. No, it’s more about knowing yourself. By the time you are 28 or even 30, you will have a better appreciation of the woman that you are, with reasonable knowledge of what you can, or can not, abide.
In addition, you would have had more time to live life just for you! In my opinion, it is so important for a woman to have learnt how to be responsible for herself, to carry varying measures of other responsibility, to manage her own finances, to maybe even have lived alone, and also have done some things just for the heck of it, before getting married and starting a family. Whether you are a career girl, or an entrepreneur, your 20s are when you are really able to lay a rock solid foundation, as you have the luxury of putting in all the required hours and sweat. A lot of times, I hear people talk about having kids first, before then facing career. But with the entry-level age getting lower and lower every year, by the time you are ready to get back into the workforce, this might not be possible.

I look back at my life and I wouldn’t change a thing about my 20s. Even in the midst of whining and pining for marriage, I thoroughly enjoyed my 20s. I worked hard and laid a strong foundation for my career, I learnt how to manage my finances through the help of a ridiculously colour-coded (but strictly adhered to) spreadsheet, I honed my intuition and ability to read people and circumstances, I traveled and visited places just because….I lived a full life, and by the time marriage came, I was ready. When I had my kids at 34, I was less selfish and able to give far more of myself than the 26 year old me.

You may, or may not, agree with me, but here are some fun facts about having children a bit later. Statistics have shown that most babies are born to women aged between 30 and 34, in the UK. An article I came across online referenced a 2013 U.S. study, which stated that 80% of 38 and 39-year-olds get pregnant naturally within six months of trying . The same article referenced other studies that have shown that 82% of 35 to 39-year-olds, having sex at least twice a week, conceive within a year of trying, just 4% fewer than those aged 27 to 34.

I do not have the corresponding statistics for Nigeria, but I do have real life information derived from the people around me. Most of my friends in their mid to late 30s, and even early 40s, are still as fertile as rabbits, and have had no issues getting pregnant. My best friend got married at 34, and literally conceived on her wedding night. By her 3rd anniversary, she had had another baby, and is actively trying NOT to conceive another one anytime soon.

A relative of mine got married at 40, and her daughter was born not quite a year after. A former colleague in her 40s, who had resigned herself to life as a single woman, got pregnant for a man she had barely started seeing. Before her child was walking, she was knocked up again. Her second child came months before her 45th birthday. All of these were natural pregnancies. In fact, of the women I know that have battled infertility, I do not know of any which was directly related to age. Two of my friends, both of whom are in their 10th year of marriage but still in the waiting room, got married at ages 24 and 25 respectively….so you can’t say their infertility can be traced to their age. As for women facing premature menopause, the women I know with this condition were diagnosed in their 20s so, again, not quite age related.

A lot of advantages abound for older mothers. In your 30s, you are more likely to be more secure in your career or business, and in your relationship with your partner, both of which are important to successfully raising children. If you spent your 20s working and paying your dues, you now have the luxury of negotiating more flexibility with your hours. Trust me, this comes in very handy when it comes to maternity leave, and the frequent visits to the Pediatrician afterwards.

Having discussed the pros, it is important to also highlight some cons of late child bearing. One of which is the fact that the chances of having a baby with Down’s syndrome dramatically increase after the age of 35. This may be true….but I also know someone who had a baby with the syndrome when she was just 27. So the risk is there, in varying degrees, no matter your age. Also, some medical conditions, like aggressive uterine fibroids, can make it more advisable for a woman to hasten childbearing whilst the fibroids are still manageable. In such situations, if a woman has the right partner, settling down early is not a bad idea….but if she doesn’t, thank God for advances in medicine that have made it easier to manage and treat these conditions effectively.

In conclusion, to all my ladies who are still waiting, fear and fret not. Even if you are almost 40, you could still have some good baby making years ahead of you. The statistics are not as bad as we have been made to believe. And even if you do encounter some hiccups, there are enough reproductive intervention options available.

So….live your life, enjoy the moment, and be the best woman you can be. When the time is right for you, it will be all right in the end!
Have a great week, everyone!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime |  Photowitch 

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick ( to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.


  1. chique

    February 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Nice eye opener there. Personally I do not think there is any LAW about marriage age. What will work for A may not work for B let alone C and D. I think whenever one comes ‘in contact’ with marriage, if after self appraisal and you are convinced YOU can,why not? Whether at 22 or 38 or even 42 it can still work regardless of the clock ticking like there no tomorrow. My high school friend got married last year and I,m sure she was 39 and within weeks she started posting her baby bump on social media. I personally was pleasantly surprised cos with all we hear about this clock, you would think it (the clock) was manufactured by the devil himself in his favourite department-Department of Infertility.

  2. Neo

    February 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

    A thousand loves for this article. Its the foundation of everything that people are different, just as women are. I tend to fret over getting married frankly because i feel like i should be taking advantage of these fertile child brearing years right now and it is comforting to be reminded that our bodies are just as different as our personalities.

  3. DocDeola

    February 2, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I know you are trying to reassure women…but the fact still remains….it is more difficult to conceive the older you get, there are more complications the older you get, there are more genetic diseases more than just Down’s syndrome, the older you get, the body recovers less well from pregnancy the older you get. Society is what means we are having children later i.e the way education is aligned but the honest truth is that evolution wants women to be having children by 16-22. Their labour is shorter, they are extremely fertile, their eggs are fresher and their body recovers from pregnancy far more quickly. Society has done this to us and I appreciate your reassurance but science says the best time for our bodies to have children is earlier rather than later.

    • Lina

      February 2, 2015 at 11:17 am

      I don’t think she is disputing that earlier birth is usually easier but that it is not a hard and fast rule or impossible to wait. Waiting has its benefits and life isn’t what it used to be. The biggest reason for women traditionally having children earlier was because they had nothing else to do or look forward to. They were all housewives and baby machines, as the times have changed that has also changed but yet the world’s population in steadily growing. I think the gist is, don’t let fear of your biological clock force you into motherhood when you’re not ready.

    • obgyn

      February 2, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      Please give links where you are getting these “facts” from. Going by your logic, we should be having children aged 9, as many girls are starting their periods then and that’s when ‘the eggs are freshest’!
      It’s not about age but how healthy you are/your genes. I know many 35-45 year olds whose body handled pregnancy better than 16-20 year olds.
      People need to start realising that we’ve evolved past biology

  4. sisimi

    February 2, 2015 at 10:14 am

    my friend got married at 34years and she already has a baby before her 1 year anniversary.
    i tell ple always to live while still single. some live waiting for a man so marriage could happen fast fast becos of the ‘biological clock’ that’s ticking.
    please, remove the battery of that clock, throw it away and start ‘living’.

  5. Chige

    February 2, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Nice article as usual. I got married a month before I turned 27 and am on the way for no 3 but I totally agree with everything you said especially the self discovery and doing things just for the heck of it part.I had as much fun during my 20s as I could have being as I’m an indoor person and I’m glad I did. Having children has shown me that your life will never be yours again till the kids are grown so y not do all the fun stuff you can do so you don’t look back with regret. When you can’t go for that party because your toddler is sick,you’ll know you’ve attended 20 like that in the past and it’ll probably be the same ol for the clock ticking,though I believe in that being a medical doctor ,but at the end of the day no one is God and he has proved science wrong gazillion times.instead of rushing into marriage to beat the clock esp not knowing if at all ull be a ‘fertile rabbit’,take Nicole’s advice……….live life,enjoy the moment and be the best woman you can be.itll be alright in the end.Amen.

  6. Nike

    February 2, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Thank you Nicole for this very insightful article.

    Your candidness in all your posts is very refreshing and welcome. I am happy you have come out to demystify female reproductive health issues which have previously been shrouded in culture and religion in Nigeria. As someone who has suffered from reproductive health issues since the age of 11 it comes as a relief to hear someone speak out and enlighten fellow women on gynaecological issues. You are blessed and through your calming voice I will receive my inner peace.

    Thank you.

  7. search dealdey for 40% discounts on KOJIE SAN soaps, SERUM & lotion NOW! sale ends in 24hrs!

    February 2, 2015 at 10:41 am

    “Your 20’s are your ‘selfish’ years. It’s a decade to
    immerse yourself in every single thing possible.
    Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of
    you. Tinker with sh!t, travel, explore, love a lot,
    love a little, and never touch the ground.”

    Save marriage & motherhood 4 ur 30’s

  8. serene

    February 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Thank you Nicole. I always look forward to reading your write ups. It’s reassuring. I’m 25 and not in a stable relationship. Just finishing ma MSc program . Sometimes it preys on my mind

  9. Lina

    February 2, 2015 at 11:11 am

    A lot of people don’t realize just how much fertility varies from woman to woman, always trying to push women to have kids earlier. Yes, it is generally easier to have kids early your body bounces back quicker and risk for genetic disorders reduces however modern medicine has advanced in a way that you can avoid a lot of these things.
    I personally believe from 18-28 is a period of time especially for women where each year brings a significant change in your outlook on life so I wouldn’t make too many big permanent decisions like marriage and children before then and that’s my personal choice.
    If you’re worried, look at the women in your family and try to decipher if fertility will be an issue for you. Better yet, go see your OBGYN. I understand that healthcare isn’t cheap but after 18, you should be going at least twice a year, if you want they can test to see how many eggs you have left which you can then make an informed decision. Also expensive but if you’re worried about genetic disorders, IVF may be for you, they can test the embryo for disorders before implanting.

    Fertility isn’t easy but armed with the right information,, you’ll have a much easier time.

  10. Theresa

    February 2, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Not everybody discovers themselves in their 20’s. Motherhood makes you appreciate what really matters in life. I realized that the high earning job, career, massive amounts of money, etc were not it. I didn’t know this in my 20’s when I was willing to sacrifice everything just to be an independent woman. Motherhood made me more matured, more self-fulfilled and a much better person whose worth wasn’t based on stuff, but on giving and receiving love.
    In some ways, I wish I had become a mother earlier, I would have been a less selfish. But I guess everything works out eventually for good.

  11. niola

    February 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I concur with everything you have said in this article…. exactly my train of thoughts and you penned it down.

  12. Taiwo

    February 2, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I got married at 28, wish i had waited till I was 30!! marriage is no pot of beans and it takes a whole lot of commitment to make it work. This article is seriously on point

  13. Solumkene

    February 2, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    @Nicole, seems the website is only for those TTC?

    • Nicole

      February 2, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Solumkene, no it isn’t. In addition to our various TTC groups, we have other general interest groups.

  14. gabbie

    February 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    i thank God for this article. My whole family is so worried for me because i seem not to be interested in a relationship like they expect. i just felt that i wasn’t doing it right. So i made up my mind that instead of jumping into one i am going to take my time to appreciate myself and find love naturally. Therefore i have resisted the fear of not marrying or having a child early because now i see clearly. so once more Thank you.mind you i am just 26 yet they tell me nne your tooo old. my God i feel 30 sef.

  15. lala

    February 2, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Ethinc, black, african women are very fertile regardless of age.I wonder why there is always rush to have kids so early? Between 28-35 i ideal.Only if people knew how much accomplished they will become if they reasoned better

  16. A..

    February 2, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Nice write up. I always believed it’s better to get married from 28yrs and above.

  17. CoconutPineapple

    February 2, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    This is one Article I don’t like by my favourite BN contributor. Simply because it does not paint the full picture.
    Sure we’re having kids late, but we (those in nigeria) are dying earlier because of noncommunicable diseases.

    What happens to these miracle babies if the parents are no long around to care for them. It’s not just about “having” kids but being able to provide the best life possible for them.

    My mother is my best friend, I can’t imagine life without her, she had me at 22, now I see the benefits of having kids early, and watching them grow.

    You have a baby at 45, and at their 5th birthday you’re already 50?! What is that?!!

    • newbie

      March 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Please share your source for stating that “we are dying younger (those in Nigeria ) due to non – communicable diseases”. The overwhelming evidence supports the fact that life expectancy for both males and females globally- including in sub-Saharan Africa, is increasing, not decreasing.

  18. graceworth

    February 8, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    @ coconutpineapple, love your comment, God bless . How do u train up children you have in your late forties when your mates kids are in high school and you are just starting yours, ladies lets stop deceiving ourselves, there is nothing like getting married in your twenties.

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