Next Wave Fertility: Why We Need A Think Lab Dedicated to the Future of Family
Around the turn of the 21st century, I started noticing a trend among my friends. We we’re staying single longer and many of us we’re starting to feel anxious about our biological clocks. We questioned how we were going to make it all (career, marriage, family) happen in this small window of biological time. Many of us who were in committed relationships we’re running into fertility problems.
“These new choices and technologies will also drastically change the methods, decisions and ethics around the way we conceive and build our families”
I was also in this situation, single and worried about my fertility, so I started asking questions, and those question became the basis for my book, In Her Own Sweet Time: Egg Freezing and the New Frontiers of Family.
Fifteen years later, the trends that I noticed at the edges have become mainstream. The way we conceive, and the family structures in which we raise our children, is dramatically changing. Across the globe young men and women are putting their economic power ahead of their procreative power, and therefore spending a larger portion of early adulthood single, investing in education, careers and independence – and having children later.
Many of us in this growing demographic are wrestling with ambiguities and desires around having it all, balancing career and family, all while backed up against the inevitable tick-tock of our biological clocks. Hillary Clinton has said that infertility and fertility “shouldn’t be something that isn’t talked about. So that there’s no sense of isolation.”
- The Centers For Disease Control released data on January 14th, 2016, showing that the percentage of women having their first child between ages 30 and 34 rose to 21 percent in 2014, up from 16.5 percent in 2000; 9.1 percent of women having their first child in 2014 were 35 or older, up from 7.4 percent in 2000.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in eight couples today has trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.
New social choices and technologies are offering new tools to empower us in family planning. But they are also drastically changing the methods, decisions, timing, and ethics around the way we conceive and build our families. Women are empowered by freezing their eggs, couple’s facing infertility are turning to all types of advanced reproductive technologies from surrogates to donor eggs to big data analytics and genetic tests.
Single moms and dads by choice and those in the LBGT community are conceiving via sperm and egg donors. Down the line, there’s potential for technologies that can edit the genes of embryos before they are implanted in order to eradicate deadly, or not so deadly, mutations and IVG technology to help same sex couples make babies.
But these new choices and technologies will also drastically change the methods, decisions and ethics around the way we conceive and build our families.
What is Next Wave Fertility?
I’ve currently started a crowdsourcing campaign to fund, Next Wave Fertility, a modern media think lab that will lead the conversation about the changing landscape of fertility in our modern world. Its goal will be to raise awareness about these new technologies, trends, and ideas that are shaping and supporting the way we conceive and raise our children in today’s modern families. It will be a place to share stories, thoughts, feelings, triumphs, and failures in the modern family planning journey. It will include articles, videos, and research about new technologies and scientific advances that support modern families, and aim to connect the global fertility ecosystem in order to build a road map of the most pressing social issues and bioethical challenges.
Hillary Clinton has said that infertility and fertility “shouldn’t be something that isn’t talked about. So that there’s no sense of isolation.”
Next Wave Fertility will launch with a series of highly produced educational videos about different topics in modern family planning: egg freezing, IVF, donor eggs, artificial insemination, all portrayed with in the context of the social and cultural trends that are increasing our reliance on them. The website will also be populated with relevant articles and research that will be shared through a bi-monthly newsletter called The ART and Science of Family.
Once the initial content is launched and promoted to establish Next Wave Fertility as a thought leader, it will expand to include partnerships with leading researchers and companies working on new science and technologies that support modern family planning.
What is iFundWomen?
iFundWomen is a new crowdsourcing platform whose goal is to close the investment gap for women funded business ventures. The number of women-owned businesses grew 30% from 2007-2012. Despite these amazing gains, women still only receive 2-6% of venture capital funding. Consequently, female entrepreneurs need to be scrappier and work harder than their male counterparts to get funded, as they struggle to create companies with 50% less capital. iFundWomen is a part of the solution to overcome the extreme inequality that exists today.