Consider a man's age infertility issues as well

Despite the rising status of women, certain judgments remain in place, backed by so-called scientific facts that prove women's biological limitations, one of which is their declining fertility as they age.

Dr Laura Dodge's research has highlighted an issue more deep-rooted than the fact that men have a biological clock too - the "deeply ingrained social and scientific biases weighted against women" (Yes, men should be anxious about their biological clock too; July 7).

Consequently, as a woman moves into her 30s without a child, she is likely to bear the emotional burden about marriage and bearing children, on top of her usual responsibilities as an individual in her family, workplace, community and society.

Even though biology does explain why women are facing so much pressure, it is puzzling how so few people seem to be aware of how a man's age can affect fertility and the child's health as well.

The term "biological clock", first surfaced to describe the declining reproductive possibilities of older women, is not usually applied to men.

The role of women in reproduction is more apparent than with males.

In some cases, her role is even tied solely to fertility and childbirth.

This results in the exemption of a father's responsibility when considering possible foetal abnormalities.

For example, a mother of relatively old age at the time of pregnancy will have her medical file labelled and she would be advised to undergo genetic screening. In contrast, a man of advanced age will not be asked to do so.

Perhaps, it is time to think about the roles both parents have to play in terms of reproductive responsibilities.

Pan JiaQi (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2017, with the headline 'Consider a man's age infertility issues as well'. Print Edition | Subscribe