family planning

I’d Like to Formally Request an Extension for My Fertility

Ahem, why didn’t anybody warn me it wouldn’t last forever?

Photo-Illustration: Josiah Whitfield; Photos: Getty
Photo-Illustration: Josiah Whitfield; Photos: Getty

The below is excerpted from I’m More Dateable than a Plate of Refried Beans by Ginny Hogan, published by Chronicle Books.

I wish even one person had told me to keep in mind that women stop being able to get pregnant at some point. Oh, right, it’s all anybody ever talks about once you hit, I don’t know, twenty-three? twenty-one? twelve? Our bodies have not kept pace with society. Thirty is the new twenty; sweet sixteens should happen at age thirty-two when we’ve finally figured out our most flattering haircut, and I shouldn’t have to think about whether or not my thirty-six-year-old first date who considers scrolling Instagram “reading” would make a good father. Where can I fill out an extension request* form for my fertility? Until then, the hands on my biological clock keep ticking, following a time line that goes something like this:

Noon: You think I can have a kid? I am a kid!

1 p.m.: Laughed out loud when the gynecologist asked if a five-year IUD was too long. Do they make fifteen-year ones? I’d like two of those.

2 p.m.: Scrolled past photos of my cousin’s new baby. Felt nothing. No offense to the baby—he’s fine.

3 p.m.: Nervously realized I can count on one hand the number of years to my thirtieth birthday. Considered having several fingers removed.

4 p.m.: Read one article about egg-freezing but had to stop in the middle because my partner at the time wanted me to watch Shallow Hal, which he considered “art.”

5 p.m.: Considered having my IUD removed. Tried to book an appointment online, but they told me I’d have to make a phone call. Not worth it—I’ll just let it expire.

6 p.m.: Went on a date with a man who described marriage as “jail.” Temporarily jumped back to the early afternoon. Replaced my IUD with a new one, as I realized that I don’t need to raise children when I can just raise the guys I date (and educate them about the criminal justice system).

7 p.m.: Wondered if that person I rejected when I was twenty-three—the one who said their number one dream in life was to be a parent—is still single.

7:02 p.m.: Googled them. They’re married. Had meltdown. Ate mac ’n’ cheese.

8 p.m.: Muted every parent on Instagram. Babies are becoming hard to look at. Why didn’t anyone warn me about this biological clock thing? Why do I have to “feel things”?

9 p.m.: Deleted my Tinder because I came to realize it’s not for serious dating. Changed my OkCupid bio to “Looking for something serious, interested in starting a family.” Got 80 percent fewer matches. Told my therapist, who said that was okay, because I was just filtering for what I wanted. Changed my bio back to “I think farts are funny” (I do).

10 p.m.: Started a savings fund.

11 p.m.: Saw a toddler in public and had a full-blown meltdown. It was literally walking that way—the little waddle—to manipulate me. Why did it have such big eyes? It can’t even read.

11:30 p.m.: Stayed up all night reading about egg-freezing.

11:45 p.m.: Made simultaneous appointments at an adoption agency and a fertility clinic.

Midnight: Reactivated my Tinder and immediately matched with a skateboarder. This is a disaster.

*The Aforementioned Extension Request for My Fertility

  1. Request: Dear Creator (whoever you are—sorry for saying I didn’t believe in you, although, to be honest, I still don’t), I was wondering if I could maybe have my biological clock reprogrammed. You see, I’m nearing thirty-five, and I’ve been repeatedly told I’m about to dry up like a kale chip any day now. As such, I’d like to formally request an extension on my fertility.
  2. Description of Extenuating Circumstances: It’s not about me at all, it’s just the people I date. You see, I date men who use dish soap as shampoo, so I’m not really approaching any sort of “ready.” I also can’t get a crib as I’m boycotting Amazon for progressive reasons (at least, my crush liked several anti-Amazon tweets, so now I’m on board, too). I’m also way too young to have a child. I don’t even have my own Netflix account (what will Baby watch?). Okay, so I guess it’s also sort of about me.
  3. Technical Specifications: Yes, there’s currently a way to get an extension on fertility, but it’s very expensive and involves needles. You don’t want me to get poked and go broke, do you? So I was thinking we could strike a bargain—for every ten people I swipe through on Hinge, I get one more fertile egg, but it just shows up automatically, like a refund? That seems like a good incentive structure (I majored in economics, thirteen years ago).
  4. Proposed Due Date: Could I have another twenty years? I haven’t even started Game of Thrones, so I’m sure that’ll take me out of the game for a year or so, and then I need to learn how to cook—another two. Move out of my mom’s basement—another year. Emotionally mature to the point where I feel ready to raise kids—fifteen years. So I could actually have it done for you in … nineteen years? Would that work?
  5. Opportunities Afforded by the Extension: Well, like so many women my age, an extension on my fertility gives me a chance to really lean into my career without worrying about having a child. No, I personally doubt I’ll use this time to do so, but I could if I wanted to. And that’s not to say I won’t take advantage of them in my own way. I’ll likely use the remaining fertile years to experiment with more types of birth control until I find the one that makes me cry on the exact same schedule as my best friend Sheila, so we can plan girls’ night a bit more easily. Plus, I’ll be able to continue dating as I’ve been doing, which isn’t necessarily good for me, but it is good for Brooklinen, as I’ve persuaded eight different guys to buy their top sheets.
  6. Positive Social Externalities: I can’t provide any specifics, but you do not want my straight female friends who are also around age thirty-five to raise kids with the guys they’re with now. Unless you look around the world and think, We really need more LARPers.
  7. Steps to Take to Ensure Proposed Due Date Will Be Sufficient: Who are you, my mother, all my aunts, my Instagram feed, and society? I’ll be ready when I’m ready.
  8. Completed Work to Be Submitted: A baby, I guess. That actually brings me to my next request—could I have a girl, please? I just can’t with men.
I’d Like to Formally Request an Extension for My Fertility