Cover Photo: Photograph by rawpixel
Photograph by rawpixel

Thinking About My Future and My Fertility at Thirty-Six (and Eight Months)

The desire to be a mother is now something that lingers inside of me, an omnipresent hunger.

This is My Future, My Fertility, a monthly column in which Karissa Chen wrestles with her questions about fertility, motherhood, and future-planning after thirty-five.

pap smear

fertilityovaries eggs.

What if you’ve made a terrible mistake? What if you’re alone forever? What if you never meet anyone else you love as much? What if you never have babies? Are you willing to be a single parent? Are you willing to give up on finding love?

You were so close to having all you ever wanted.


challenges, risks, complications, birth defects, miscarriage

Thirty-five is the age when your reproductive health begins to die.

Thirty-five is the age at which babies that make it to term have more challenges. Thirty-five is the age at which pregnant people have worse morning sickness/higher blood pressure/gestational diabetes/more difficult labor. Thirty-five is the age at which hopeful parents miscarry at a greater rate. Thirty-five is the age at which a person hoping to be pregnant will be lucky to get pregnant at all.

I thought, See? Your life is wonderful. Why would you want to have a baby when you could have all this?

geriatric pregnancy advanced maternal age , If you’re past thirty-five and anything turns out to be “wrong” with your child—or if you can’t have a child at all—you have nobody to blame but yourself.

See? Your life is wonderful. Why would you want to have a baby when you could have all

this badly?


This is thirty-five

Karissa Chen's fiction and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Gulf Coast, PEN America, Guernica, and Longreads. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan in 2015-16 and received a 2019 Fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, and  is a proud Fellow of both Kundiman and VONA/Voices. She currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief at Hyphen and a Contributing Fiction Editor at Catapult. She is working on a novel.