In the late 1970s, the term ‘biological clock’ quickly became a fixture in popular lexicon — a shorthand for the finite nature of female fertility. Embedded in the popular press coverage of the biological clock is, essayist Moira Weigel notes, “the idea that being female is a weakness.”
Her thesis that “the story of the biological clock is a story about science and sexism” is spot on. It was suddenly the woman’s responsibility “to plan their love lives with an eye to having children before it was ‘too late’.”
Biological Clock: From Pop Culture To Fertility Industry ‘FUD’
Beyond Weigel’s well researched exploration of the biological clock’s cultural role in counteracting the effects of women’s liberation, I’d like to zero in on how the biological clock became the catalyst for today’s rapidly-expanding fertility industry (projected to be $27B for IVF alone by 2022).
The industry’s masterful use of fear, uncertainty and doubt – FUD – is truly Harvard Business School case-study worthy.
With 20 years between us, Ms. Weigel and her generation will have to contend with yet another new way the fertility industry will cash in by sowing the seeds of fear and blame: social egg freezing.