Dear Asian community – It’s time to discuss the F-word

Let’s be honest my friends, many in our community will think nothing of a 45 year old man pursuing and, in some cases, successfully capturing the attention of a 22 year old woman. The lucky suitor will be applauded, receive an encouraging ‘mashallah beta’ pat on the back from ammi and be lavished with ‘atta boy’ high-fives from his cohort of aging chums.

As a voluntary matchmaker, I have met countless single Asian men in their late 30s/mid 40s who will unashamedly ask me to recommend a 25 year old woman. Somehow, this never fails to surprise me, despite it now becoming a fairly “standard” request. Now, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but although these older blokes have taken the trouble of acquiring a wardrobe worthy of the GQ front cover, hired a personal trainer to hone their drooping moobs and taken out shares in ‘Just for Men’, they frequently fail to bag said 20 something year old lovely of their dreams. Even the world’s most eligible silver fox George Clooney eventually married an ‘older’ woman in the form of the delectable, successful and formidably intelligent 36 year old Amal Alamuddin. Yep, the smart man chose the smart lady.

I wanted to fully understand why some older men are so obsessed with younger women. I decided to explore some psychological and biological theories and after some digging around I found that this penchant for the 20-something year old woman is not simply a case of ‘Creepy Old Man Syndrome’ but instead all down to the F-word. No, not that one. But rather, f-f-f-fertility.

Apparently, the pursuit of a younger woman is a deep seated subconscious urge that evolution has wired into the male psyche. Ladies, I apologise on their behalf because they simply can’t help themselves. Rationale though tells them that relationships should be based on love and companionship and not solely procreation. So whilst thinking with their testicles instead of their degree educated brains, they actively hunt out women who glow with the signifiers of ripe ovaries (facial symmetry and youthful bloom being significant ones) in favour of more important but less visual attributes that form the basis of a healthy marriage.

I have spoken before about the undeniable fact that Mother Nature is not a feminist and we know only too well that fertility declines dramatically after the age of 37. However, far too many men wrongly assume ‘older’ women simplycan’t safely have children. So, because we women have not heard enough of our biological clocks already, please allow me to remind you all of some basic facts that you may find pleasantly surprising.

Fact 1: The probability of a 19-26 year old becoming pregnant after 2 years of sexual intercourse without using contraception is 98% and in the older age group of 35-39 year olds, the probability is 90% [1]. Pretty good odds don’t you think?

Fact 2: The sensitive issue of Down syndrome: there is 0.07% chance that a 20 year old pregnant woman will give birth to a child with Down syndrome. This increases to 0.1% in a thirty year old woman and increases again to 1% in a 40 year old woman.[2]Just to make it crystal clear that’s 99% chance that a 40 year old woman will NOT give birth to a child with Down syndrome.

Fact 3: The number of live births to mothers over 40 has tripled over the last 3 decades. [3] This is partly due to social factors such as increased participation in higher education, delayed marriage and partnership formation, establishing a career, ensuring financial stability before starting a family etc. The good news is that advances in fertility treatments now mean that some women who are unable to conceive naturally, are now able to have healthy pregnancies and babies.

Fact 4: Studies have shown that children born to women over 40 tend to be healthier and brighter than those born to younger women. [4]

With my medical doctor hat on, I regularly read clinical papers on the decline in female fertility. However, for those of you not acquainted with him I’d like to introduce you to the less talked about ‘Father Nature’. He’s been lurking around since the dawn of man yet no one really seems particularly interested in him. Perhaps it’s because good old Father Nature isn’t particularly pro-Men, or much of a “Menist” either. It seems that some men wander the world blighted with a misplaced sense of Peter Pan-ism when it comes to their own ability to ‘get the ball in the net’. Many blithely consider themselves untouched by the aging process and are, for the most part, completely oblivious to the effect that Father Nature has on their sperm production. So ladies, let me arm you with some facts so that next time a man decides to come along and throw the F-word at you, grab it by the balls (pun fully intended) and kick it right back!

Fact 1: 30% of all cases of infertility in the UK are down to ‘male factor’ problems and a further 25% are completely ‘unexplained’ (no identified male or female cause).[5] 

Fact 2: The volume, motility (ability to move toward its destination, an awaiting egg), and structure of sperm all decline with age. [6]

Fact 3: The older the male partner, the more likely a pregnant woman is to miscarry regardless of how young or healthy she is. [7]

Fact 4: Children born to older men are more likely to have autism (x6 in men >40 years old compared to men <30 years according to one study) [8], schizophrenia [9] and bipolar disorder. [10]

Fact 5: The incidence of Down syndrome is also influenced by father’s age and not exclusively related to maternal age.[11]

Fact 6: With regards to sperm donation: current professional guidelines state that sperm should not be taken from men aged 41 years and over [12].

So, there you have it. The spousal search is full of enough complexities as it is and women have definitely drawn the short straw when it comes to cultural prejudices. My previous letter was urging younger women to try a little harder when searching for ‘the one’, but that’s not to say women in their 30s should be shunned. Despite it being 2015, there is huge stigma attached to being a single Asian woman in her 30s yet the same aspersions do not apply to men. A woman is ‘blamed’ for being too independent, too focussed on her career, too fussy and most of all – too sub-fertile!

On the other hand, older men are praised for their professional successes, maturity and financial independence. Factors which place them pretty close to the top of the rishta ladder. Yet no one dares question THEIR fertility.

Men, most of you are intelligent and progressive thinkers. Educate yourselves and those around you. Read these facts aloud (ideally within ear shot of your mum), assimilate them so that you are as familiar with a prospective female’s fertility as well as your own. Only then can we put an end to this archaic mentality that continues to fuel this ‘ageist’ fire.

Ladies, in light of these fertility facts perhaps it’s time to shift the cultural stigma by and focussing your search on a younger millennial man! We all know too well that fertility declines with age but rest assured your ‘biological clock’ is not about to strike 12 just because you’ve finished blowing out the candles on your 33rd birthday cake!

Kind regards,

Farah Kausar

Voluntary Matchmaker and GP

The muzmatch app is the first to offer cutting edge features for Muslim’s looking to find their perfect marriage partner using their smartphones – however religious you are. The app has been built from the ground up with privacy, security and ease of use in mind – there is nothing like it out there! Say goodbye to expensive, dated matrimonial websites full of fake and inactive profiles. muzmatch is absolutely free for all Muslims worldwide and always will be!

Download for free today on iPhone or Android!

References:

  1. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg156/resources/guidance-fertility-pdf accessed on 9th Sept 2015.
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/screening-amniocentesis-downs-syndrome.aspx#closeaccessed on 14th Sept 2015.
  3. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/birth-summary-tables–england-and-wales/2013/stb-births-in-england-and-wales-2013.html#tab-Live-Births-by-Age-of-Motheraccessed on 14th Sept 2015.
  4. BMJ. 2012 Aug 21;345:e5116. The health and development of children born to older mothers in the United Kingdom: observational study using longitudinal cohort data. Sutcliffe AG et al
  5. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg156/resources/guidance-fertility-pdf Accessed on 9th Sept 2015
  6. Hum Reprod Update. 2004 Jul-Aug;10(4):327-39. Epub 2004 Jun 10. Reproductive functions of the ageing male. Kühnert B1, Nieschlag E.
  7. Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Aug;108(2):369-77. Paternal age and spontaneous abortion. Kleinhaus K et al
  8. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;63(9):1026-32. Advancing paternal age and autism. Reichenberg A et al
  9. Schizophr Res. 2010 Feb;116(2-3):191-5. Epub 2009 Nov 17. Later paternal age and sex differences in schizophrenia symptoms.
  10. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;65(9):1034-40. Advancing paternal age and bipolar disorder.Frans EM1,
  11. J Urol. 2003 Jun;169(6):2275-8. The influence of paternal age on down syndrome. Fisch H et al
  12. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/sperm-donation-eligibility.html, accessed on 10th Sept 2015.

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20 Responses

  1. Salman says:

    Yes the chances of conceiving a down syndrome baby at 40 is 0.1%, people win the lottery every week, with far worse odds, anyway let’s examine your “scientific study”

    you’re taking your reference #4 out of context, there is no yard stick for measuring “healthier and brighter”

    Also your reference #1 is taken out of context, yes the probabilities of getting pregnant for 35-39 year olds in 2 years may be 90% but it’s not 90% for the 39 year olds (the average person has less than 2 arms etc..) and the probability declines every time they have sex and not conceive (it doesn’t increase say like in dice roll or flipping a coin, where the odds of getting a heads increase every time you flip, as a woman ages they decrease, same with men aging etc)

    I encourage people to marry whoever they want regardless of age, but seriously don’t have a go at producing a scientific paper on muzmatch you’ll look silly

    • Asif says:

      Agreed!!!

      I could go into greater detail on why her scientific study seems ludacris, but it’s very telling of the important issues in her life. While I’m focusing on a financial empire, and fighting the momentum against Islamophobia, young girls like Farrah Kausar are writing articles like this.

      I’m sure her parents are proud of her. I’ll assure you this, leaders, mill/billionaires, think tankers, and family men are certainly not writing articles do demean Muslim women.

      Is she really trying to take a jab at Muslim men during this time? I’m disappointed in MuzMatch for publishing this sort of material.

      • Sallu says:

        I have not read a more hateful, biased article based on one person’s experience with a bunch of 45 yr olds. Keep it up. Your level of intelligence is showing

  2. Rahim says:

    Horribly biased and disrespectful article. You cant group all men into a single catagory n just start assuming things. Its called gender roles, men are always gonna be perceived one way just as women will also be. We’re inclined to like whoever we want, fertility or not, end of story. Im not even an older guy but it just disheartens me to read such a biased backhanded article like this

    • A says:

      Agree with the comments, it looks like an attempt to sound funny by putting down others. I’m sure there are enough shallow women out there too looking for wealth, degrees and Hollywood looks. Talking about Hollywood, George Clooney might have married a 36 year old, but we also know who Morgan Freeman married. And what’s with all the urdu thrown in, ammis and rishtas, I thought this was a global app.

  3. Sallu says:

    Oh and it would be great if you could stop sending the notifications to such useless articles. It’s annoying.

  4. farah Kausar says:

    Dear Asif,

    I don’t often respond to silly comments from angry ranters. But seeing as though you have taken time out of what one can only presume is a packed schedule of empire building, “think tanking”, making your millions and fighting Islamophobia to respond to my open letter, I felt it was only polite to reply back.

    I wrote my missive as I know that issues surrounding fertility are (excuse the pun) a breeding ground for misconceptions within the Asian community. I also wanted to help explain to parents of amazing daughters in their 30s why they’re not getting married and sadly it’s largely down to sheer ignorance and/or lack of education. Your disguising of the issue in order to point score is frankly disappointing and I’m unsure what your motives are. However, you obviously seem aggrieved by my subject matter, so this response should clarify some of the finer points and give you some background on my perspectives.

    You state that the letter is “very telling of the important issues in (my) life”. I’m not sure what aspects of the letter have led you to draw this conclusion, but whilst issues pertaining to the Asian community are very important to me, there are many other issues that I’m passionate about. For example, my family – I’m a happily married woman with 2 healthy children (conceived naturally btw). As much as your pejorative use of the term ‘young girl’ is flattering, I certainly wouldn’t place myself in that age bracket. I’m a respected NHS GP. I’m the national spokeswoman for one of the largest patient education websites in the UK. I’m a global ambassador for a charity that helps reduce HIV transmission from infected pregnant mothers to their unborn babies. So yes, lots going on in my life – and plenty to make my parents proud.

    Good luck with making your millions (it’s clearly very important to you) and with your ongoing “think tanking”. Also, as you are on a matrimonial website, I wish you luck with finding a wife. You might want to take a crash course in spelling before sending any more messages though as the word ‘ludicrous’ (not “ludacris”) may well come up again in your replies from women if you take the same tone with them as you have done with me.

    Regards,

    Farah Kausar

    • Hishaam says:

      Lol @ ludacris.

      I appreciate what you’re trying to do, Farah. But I also honestly feel something like this article has a place on a personal blog and not on a blog that belongs to an app.

    • Salman says:

      But it’s not ignorance is it, it’s evolutionary biology. I already corrected you on several of your blunders regarding fertility statistics that you referenced and how you took them out of context while misinterpreting others any comment on that??

    • Omar says:

      Greattt another Feminist. Stick to Tumblr sweetheart. That’s where you’ll meet people just like you.

    • Ibtisam says:

      Don’t worry Farah, as a woman in healthcare of south Asian decent, I loved your article. I’m not surprised by the amount of hate your getting, what do you expect from a bunch of male chauvinistic characters who have been catered to by their mommies their whole lives.

  5. Abdullah says:

    Stop posting the anti-male rants and whingeing of this ridiculous feminist

    Feminism is one of the products of Dajjal

  6. Mk says:

    hi farah,
    Thanks for writing this article- as a single lady in her thirties, I can relate to it a bit too well. The truth of the matter is- fertility and finding a young wife to bear babies is a predominant focus in s.asia. I may be idealistic, but relationships ought to be much more than just raising a family…
    This article was a great addition to muzmatch blog.

  7. Azzy says:

    Wow, I feel some reading this article have missed the point entirely. Im terribly saddened that FK was pushed to justify herself and share her credentials in this way. I will add its nice to know our sister Farah seems a well rounded Muslim lady. More role models like yourself are much needed and growing thankfully.
    Whether Islamophobia continues or disappears into thin air Or whether Statistics differ from one publishing to the next the point is Asian/Arab Women have a tough time meeting a suitable partner for marriage after the age of 30. This is a fact. The reasons surely vary but one major reason is most certainly our Asian/Arab Men concentrate their efforts on finding the more fertile female. Everyone is entitled to seek a partner to their preferred liking. For example most women prefer men with hair as opposed to men without. Fact! Please try not to take this personally and get defensive and attack! Because there IS an important message here.
    If FK or any man or woman voices their opinion in order to improve an important aspect of our communities, that is the union of man and woman for the purpose of marriage thus completing half of our Deen why attack them for it!? Because the male ego was bruised. Come on you’re better than that. Theres a bigger picture here. The improvement incase it cannot be easily understood would be that more Asian/Arab men keep an open mind when seeking a suitable marriage partner. Our Prophet Mohmd Pbuh married a Strong independent business woman 15 years His senior. If its ok for our Prophet Pbuh i say its ok for his Ummah.
    Meanwhile if anyone has a message about Asian/Arab Women- an opinion that may bring about improvement please do voice it.
    Play Peaceful Guys.
    Thank you for an informative article FK. It is published in exactly the correct place.
    Wishing you all well. AH

    • Asif says:

      For full disclosure, typing on a smart phone so pardon any gramatical errors. Intended for the grammar nazis.

      I don’t know at what length or depth I’d like to take this, but will make the most of it with what time I have. Again, I hope both men/women can learn from what’s being posted in the article and comments.

      Your comment about Asian/Arab women having a tough time to marry after 30 is absolutely true. Though your reasoning as to ‘why’ this is true might be skewed. Again, youre answering this from the perspective of a female and not a male. Thus your opinion is very biased. Here’s why.

      How can women, accurately, opine on why men are more critical to marrying women in their 30s?

      I have 2 brothers, and know the marriage process very well and the bouts 2 of them had gone through. Not because of them, but because of what they were looking for. I can assure you that fertility was NEVER an issue with them. Or even the non Muslim men. Women might disagree.

      Why do they disagree? Because it’s a legitimate defense mechanism that seems plausible. Though fertility might be an issue, it’s not the most heavily weighted, or the most important one as to why men would not marry a sister in her 30s.

      Brothers please correct me if I’m wrong (because even I’m flawed). I think most men (not including me), are hesitant of women in their 30s because theyre weary of why they waited this long. Again this is relative.

      When i first started looking I was 26. I learned more about my self as I matured and reached 30. But during those years, I remember girls not being serious. And even now. The ones in their mid to late 20s, have this nonchalant approach to decent guys. A standoffish demeanor, or elitist mentality. When in reality there’s nothing more than self after selfie lol.

      Here’s the point that I’m trying to make, in the most succinct way possible. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but some of the +30 age group have casually dated and written off great guys in their mid to late 20s. Only to be still single and hungrier in their 30s for a great guy.

      I’ll be honest, at this point I am a bit jaded and dissappointed at the way things have turned out. Not because I haven’t tried, but when I was looking for someone in my age group in my 20s, well- they just weren’t ready. And quite honestly guys know this. So when ever I come across a female in their 30s that’s single, I always want to know why. It’s not fertility. It’s why did you writ off the serious guys that were sincere.

      FK and Azzy- sometimes the women fail to plan. Not all, but some. Allah swt, has a plan, and if you don’t consider the options early on, then it’s inevitable that those options will be taken up. Thus leaving a large number of females in their 30s.

      The point is; women in their 20s need to plan ahead and not wait. Of there’s a good brother that would make a great father, spouse, and is a great son to his parents then what are you waiting on?

  8. Ali says:

    Haha ludacris. Looks like a typo IMO, but kudos to her for defending her self haha. But apparently he got under her skin for her to respond.

    To clear things up, guys are looking for girls with Hayaat. Not fertility. There’s always in vitro. I bet she’s got a following of girls that are desperate and applauding her for her rants. Maybe the guys know how to spot out a woman that has deen, and doesnt.

    She should instead have an open letter aimed towards encouraging girls to be open to marriage in their 20s.

    Plus Clooney hooked with plenty before his latest squeeze. She got the ultimate used car. Sucks for her.

  9. O.G. says:

    There are many issues about he article I disagree with. For one, fertility has never been even a thought when looking at a potential spouse, that being said the authors facts about fertility are not accurate and/or misleading. Fact 1: 30% of fertility problems come for males, 25% unknown.. So where does the other 45% come from? I understand the author is trying to make it sound like males are the ones who should be more concerned about there own fertility… when in actuality both male and females cans suffer from fertility issues, and using your own source as a reference “most couples who have a problem 40% of cases found have issues with both partners.”,, Fact 2: Sperm declines with age. Yea everything declines with age, and again using your own source about sperm donation, which says although centers us 41 years old as a cut off “there is less substantial evidence on age limits for sperm donors, and centers may choose to assess an individuals health on a case by case basis.” On the other hand female fertility is pretty cut and dry. Fact 3: Spontaneous abortions are increase in older women as well not just men. Fact 4: I did not look up anything about autism, I got lazy. Fact 5: Again down- syndrome increases in both cases older male or females. You go to great length tho show that only 1% chance of down-syndrome from an other lady, and most likely its the same for an other man.. pretty negligible increase.

    Unfortunately, this is an opinion piece, with the author thinking fertility is the reason why men prefer younger women, and then attempting to provide facts show men are less fertile then women, but all the facts are represented misleadingly, with is appalling considering the authors “credentials” stated in a reply post. Lastly, and ironically the author states at the beginning that older men dont have success courting a younger women, but the suggests that older women should try to court younger men. If young women dont go for older guys, why would young guys go for older women?

    I have a better idea, why dont we just follow the sunna and marry young. Instead we put to many complications on getting married and then wonder why we have an aging single population. If someone suggests marring multiple wives (which is halal), women go ape shit. I wouldn’t mind marrying an older lady if she didnt mind me having another wife. But since, I have to settle for one wife, then I will go for someone who I think is a health attractive, person with good faith and values. I am not attracted to older people plain and simple.

  10. Shaz says:

    Asalamu Alaikum

    I read the article jazakaAllah khair for sharing it sister, I must admit I agree with it to a level but at a much greater level for developing countries…

    For the brothers that are leaving negative replies, I feel that the sister has in fact got under your skin??? Because as I read majority of the brothers are in disagreement, but I sense alot of guilt talking…has anyone of you asked youself. …

    Would I marry a women who can’t give me children? Think most would say “no” (just admitting to your own soul) simply because we are humans and we all live on the dreams we have made for ourselves. We live in a time were we want everything and “empire builders ” are most likely building for their suppose “family” (oh yes you need to have babies)

    Yes there are many other factors why guys go for girls in their 20’s, but I fully agree one main factor is fertility.
    We have trained ourselves to want the best, from the rest, this is a sign of muslium devision not sure about women uniting on a fact/or for some an opinion….

    Even with so much happening in the world this is a very sensitive yet problematic matter and rather it being brushed under the carpet, pretending it doesnt matter or their is no importance to it rather it must be addressed. Just like in the time of our beloved prophet muhammad (pbuh )every topic was discussed and addressed. ..

    It’s a whole new debate and topic about the third world..

  11. Mehvish says:

    No scientific research needed Farah. Though I totally get the sentiment.

    The most amazing and beautiful man that ever graced this earth married a 40 year woman who was 15 years older than him.

    All his surviving children came from this woman and she bore them all after the age of 40.

    It really is as simple as that.

    Now if Khadija (ra) was good enough for the then 25 year old Prophet Mohammed (SAW) – the most perfect man that ever lived – then the disgruntled rantings of the (most likely) middle aged men in this comments section really are quite irrelevant.

    Good luck looking for the magic unicorns brothers.

  12. Mariam says:

    Excellent article, and I think the comment from Mehvish is just the cherry on top that even the most chauvinistic, pig-ignorant man couldn’t find fault with. Well done girls.

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