This Portlandia Sketch About Older Pregnancy Is Way Too Real

Photo: Augusta Quirk/ IFC.
Ever psyched yourself up for a consultation with a doctor only to feel totally shut down? That's just what happens to Carrie Brownstein in a new episode of Portlandia, airing Thursday. The character she portrays is thinking about pregnancy — she's in "the very early stages of considering it; still on the fence," she says — and decides to make an appointment with her Ob/Gyn, played by Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz. Good for her: It's always smart to discuss family planning and fertility with a doctor to help guide your decision-making process. But things quickly turn, when Hurwitz's character informs her that, according to her chart, she's "a couple of years away from being an old spinster." And if that sounds ridiculous, just ask any woman 35 or older who's considered having kids — they'll tell you it's all too real.

In fact, while "old spinster" may not be the technical term for it, women past their mid-30s who give birth are considered to be of "advanced maternal age." Or, if your Ob/Gyn is a little behind the times and hasn't updated her terminology, she may call it by its older name, a "geriatric pregnancy." Oof.

The truth is, fertility does decline over time — about a third of couples in which the woman is older than 35 have trouble conceiving — and there is some data to suggest that babies born to older mothers may be at a higher risk for birth defects and Down syndrome, but the risk is still low. And since women are waiting longer than ever to give birth, maybe it's time to start encouraging women to choose motherhood at the time that makes the most sense to them — and do whatever we can to make that choice feel comfortable.

In the meantime, at least we can let ourselves laugh about it. Watch the clip and tune in to Portlandia on IFC this Thursday, January 28 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
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