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The Wonder Clock: Tracking Your Biological Clock as Art

a blog by Claire, June 22, 2012

For those of us old enough to remember the bicentennial year 1976, we may also remember the movie Logan's Run, a science fiction movie with Farrah Fawcett about a future society that manages population and consumption of resources by killing everyone who reaches the age of 30. The characters can't lie about their age because they were implanted at birth with a Lifeclock crystal in the palm of their hand, which changes colors as they approach their "Last Day."

Maybe the ticking of the biological clock is not quite so dramatic, but Mira Kaddoura, an artist in Portland, Oregon, has created The Wonder Clock, a stark website in purple and black that is counting down the end of her childbearing years — down to the second. Last we looked, she had 9 years, 6 months, 15 days, 21 hours, 2 minutes, 57 seconds … no, 56 seconds, 55 seconds, 54 seconds … well, you get the point. She also created a wearable piece of art, a belt with six screens, each showing a different unit of time.

Oh, and. of course, there's a $1.99 app for that, so you can keep your clock on your iPhone. You can download your own biological clock via the website.

Kaddoura has told news outlets that the art is meant to confront the question about how much time is left to have children head on in a society in which women are still defined by biology. And, as art is meant to do, it stirs up conversation about a subject that many women fear talking about.

The app is not a precise measure of when your particular biological clock will stop ticking; instead it is a means to educate and empower women to understand the impact of age on their childbearing years. This is important because as a society, most are misinformed about the topic. One report by Yale researchers says that women are under the misconception that assisted reproductive technology can reverse aging ovaries, and they do not fully understand the consequences of delaying motherhood. A survey by EMD Serono and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association found that only 31 percent of women responding to the survey questions believed that increasing age is the single strongest risk factor for infertility.

Many women, approximately 20 percent, are waiting until age 35 to start trying to get pregnant, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), approximately 20 percent of women wait until age 35 to start trying to get pregnant. Yes, this is late, and fertility rates are declining. But perhaps Kaddoura says it best on The Wonder Clock website:

    I created this clock to face my own fears. To beckon the elephant in the room so to speak. To release my own power, my own choices. To open a dialogue with other women about fertility, empowerment, and loving ourselves. We are women, and we are ticking. But we are so much more.