[[quoteright:236:[[Webcomic/BadMachinery http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/biologicalclock_sgr.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:236:Sometimes, it's about desperation or uncertainty]]

->''"Cut the crap, Hamlet! My biological clock is ticking, and I want babies now!"''
-->-- '''Ophelia''', ''Theatre/TheCompleteWorksOfWilliamShakespeareAbridged''

A typical plot in a DomCom, when a middle-aged woman realizes that menopause is right around the corner and that she doesn't have much time left to have children if she hasn't already, or that she won't be able to have more. Given the LawOfInverseFertility, the harder she tries to become pregnant the less likely she will be to actually ''get'' pregnant, but the moment she decides that she doesn't want a baby she will suddenly become pregnant.

Common plots involve a woman looking into sperm donation or adoption, or if she is approaching ChristmasCake status, attempting to get married before her 'expiration date.' As in RealLife, the latter is not a good idea and sometimes ends disastrously. She may end up using a ChosenConceptionPartner in someone she trusts to have a child.

And Heaven help the poor thing if she also has parents who are screaming "IWantGrandkids!"

An OlderThanFeudalism variant is the woman who wishes for a child and proceeds to have a WonderChild. See also MandatoryMotherhood.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* An entire story arc of ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'' focuses on [[AnIcePerson Mizore's]] problems because of this. Specifically, her race can only reproduce through her mid-twenties, and was nearly forced into an arranged marriage to preserve her race. BreakTheCutie ensues. But she gets better.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* This is part of one of Lisa's monologues in ''Film/MyCousinVinny'', with a beautiful counter from Vinny.
* {{Inverted}} in ''24 Hour Party People'' when Tony Wilson expresses great desire to be a father while talking with his first wife.
-->'''Tony Wilson:''' [[TwoWordsAddedEmphasis Two words]]: Body Clock.
* {{Invoked}} by Molly's doctor in ''Film/LookWhosTalking'' after she gets pregnant with Mikey. That night, she has a dream that turns it into a LiteralMetaphor, with her hanging from the minute hand of a clock tower.

* In ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' series, Trillian gets the urge for a kid some time between ''Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish'' and ''Literature/MostlyHarmless'' [[spoiler:thanks to [[TheChessmaster the Guide Mark 2's influence]]]], and so uses sperm donated that Arthur had previously donated to a lab in exchange for money, and then the kid winds up with Arthur since she left the baby at a day-care center and when she came back to pick her up she was a teenager because of the TimeyWimeyBall.
* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' Eldest Whistler is twenty eight and has time left before menopause, plus her younger sisters have more, but she'd still like to marry and have one child, to see what pregnancy is like for herself. A teacher, Miss Skinner, feels this trope far more strongly, to the point of desperation; another character sighs and calls her addled, saying she should have gone to the [[SexSlave cribs]] long ago. It's noted that not all women get this kind of feeling. Said other character can't stand children.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': Illyria is revealed in the ''Angel'' comic series to have a once-in-a-millennium mating cycle, signaled by Illyria going "into heat".
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'' had this several times.
** Monica was babycrazy practically from the start, and especially from the first season finale, and it led to the end of her relationship with Richard (played by Tom Selleck) since he didn't want kids. Later seasons saw her and Chandler adopt after they had trouble conceiving, though ironically Courtney Cox really was pregnant when the adoption episodes were filmed.
** Phoebe didn't seem to have these feelings until she served as a surrogate for her brother (a plot necessitated by the actress' [[RealLifeWritesThePlot real life pregnancy]]), at which point she started wishing for her own family.
** Rachel's feelings on the subject seemed to be limited to "be married and have a baby before I turn thirty-five", which she did get, in a roundabout way.
* On ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'', aunt Hilda once had a problem with her biological clock (a literal [[VisualPun magical clock]]) and began a series of desperate measures to try and become pregnant, including randomly choosing a guy off the street to marry. Sabrina eventually offered her own clock as a substitute for Hilda's, but luckily it all worked out in a [[IncrediblyLamePun timely fashion]].
* In an episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' involving a stolen cryotank of embryos Olivia comes face to face with her own anxiety about having children and reveals that she had been turned down by adoption agencies for not having an extended family network. Her partner Elliot offered to help her in whatever way he could... [[ShipTease whatever that means.]]
** Also invoked when a deliberately pregnant teen (the result of a pregnancy pact with friends) taunted middle-aged, childless Olivia, convinced that her disapproval of the girl's choices was only jealousy. She rubbed her swollen belly and chanted mockingly in Olivia's face, "Tick-tock. Tick-tock." Olivia [[BerserkButton retaliated]] by rattling off the things that are much more likely to happen to babies with teenage mothers.
* Liz on ''Series/ThirtyRock'' in "The Baby Show". Creator/TinaFey later made a whole movie about it called ''Baby Mama''.
** Liz, basically constantly, complete with her mom who [[IWantGrandkids wants grandkids]]. She goes through several boyfriends, considers adoption and sperm donation, buys a wedding dress while single....yeah. Two of those things happened in Season 1. (She finds a worthwhile boyfriend in Season 6.)
** Even [[GenderFlip Jack]] isn't immune, with his [[MyBelovedSmother mother]] pressuring him to get married (again) and have children (and then criticizing ''every woman he dates''). He actually [[TheyDo marries Avery Jessup]] in Season 4, and has a daughter in Season 5...only to spend all of Season 6 with Avery [[PutOnABus arrested in North Korea]], leading to their divorce upon her return.
* Though it wasn't necessarily due to age, one of the lesbian couples on ''Series/TheLWord'' decided they wanted a child in this sort of plot.
* Actually happens to a ''man'' in the backstory of ''Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive'', in which AdventurerArchaeologist Andrew Hartford decides his clock is ticking, and so [[spoiler:''he builds himself a RidiculouslyHumanRobot teenage son'' (Mack, who, incidentally, becomes the team's Red Ranger)]]. Being a childrens' show, why he doesn't use his ungodly amounts of money to get a gold-digger wife is never explored, but it at least gets a lampshade:
-->'''Andrew:''' I was too busy with my work to find the right woman.\\
'''[[spoiler:Mack]]:''' Why didn't you make one of those, too!?
* ''Series/{{House}}'' had a sideplot involving Cuddy trying to get pregnant via sperm donors and fertility treatments. The [[DrJerk title character]] handles this with his usual variance of sensitivity, ranging from agreeing to inject her in the backside with a hormone treatment to actually using her infertility as a vulnerable point to lash out at her. [[spoiler:In the end, she adopts.]]
* From ''Series/SpinCity'', Carrie is so desperate to have a baby that she ends up stealing Mike's sperm.
* Also a sideplot on ''Series/GreysAnatomy'' back when [[EnsembleDarkHorse Addison Montgomery-Sheppard]] was [[Series/PrivatePractice still in Seattle]].
* One contestant on Travis Stork's season of ''Series/TheBachelor'' told him at the first-night party that she was there because "My eggs are rotting." He didn't keep her past that night.
* Dr. Elliott Reid of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' started to feel this way in later seasons.
%%* Miss Fine from ''Series/TheNanny.''
* Dr. Brennan in ''Series/{{Bones}}'' had no interest in parenthood during the first few seasons, until towards the end of Season Four, when she decided she wanted to be a mother, and asked Booth to volunteer as a sperm donor. This plotline was interrupted by Booth's brain tumor, and made academic by the end of Season Six, when Booth and Bones conceived a child the old-fashioned way. By the end of the show, they have two kids.
* On ''Series/StrongMedicine'', Dr. Dana Stowe isn't bothered ''too'' much by still being single in her mid-to-late thirties, but she ''is'' bothered by still being childless--especially since as an OB/GYN and fertility specialist, she knows full well the risks and difficulties of conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy at an older age.
* The titular ''Series/DrQuinnMedicineWoman'' seems to fear this as well, when she realizes that she still isn't pregnant after several months of her and Sully being InsatiableNewlyweds.
* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in one episode of ''Series/{{Warehouse 13}}''. Myka has just found out that her younger sister is pregnant, and everyone expects her to be upset since she hasn't had any children yet. Then, while tracking down a [[MakeAWish wish-fulfilling]] artifact, Myka [[BalloonBelly suddenly becomes very pregnant]]. However, it turns out that it was Pete's wish that caused the pregnancy, because [[GenderInvertedTrope he's the one who really wants to have kids.]]
* Patricia Dawkins from ''Series/TheThinBlueLine''.
* Parodied on ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', where [[HumanAlien Betazoid]] women in middle-age experience [[BizarreAlienBiology "The Phase"]], which is more a case of My Biological Clock Has Gone To RedAlert, with their sex drive ''quadrupling'' (or '''more''') as a result!
* On ''Series/AdamRuinsEverything'', Adam (and an actual researcher on the subject, who herself had all of her children relatively late in life) explain that the reason we're always told that a woman's fertility drops after 35, is that most of the existing data on the topic comes from 16th-century French farmers. More ''modern'' data suggests that the decline happens in a woman's mid to late 40's, not 30's. Also, the risk of birth defects doubles after 35- from 0.5% to 1%. His further interview with the researcher expands that it's often a trade-off: women, who have children later in life, tend to be more advanced in their careers and more financially secure; at the same time, they're not as energetic as they were ten years ago, so it may be a little difficult keeping up with kids. It's just something every women has to decide for herself.

* Music/JennyLewis' "Just One of the Guys" describes the difficulty of being a childless woman trying to blend in with the men around her. (Yes, this is the one with the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Irvcf6dCk-k video]] featuring Creator/AnneHathaway, Creator/KristenStewart, and Creator/BrieLarson in drag.) It was literally described by a reviewer for ''[[UsefulNotes/AmericanNewspapers The Atlantic]]'' as "an ode to [the] biological clock."
-->''There's only one difference between you and me\\
When I look at myself, all I can see:\\
I'm just another lady without a baby''

* Creator/ReducedShakespeareCompany's interpretation of [[Theatre/TheCompleteWorksOfWilliamShakespeareAbridged Ophelia]].
** "Cut the crap, Hamlet! My biological clock is ticking and I want babies NOW!"
* One song in ''Theatre/MidlifeTheCrisisMusical'', "Biological Clock" has the female singer progress from suggestion to seduction to outright assault by the end of the song.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''[[Webcomic/TheCyantianChronicles Campus Safari]]'' Sheanna tries to pressure Darius into marrying her sooner rather than later, despite the fact that they both have over 900 years before they have to worry about anything.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2220 Monique's panic attack is explained as this by Slick.]]
* [[http://www.grrlpowercomic.com/archives/696 This is alluded to,]] in a turn of phrase at least, by [[BiTheWay Peggy]] in ''Webcomic/GrrlPower'':
-->'''Peggy:''' Though every once in a while my body starts beggin' for a preggin' and I go all boy crazy.
* Played with in ''Webcomic/TheNonAdventuresOfWonderella'' comic [[http://nonadventures.com/2013/10/19/baby-comeback/ "Baby COMEBACK"]]. Wonderella gets captured by the supervillains, but all she hears of their monologue is "Baby baby babies ''babies!''" Turns out it's not Wonderella's biological clock or subconscious talking--the villains are just saying "Babies" over and over because [[IWantGrandkids Wonderella's mom put them up to it.]]
* In the ''Franchise/{{Bobbinsverse}}'', Shelley gets pregnant by accident, but [[http://www.scarygoround.com/?date=20160609 decides to keep the baby because her clock is ticking]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This is running theme for Marge's sister Selma in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', who at various points had considered sperm donation, dated several men, had been married several times and took on an iguana as a substitute. She eventually adopted a baby girl named Ling from China.
* ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' had Toot try to get pregnant before she was convinced to try adopting a Nicaraguan baby as a test, which was of course handled with [[BlackComedy all the good taste the show is (not) known for]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Sealab 2021}}'': "Chickmate" revolves around Debbie's clock going off. She wakes up screaming "I want a baby!", briefly treats a dolphin like her baby, then starts interviewing all of the males on Sealab to find a suitable father. She eventually gets turned off the idea by coming to the conclusion that the guys are childish enough.
* In a ''very'' not funny example, Harley Quinn and the Joker jokingly reference this is ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker'' in a flashback, only to then laugh at the concept of "the joy of childbirth". The result is an attack against Batman that involves [[spoiler:a MindRape against Tim Drake that turns him into a mini-Joker and leaves him mentally scarred for life.]] At the very end of the movie it's also revealed that [[spoiler:Harley has two granddaughters named Delia and Deidre Dennis, meaning that at some point she did actually have at least one kid. It is unknown whether the "Dee Dees" are descended from the Joker as well.]]
* In the DC Comics CrisisCrossover ''The Joker's Last Laugh'', Joker is [[MistakenForDying tricked into believing that he's dying]] and tries to get Harley pregnant ''without marrying her''. When she figures that out, she is... not happy. (Lots of [=KA-BOOMs=].)
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' showed a 37-year old woman, desperate to get pregnant, on a date with an ex-convict.
* In the series finale of ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'', after Mrs. Barch somewhat cornered Mr. O'Neil into proposing to her, she was very vocal about having a short engagement and less than subtle about the reasons why.
-->'''Mrs. Barch:''' We need to get cracking before my eggs dry out.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'': In the song "I'm Nobody's Mama" from the Rita & Runt cartoon "Smitten with Kittens," Rita cites this trope to explain away her reluctant motherly instincts toward the stray kittens who have imprinted on her. A prime example both of GettingCrapPastTheRadar and of ArtisticLicenseBiology, since cats don't go through menopause.
* Shari in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' seems to have this; she was quite desperate to get married and yells at her husband Buckle to "Put a baby in me!"

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is so widely-recognized that some languages have a word for it. For instance, in [[UsefulNotes/GermanLanguage German]], the word is ''Torschlusspanik'' -- literally "panic at the closing of the gate". It can be used in other situations where an opportunity is coming close to an end, but it's most commonly used for the angst of older women about their ticking biological clocks.
* This trope is normally brought up in relation to women (because, stereotypically, NotWantingKidsIsWeird ''for women''), but arguably it shouldn't be. While men never entirely lose the ability to produce offspring, sperm production and viability does decline with age, so technically men have a biological clock ticking, too.