Age: Please stop scaring us!
I resent doctors who freak women out by telling us that at 35 years old our chances of conception plummet. It’s a useless scare tactic and what’s more, it’s wrong. And, by the way, do they think we were just twittling our thumbs through our 20’s and 30’s? Trust me, I was on an exhaustive hunt for my life partner during which I left no stone unturned and no barseat unfilled. I was 38 years old when I had twins and 40 when I had my surprise third child. But here’s the crazy part: my FSH went DOWN during those two years from 9.3 to 7.9 (??). What fertility doctor would ever mention THAT being a possibility?
My best friend went to her gynecologist when she was 39 years old after TTC on her own for six months. The doctor dismissed her outright saying, (and here I quote) “Women in your generation think they can just wait as long as they want to get pregnant. Someone should tell you, you can’t. Go see a fertility doctor and we’ll see if we can beat the last few eggs out of you.”
My friend was stunned by the negativity but she followed the advice and found an RE. The RE took one look at her chart and blood work (never examining her) and told her she had to jump to IVF immediately. My friend didn’t have the money or the stomach for that.
She was devastated. Of course, she had not planned to postpone motherhood: at 34 she had gotten pregnant with twins who sadly suffered from twin-to-twin transfusion and never made it to term. She then came down with a life-threatening autoimmune disease. She was put on medication for two years and expressly told NOT to get pregnant.
She left the fertility doctor’s office heartbroken. But that sadness quickly turned to anger. How dare they tell her to stop dreaming of a baby? She’d show them. She got pregnant naturally 18 months later and had her daughter at 42 years old.
Randine Lewis wrote a book, The Infertility Cure that I highly recommend. In it she explains, “A woman’s eggs do not have an expiration date…Our ovaries and eggs respond negatively to poor diet, drugs, toxins and stress hormones but positively to a healthy diet and pure lifestyle.”
Similarly, Dr. Christine Northrup in her book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom tells the story of an Indian tribe in Mexico, the Huichol, who routinely get pregnant in their fifties, possibly because rather than seeing it as impossible, they view it as commonplace. She cites the statistic that in the past twenty years, births to women over forty have increased by 50 percent. And in 2008, the birth rate for women aged 40 – 44 rose by 3 percent, the highest rate since 1967. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_03.pdf)
Of course, the sooner you focus on your fertility, the better but age is not a deal-breaker.