Age and Fertility - Part 1

 

 

I was sitting in the windowless tiny room on the awkward bed that folds up into a chair, staring at the glove dispenser - small, medium, lot of large, all purple - when the doctor finally came in. 

He was holding the lab results of my latest blood test. We went over all the details of my hormones, my vitals and the ins-and-outs of all the additional tests we did. I don't remember any of it anymore. 

What I do remember is this exchange:

"A natural pregnancy at 44 would be like winning the lottery," he said.

"But it happens all the time!" I cried out, feeling the need to defend my heart's desire to have a child. 

"No, these are just stories people tell. I see the statistics all the time and they are not good. I would suggest you and your husband also see a fertility specialist and possibly inquire about using donor eggs at your advanced age."

My heart dropped. But I kept on pushing. "No, we will try naturally for now."

His face expressed a mixture of disbelief, pity, and ... what was that? .... annoyance? 

"I see women like you come in here every day. They waited so long and now expect a miracle. You shouldn't waste any more time, you are not a spring chicken anymore."

"I know. But this is what we want, conceive naturally," I said timidly as I felt his words grab a hold of my heart and womb. 

"Very well, if you get pregnant then you and your baby will be at high-risk for complications.  I'll refer you to my colleague who specializes in geriatric pregnancies."

I wanted to yell at him that I am in NO WAY geriatric and that I forbid him to insult me like this, but instead I said: "Ok, thanks." 

I walked out of his office feeling sad and anxious, unsure if I was delusional thinking my body could get pregnant. It was a huge blow to my confidence. 

I'd be very surprised if the Doctor remembered this conversation for even an hour after it happened. 

I remember how I felt after this conversation for almost a decade now. 

----- Karen, 53, mother of a naturally conceived boy who recently discovered fly-fishing

When a careless remark grabs hold of us 

We all have been there, haven't we? A careless remark by people we hardly know about our age and our ability to become a mother can stick with us for many years - like velcro. Sticky, icky, just yuck. 

That's why I wanted to talk about the topic of age and fertility because we really need a reality check: age is NOT the primary reason why women get pregnant or not.

Just look around - if that would be true, all these couples in their 20s and 30s who have troubles conceiving would be producing babies left and right by now. 

One in eight couples in the U.S. struggle with infertility, in Australia it's even one in six couples.

Youth is not a guarantee for fertility.

Age, at the same token, is not a sure-fire thing for infertility. 

Listen to my first of three videos today why we better let go of the velcro that makes age-remarks stick to us like chewing gum to a shoe and adapt a "Teflon mindset" instead!

To your health and your baby,

Bettina 

 

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