Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Half-life of fertility

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a sort of "pregnancy scare" when I was 17. I actually first got my period when I was 11 or 12, which is an amazing 18-19 years ago. Just to round things out, let’s say I was mature enough to have a baby when I was 15 years old – FIFTEEN YEARS AGO.

I am constantly reminded by people of how “young” I am. I know I look young for my age, and my husband looks young for his age (especially when he bothers to shave). I know a lot of infertiles are in their upper 30s or 40s. I know PLENTY of (fertile) people wait until their 30s to have children, and that in this day and age it is considered quite young to have a baby in your early 20s. When I twist my way of thinking back to the way it was 15 months ago (before infertility), 29 does not seem at all old to start ttc. I certainly didn’t feel ready before then.

Now here I am, 30 years old, more than halfway to 31. If it takes us a while longer to get pregnant, I will quite possibly be at least 32 by the time I give birth. (I won’t even consider the possibility that things might not work out at all – I am still too hopeful for that). If we decide to have any more children, it’s quite possible we won’t get around to that until I am at least (gasp) around 35. Which, as you well know, is a REALLY scary age for fertility. AND I AM ONLY 4.5 YEARS AWAY.

I have been theoretically capable of carrying a child for FIFTEEN YEARS, and now I’m only 4.5 YEARS AWAY from reaching The Age At Which It All Apparently Goes To Hell.

Which raises the question – WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS?!?!

And then the next question – WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT ALL THIS?!?!

Out of my 20 years of relatively reasonable “fertility”, I have squandered three quarters of it. And considering that even before the “magical” age of 35, fertility is already decreasing, I now understand that I have squandered the BEST three quarters of it, and the dwindling quarter that’s left is starting to look rather shabby.

I know I need to step back and get a bit of perspective here. But does anyone else agree that perhaps in high school sex ed, in addition to warning the kids that:


we can include a little small-print caveat (pick one! Or make up your own!):

- Or maybe not!
- *results not guaranteed
- *this absolute rule gradually loses effectiveness with age (even though of course you will never get old).
- but don’t wait too long, because you never really know what could happen!

Not, of course, that I would have ever expected to be infertile. Ah well.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts!