It’s no secret that women are waiting longer than ever to have children. In fact, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, “The average age of women at first birth has risen over the past 4 decades. In 2012 there were more than 9 times as many first births to women aged 35 years and older than there were 4 decades earlier.”
Perhaps this is because the modern young lady has been given the impression that becoming a mother is something they should wait as long as possible for. Schooling, career advancements, finding the perfect partner, being “ready,” etc... must all come first. But, are women waiting too long? Exactly how long can you wait to have a baby?
You May Have Less Time Than You Realize
The reality is that as women age, the odds of their achieving pregnancy, let alone a successful one, diminish. Once a woman turns 30, not only are the chances of getting pregnant lower each year, the chances of miscarriage increase annually as well. Then, perimenopause, and finally menopause all but take having a baby via natural birth off the table.
As Tanya Selvaratnam so eloquently said in her personal account The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and The Reality of the Biological Clock, “For all the news stories about age and infertility, egg freezing, sperm donation, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and the like, many women believe in the fantasy that they can become mothers on their own timetables. Thinking you can have kids when you are ready is a flawed belief with devastating consequences. I am one of millions who made that mistake.”
Sadly, Tanya isn’t alone in her struggle to achieve pregnancy due to waiting too long. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reported that “About one of every 10 women in the United States younger than 45 years old has infertility.” This number increases with age in women, and at age 40 “there is a big drop in the chance of getting pregnant.”
Do You Need To Rush Into Trying To Conceive?
It would be unethical for anyone, doctor or otherwise, to pressure a woman into having a child, regardless of her age. However, it would be just as unethical to refrain from sharing the fact that every year you delay trying for a baby, your odds of having one naturally will decrease -- little by little at first, and then quite drastically once you turn 40.
Even in women who do achieve pregnancy after the age of 40, there are risks to the health of both the woman, and the fetus she is carrying.
Also read our post about pregnancy after 40 to learn more.
Should You Consider Freezing Your Eggs?
One option that is available to women who wish to delay their journey into motherhood, is freezing their eggs. Should you freeze yours? Maybe, maybe not. The best answer for you is a complicated one because in matters of medicine, there is not always a one-size-fits all solution to problems.
Although freezing eggs to try for a baby at a later date is possible, it’s important to note that freezing eggs can be an expensive procedure. There may also be additional options and factors for you to consider.
For example, your current age may be something you need to think about as you decide whether a procedure like this is viable for you. As Dr. Jaime Knopman told PBS Newshour, “The most important thing for eggs is time. The younger the egg, the healthier it is.”
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, "the quality and quantity of eggs remaining in your ovaries gradually declines throughout your life, and this decline accelerates beginning around age 35."
In other words, just as there is a clock on your ability to achieve pregnancy, there is also a clock on freezing your eggs.
You can book an appointment with our Houston fertility clinic to discuss this and all options available to you.
As with many medical procedures, freezing your eggs doesn’t guarantee pregnancy. On the other hand, this is why it’s so important to work with professionals to give you the best chance possible.
Although we can make assumptions based on statistics and past scenarios, each case presents its own unique set of criteria that must be examined and assessed before jumping to conclusions and/or making big decisions. Working with us eliminates the confusion and guessing that can often be associated with the process of achieving pregnancy.
To learn more about becoming a Center of Reproductive Medicine patient, and what to expect at your first appointment, click here.