Have kids? Sure ... someday
A recent article brought light to a number of issues we encounter including:
• delaying parenthood
• the “right age” to have a baby
• misleading information on a woman’s biological clock
While there is no one ‘correct’ answer on the appropriate age to have a baby, it is important for couples to understand their options when considering building a family.
The most defining thing for a woman seeking to conceive is her age. A woman’s age is directly correlated to the age of her eggs and a woman is born with all the eggs she can conceive with. Older eggs are more difficult to achieve a pregnancy with and the success rates for carrying full term for older women are also diminished with age. However, for men, sperm have a lifecycle of 74 days, with another 20 days or so to get out through the ducts. Thus, every 90 days sperm regenerates. If sperm are negatively affected by environmental factors, men can wait for the next cycle of sperm to develop in order to maximize their fertility. Although age is not as significant a factor in men as it is in women, it does still play a role.
For a woman 35 years of older, I would encourage her to be aggressive in her therapy. If after six months of trying to conceive unsuccessfully, I would recommend that she seek professional care and evaluation.
Have kids? Sure ... someday
Not just careers, but complacency, delay the pregnant pause
By Jacqueline Stenson
Updated: 5:15 a.m. PT June 6, 2007
Susan Laurent never thought she’d have trouble getting pregnant when she was ready, so she pursued her career, traveled and generally just enjoyed life.
“All along I thought I still had plenty of time,” says Laurent, 39, of Lyons, Colo., who works as a marketing vice president. “I’m healthy, active, don’t smoke, live in a great, low-stress part of the country, so I had no idea that simply waiting could possibly lead to difficulties in getting pregnant. I figured that 40 was too old for sure — with a higher risk of Down syndrome, et cetera — but I didn’t think that 36 could be too old as well.”
Like many women, Laurent had heard about Hollywood’s leading ladies such as Geena Davis and Jane Seymour, and other women, having kids well into their 40s and beyond, so she figured there was no hurry. But all the while, her biological clock was ticking away.
“I waited, but when the time came that my husband and I wanted to have kids, we were shocked to find out that we had to see a fertility specialist,” she says. “You think you’re safe in waiting, but myself and many of my friends who waited are now paying the price — emotionally and financially.”
Thanks to fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination, Laurent gave birth to her son, Conor, last summer, and she’s now trying for another child. But plenty of women who wait too long to take a “pregnant pause” from their careers — and all-around business as usual — aren’t so lucky.
Women have long been wrestling with how to balance work and family planning, and delaying having babies to build their careers or even those of their husbands. Statistics show that as more women have entered the workforce since the mid-1970s, the percentage of first births to women ages 30 and up have increased fourfold, according to the American Fertility Association (AFA), a patient and advocacy group. But fertility experts say there are some surprising other reasons why couples wait too long to try to start their families.
What's the rush?
Ironically, fertility treatments — their success and widespread availability over the last decade — seem to have lulled women like Laurent, and even their partners, into complacency. Many people know somebody who’s been on fertility drugs or undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF). Or they’ve heard about women having babies later in life, so they figure, what’s the rush?
But they don’t always hear that those movie stars or other newsmakers had to use IVF, another woman’s eggs and spend tens of thousands of dollars to have a baby, says Pamela Madsen, founder and executive director of the AFA.
Case in point: Frieda Birnbaum, the 60-year-old New Jersey woman who gave birth to twins in May. News reports discussed her use of IVF, notes Madsen, but nothing about the need for donor eggs or embryos, even though experts say it's highly unlikely that Birnbaum conceived with her own eggs.
“I think that people do misinterpret the stories they hear in the media and they think, ‘Oh, that woman just had a really good doctor,’” Madsen says.
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