Fertility lies may seem to be a scare mongering phrase but it is sadly an accurate one; without a doubt. With quite a few celebrities flaunting a baby bump at 40’s, gossip magazines selling the lie that 40’s was the new 30’s and big companies offering perks to their employees for freezing their future, fertility has moved from being a natural choice to being an experimental one. Advances in reproductive technologies blending with the feminist principles make couples/individuals feel that parenthood can be completely planned according to their own timetable! But Biology can’t bend according to your plans and science cannot make miracles. It’s time we get more realistic and not hold on to fantasies when it comes to fertility.
Here’s throwing some light on the 5 lies that some of you believe to be true but unfortunately are not-
LIE - 1
In the pink of my health; I can get pregnant anytime I want!
Haven’t we heard of the famous Salman Rushdie’s ex-wife and model Padma Lakshmi’s fight with endometriosis? A beautiful woman suffering from a condition which has fertility implication and almost incapacitated her!
Having a fantastic figure or for that matter a six pack abs does not always indicate that you’re fertile. There’s no dearth of cases wherein some of the prettiest women have tubal block and some macho men have no sperm in their semen. It definitely is good to be in optimal physical health but a good physique of physical health is not synonymous with good fertility health. Maintaining a good lifestyle, not smoking/drinking and not doing drugs definitely improves your chances of conception, but does not guarantee fertility. Without a proper fertility check, it is impossible to know you can father/mother a baby or not.
LIE - 2
I already have a baby, a sibling can come along anytime
Most people think that if you’ve one child you can have other easily – a big misconception. Not being able to have a subsequent child is, in medical terms, referred to as Secondary Infertility. The trouble with secondary infertility is not only that you want a baby badly but also that your previous baby wants a sibling badly and that can be a big heartache.
Secondary Infertility can be because you have either waited too long to have a second one because of which you’ve run out of your eggs or you’ve developed a medical condition which is compromising your fertility. Secondary Infertility cases have almost doubled in last 2 decades and account for almost 30% - 40% of infertility cases.
LIE - 3
I need not worry about having a baby; I’ve my eggs frozen
With the Silicon Valley companies offering new benefit to women in the form of egg freezing; egg-freezing became more of a ‘social’ choice than a medical choice. Egg freezing as a concept was introduced mainly for young individuals who needed to undergo cancer treatment, which would compromise their fertility. From there on egg freezing is being now used for the purpose of circumventing reproductive ageing in healthy women. The debate of social freezing Vs medical freezing may continue for a long time. It is important for a woman to know that egg freezing still lacks medical evidence and has potential health as well as emotional risks. Currently there is insufficient information to advocate egg freezing; so far only 2 – 12% of thawed eggs have led to a live birth.
Consider Social Egg freezing as a hope, not a promise; a Gamble, not a Guarantee
LIE - 4
My career is in full swing. Right now is not a time to have a baby
Fortunately or unfortunately women have to face their biological clock some day or the other. The time when your career is in full swing is the time that you’re at the peak of your fertility health. Delaying your baby plan though may seem to the most legitimate thing at that point of time but may not always be the right thing. Lot of times working women professional assume that they already know how they want their future chalked out to be; and sometimes being childless can also seem acceptable. But remember; things change, people change, feelings change and so do priorities. By the time you reset your priorities, time could have flown by in terms of fertility and you may find yourself left with very limited fertility options or sometimes may be none at all.
LIE - 5
Even if I find it difficult to get pregnant, IVF can surely help me
IVF has become more accessible to everyone in recent years. But the biggest myth related to IVF is that it always works. Everyone who uses it is successful and has a baby. Though it would be great for all individuals and couples who are trying to get pregnant to be successful, unfortunately there is no fertility treatment including IVF that works for everybody. Lot of women these days start planning for a baby in their mid 30’s or late 30’s and think that even if they can’t conceive naturally, IVF will help them sail through. It is important for women to understand that if you do not have good quality eggs left, resorting to IVF cannot change it. Also with increasing age, there is an increase in other fertility related issues such as PID, endometriosis etc., which can compromise fertility. Not only women, even men who have low sperm count keep on delaying definitive treatment thinking that if nothing works, IVF / ICSI will come to their rescue; which is far from the truth.
We all have ideas about how our life – career – family should play out. But when it comes to creating a family, things may not turn out to be the way we want. When it comes to fertility decision making, lot of us take help from internet. Surfing can be a fabulous place for information and connection but at the same time a dangerous place filled with obsession and misinformation. It’s all important a thing to erase the lies regarding creating a family so as to help you for better fertility decision making.
Parenthood is the only fuel that will make you do the impossible! Hoping that you bring the best piece of art into the world!