To think we should be fertile from 25-50 ish?

(115 Posts)
Allthenamesiwantaretaken Sat 12-Jan-13 17:46:50

Just a bit frustrated that at the time I actually am starting to feel grown-up enough (ish) to try to conceive (aged 34) that apparently my fertility is about to fall off a cliff. We have been trying for a little while to no avail and I am wirrying about my eggs, I know everything else is ok. I'm not sure I even feel grown up enough yet but am feeling the clock tick-tick-ticking away!

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 10:07:04

Men's sperm quality does decline as they get older though digerd.

amandine07 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:11:20

Ah that is true about Carla Bruni- I debated with my DP that I reckoned they'd been TTC since their marriage which was almost a good 4 years before their daughter was born i.e. it didn't just take a couple of months.
Anyhow, that's off on a tangent...

digerd Mon 14-Jan-13 21:12:27

My GM had my dad at 43 and was her 7th child. My MIL had 15, but after 42 she never got pregnant again. At 39, I was too old to have any more.
The youngest of the Railway Children - forgotten her name- had her first at 46. A complete surprise as had thought she was infertile, not having conceived before, and thought her lack of periods and weight gain was the menopause.
It's just how it is, that men can be fertile until they die - nature knows they are not the ones that get pregnant.

Chunderella Mon 14-Jan-13 20:53:24

Carla Bruni also has an older child, so that makes a difference.

amandine07 Mon 14-Jan-13 20:30:50

Really interesting posts, lots of food for thought.
I'm almost 35 and not TTC yet, am already going into a mild panic that my fertility will be falling off a cliff in the near future.

OP I really sympathise...it's a a tough one for women, men can be fertile for such a longer time span but for ladies you have to get on with it/start planning & thinking about TTC sooner rather than later.

Celebs aged 40+ don't help when they are having babies/multiple births, I do wonder how many egg donors are involved. My DP has referred to older mothers having babies e.g. Carla Bruni etc but I have berated him emphasising that it's generally not that easy at that age.

He doesn't get why I'm worrying so much, for me 35 is round the corner- I don't think I feel 100% ready but as ready as I'll ever be- wish I could know how long it will take to fall PG!

I wish you luck OP, quite a few good debates & social commentary going on in this thread...

tiggytape Sun 13-Jan-13 15:37:18

I do understand the need to feel ready but many (most?) people don't feel 100% confident and ready for a baby when they try for a baby - it is always a bit of a leap of faith. Most go through some kind of angst that they aren't grown up enough or worry they won't be good enough no matter how old they are.

Becoming a parent is such a big deal that - just like getting finances in order - with the emotional-maturity side of things, there's hardly ever an ideal time when you know you feel totally maternal and grown up and ready to be responsible for a tiny dependent baby confident that you'll be fantastic at it. Becoming a parent is naturally daunting but if you wait for it to stop feeling that way, you might wait forever.

I assumed the decision to have DC2 would be easier. But then the angst set in about loving them equally, meeting 2 sets of needs, finances, work prospects, childcare, being pregnant with a toddler to look after......
Basically at any life stage it is easy to talk yourself into not being ready without really knowing what it would take to feel ready.

MadBusLady Sun 13-Jan-13 14:49:02

Parttimer makes an important point. This is a trend we are talking about. So "declining fertility" doesn't really mean much applied to an individual. If you're 35+ you might be in the group that gets pregnant in the first year, the group that takes longer or the group that never gets pregnant at all.

I totally get the ambiguous feeling about whether you're grown up enough. Some are misreading it as concern for the perfect job/house/finances but I think it's far more profound. And "maturity" IMO isn't about no longer staying out drinking all night either. For me it's more "Fuck, could I do this? Do I even totally want to? Would it be ok to try knowing I might be rubbish at it? What if I hate xyz elements of it?" and all that. If you expressed those doubts about a partner or a job, people would tell you to be cautious, take your time and weigh things up. Sadly, there's a limit on that here.

So YANBU!

parttimer79 Sun 13-Jan-13 13:38:35

Sorry to hear things aren't happening for you yet!
I am a cautionary tale in the opposite direction.
I work as a researcher into social attitudes to fertility and had sent myself into a total panic that in my (early) mid thirties I was going to take forever to conceive and face the prospect of childfree living.
Stopped taking the pill as soon as we decided we wanted to try, got pregant the next month - cue shock and general gobsmackedness. I still wouldn't have tried any earlier than this as professionally and personally I wasn't in the right place.But God I don't want to be doing this again when I'm 50!

Realistically couples of any age can take up to a year or 2 years to conceive and nothing is necessarily wrong. And while fertility as a general trend does decline as we age this has little bearing on individual fertility.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-Jan-13 13:14:54

I think that's one of the keys: that the women you hear about having babies in their 40s are rarely the women who have never had a baby before. Sometimes but rarely.

Sorry things are taking longer than you hoped op, but it isn't game over at 35, my Mum had my brother just before she was 41, 20 years after she had me!

Some people are ready before 25 though, I'm 24, dp 26 and we've finished our family, I do think I was a bit young when dc1 arrived however I sure grew up pretty quick when he was here!

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sun 13-Jan-13 12:40:50

Part of the problem is that we hear about the celebrities with late babies but we don't hear a) which of them have used egg donation which is almost impossible in the UK, and not most people's ideal choice and b) all the miscarriages they've had while getting to their take-home baby.

Chunderella Sun 13-Jan-13 12:32:57

It's perfectly possible for a human female to have children with no assistance in her 40s. Just not for every human female. Regarding the point about women in their 40s having babies in the past, that's true, but they'd usually had children already. Conceiving your 8th baby at 45 is very different to conceiving your 1st. But of course there are plenty of women who can do it with ease, and they are not numerically insignificant. There must be millions of childless 39 year old women on the planet who do indeed have lots of time left.

deleted203 Sun 13-Jan-13 12:15:36

herecomesthesun Yes, it is possible to have kids at 44 and 48 - but it's rare. I had my last baby at 37 and would have liked another - but despite falling pregnant easily enough, had 4 MC between 38 and 41 and have not fallen pregnant since, despite never bothering with contraception. I had to accept my GPs words which were 'you're old and your eggs are now very poor quality. It's nature's way of getting rid of babies which are not viable'. Which was blunt, but true. He told me that there is a massive drop off in fertility after 37 and that very few women, statistically speaking, will find that they can conceive and carry a healthy baby in their 40s. He said he found it frustrating that so many women looked at people like Cherie Blair and other women who had had babies over 40 and though, 'oh well, I'll still be able to then'.

herecomesthsun Sun 13-Jan-13 12:07:14

Erm, it is perfectly possible to have kids in your 40s. I had one just after I turned 44 and another 6 weeks before my 48th birthday. I have PCOS as well (was on metformin and vitamins, no other medical intervention to get pregnant). I did have 3 mcs in the space of 9 months when I was 41-42 and that was tough.

Before contraception it would have been a lot commoner to see women in their 40s with babies (and past 50 is also possible). Women in my family had families of 14 or 21. (Glad I don't, even though I would have LOVED to have been able to start sooner, and probably would have had more). I was keen to have kids from about age 20 onwards, but didn't want to have them on my own/ fool someone into a surprise baby/ marry someone unless the relationship had a good chance of lasting etc.

Apparently, women over 40 who thought they had completed their families are more likely to terminate a surprise pregnancy than teenagers, so I would infer that there is a sizeable proportion of women who would not like to be very fertile in their 40s.

I do feel for anyone who thinks it is too late for them, I thought this in my early 40s and would be so so sad not to have my kids. I do have a friend who married in her 30s, could not have kids, and was overjoyed to adopt a baby, this can be a real possibility also of course.

Good luck!

Bakingtins Sun 13-Jan-13 12:05:59

I think it's one of those things where most people have the idea that fertility generally declines in late thirties but not that it applies to them as individuals.
I married at 29 and had DS1 at 31, then MC and struggled TTC and DS2 at 35, then struggled TTC, MC again and still trying at 38. Looking back I wouldn't have started earlier because for me as an individual I wasn't in the right place, but I hadn't really appreciated that it might be difficult and that my family size might be curtailed by my fertility rather than my decisions about it.
I have several work colleagues in their early thirties who are planning weddings in a few years, getting settled, finishing off various projects then TTC and want to say to them just to get on with it, they'll be 35 before they even start trying.
I think women are ready to be mothers at very different times - my cousin became a mother to twins at 47 (assume she had some fertility treatment to get there). I've set a cut off at 40 after which we'll stop trying and accept that we are a family of four.
It would be great if you could choose your fertile 20 year period at a time that suited your lifestyle, but it doesn't work like that so you have to work with your biology.
Good luck OP!

Lambzig Sun 13-Jan-13 12:02:45

YANBU, I had my DC at 42 and 45, but it took 11 years of trying and a lot of medical help to get the first. I also realise how incredibly lucky i am to hve them now - I was definitely on my last chances.

I cringe when I hear late thirties friends saying they will start soon and assuming all will be ok.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-Jan-13 12:01:59

PS Now of course it's in every second Daily Mail article.

Chunderella Sun 13-Jan-13 12:01:39

Most people consider a reasonable degree of stability to be desirable before having a child. It seems to be getting increasingly hard for people to achieve this in their late teens and early 20s. I'm not talking about having bought a home in a good catchment area, done up the nursery, got a managerial position at work and sorted the nanny beforehand. But simply having a job and a home and a reasonable degree of confidence that you're not going to get turfed out of both tomorrow. It's harder for young people now than it was a few years ago, i think. Yes I know you can bring up a child and do a damn fine job of it with no job, no housing security etc, but it's extremely hard. I say this as someone who got pregnant whilst unemployed and living with family.

And of course fertility is so complex. A woman in her mid to late 30s can still be spectacularly fertile, or have missed the boat entirely. I have a friend who started trying at 35 and got knocked up two months after her coil was taken out, and another who didn't manage to get pregnant until aged 38 after 4 years of very active trying. Neither of these examples is unusual. Some women do get accidentally pregnant the first time ever in their lives they have unprotected sex at whilst aged 42- it's statistically unlikely, but even if the odds are only like 0.1% that's still a fuck of a lot of women. It's a shame there isn't some kind of easy test women can have at aged 20 to get an idea when their fertility will decline.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-Jan-13 12:01:38

Agreed. I said it upthread: people said "Oh there's plenty of time!" when I said aged about 32 that I didn't know whether I wanted children or not. Certainly there was absolutely no MENTION of declining fertility at school in human biology and so on - the menopause was when you stopped being fertile and not before.

NamingOfParts Sun 13-Jan-13 11:49:57

I agree with LettyAshton, young women are being sold a bit of a lie. Certainly when I listen to the young (late 20s-early 30s) women at work talk, they are assuming that they will be able to meet, marry and have children all at some unspecified point in the future. Just now they are too busy being young(ish), free and single. There is no sense that there is any sort of practical time limit to the possibility of having children.

LettyAshton Sun 13-Jan-13 11:24:09

And people who say that the fertility issue is rubbish and anyone can have babies in their 40s only need visit a fertility clinic.

They are busting full of middle-class women of a certain age looking very desperate and willing to part with any amount of money.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-Jan-13 11:20:37

I think many of our current generation is "pickier" about choosing a mate as well i.e someone to have children with, whereas for my parents it was the norm to marry at 22 and have children by 25. However a lot of these people divorced in their 40s and 50s once the children had grown up.

Horses for courses.

LettyAshton Sun 13-Jan-13 11:20:15

I agree with OP.

We were constantly fed the notion that you go to university, get a job, build a career, meet fantastic "evolved" bloke and then have photogenic children leaping about in fairy wings and wellies. [Too many women's magazines, moi]

And we still are in Hollywood-land. Many celebrities have very late babies and are a bit economical with the truth regarding the biology.

I found that my fertility did indeed "fall off a cliff" at 35 which was a bit of a bummer to say the least.

Meanwhile, dh's friend who is 48 only looks at women in the 25-35 age bracket as he hopes to have a family. Not fair!

amandine07 Sun 13-Jan-13 11:20:03

Just to add OP- good luck with TTC I hope 2013 brings you a baby.
I think going to see a health professional about all of this would help pit your mind at rest and any necessary tests can be initiated.
How long have you been TTC? Once thing I've learnt is that it's just like "how long's a piece of string?"...you just don't know until you give it a try.
I really understand where you're coming from & sympathise with the pain if it all smile

Well saying that women shouldn't be fertile before 25 regardless of whether that was an arbitrary number or not is still saying younger women shouldn't have children.

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