do you think that it's possible to have a sensible conversation about awareness re falling fertility in the light of the other thread....

(456 Posts)
sophable Tue 16-Jun-09 14:20:31

sorry about the humungous thread title...

but do you think we could talk about the question of putting off career to have babies/being aware of falling fertility as you age without resort to handbags at dawn?

i know it is a terribly emotional thing for all of us (me included massively). but is there room for discussing whether there should be a cultural seachange back to having your children younger...to avoid the pain and heartache of waiting til you're in your forties to start and struggling?

AitchTwoOh Tue 16-Jun-09 14:22:01

absolutely. am amazed by that thread...
i wish i'd started earlier. i always wanted a big family and stupidly just didn't do the maths and left it too late.

sophable Tue 16-Jun-09 14:23:37

actually was just noting that it had gone all sensible on there!!!

i think there is a case for arguing that there still isn't proper awareness in young women that you won't necessarily still be in a position to have kids if you wait until absolutely everything is in place before doing so.

or are we scaremongered re falling fertility rates (oh i do hope so!)?

rubyslippers Tue 16-Jun-09 14:24:16

i don't know TBH

it is such an emotional subject (in all senses of the word)

I think for a lot of people there is not a lot of choice in the matter - didn't meet a life partner until late, struggled for years and saved for IVF etc etc

chevre Tue 16-Jun-09 14:25:27

i started when i could 30, but secondary infertility means i will not have any more. i guess to some outsiders i might look like some career beatch who left it too late but tbh it is never that simple.

i am glad i didn't do it any earlier but wish i had more. heh ho.

sophable Tue 16-Jun-09 14:25:39

i have this romantic notion that state of mind is important. that way back when women didn't dream of doing anything other than popping kids out they often did well into their fifties. but that now we approach it as we would a project at work, armed with the
thermometers, ovulation testing kits and calenders and a deep down suspicion that it might not happen for us and so it doesn't?

which i know contradicts my previous statement about lack of awareness but i sort of think both exist in different age groups.

CurryMaid Tue 16-Jun-09 14:26:43

I'd be really interested in a sensible debate on this. I didn't contribute on the other one because it descended so quickly into name calling.

I do wonder if the recession will make a difference to all of this - if people are less materialistic perhaps they won't think 'oh I need to have bought a house/car etc etc before I have kids'.

rubyslippers Tue 16-Jun-09 14:27:33

out of all the people i know i am in the minority as i have NO fertility issues

all of us are early 30's - 40's

it breaks my heart for my friends - i am lucky and i know it

chevre Tue 16-Jun-09 14:28:06

i wanted stability before i had kids. i am not particulary materialistic but i wanted to provide for my dd, which i do and i am glad i can.

CurryMaid Tue 16-Jun-09 14:29:36

Sorry chevre, I just came back to rectify my comment before people thought I was saying that they value houses and cars more than children.

I think I was thinking more about the crazy house prices and the whole 'must get on the property ladder' thing that is pushed and pushed in this country.

sarah293 Tue 16-Jun-09 14:30:11

I deliebrately started early - had dd at 23 , ds1 at 24 and ds2 at 25, for 2 reasons. One, I was afraid I'd damaged my fertility by being anorexic and two, planned to do the career thing after babies and have an uninteruppted time.

fircone Tue 16-Jun-09 14:31:10

I think women should come with a health warning. As I've just posted on the other thread, I had this vague idea that you were 100% fertile until the menopause, which never occurred before late 40s.

I think a whole generation of women has been led up the garden path somehow, and many of them are now sitting in fertility clinics.

I shall definitely tell my dd to start earlier rather than later (within reason!) as I wouldn't want her to suffer the misery I did.

piprabbit Tue 16-Jun-09 14:31:58

I agree with chevre - the fact that my DCs were born when I was 33 and 38yo has nothing to do with choice and everything to do with battling medical problems for a decade. But that doesn't stop people judging me for being a career centred b*tch sad. I'd love to have had children when younger but ill-health and secondary infertility meant that what I wanted really didn't come into it. Everyday I count my blessings at having 2 wonderful children - and having looked at the statistics for IVF pregnancies I do have an awful itch to tell some of my 30+ friends to not leave things too late... grin.

sophable Tue 16-Jun-09 14:32:15

there is a bigger thing for me too of us trying to control something as visceral, as universal and as massive as children.

it's a deeply controversial thing to say, but contraception has it's downsides and this is one of them isn't it?

we seem to have decided that men and women need to be equal, by denying the fundamental huge power that the ability to carry a child confers on women (which it can and has been argued is where patriarchal society comes from...).

we've missed a trick haven't we? that having children could be a hugely status conferring act, that child rearing cannot be undertaken by one person (if that person is to keep their sanity) but should be a joint/group effort.

something has gone very wrong here it seems to me.

bethoo Tue 16-Jun-09 14:33:04

i think that if we all decided to wait til we can afford a child then there would be quite a drop in the population since i dont think we can ever really afford a child, iykwim. i think i read in the paper a while ago that to raise a child for 18 years was approx the cost of buying a house for £78. you get the idea though obv the info is not exact, just an example of what they were saying.

CurryMaid Tue 16-Jun-09 14:33:05

It's weird though, because I've known for years and years that fertility 'falls off a cliff' after age 35 apparently.

I don't know where the message was rammed home. Think it might have been my rampant magazine habit blush

chevre Tue 16-Jun-09 14:34:00

interestingly the whole infertility business is focused on teh woman. a whole lot of these 'baren' woman have all sorts of procedures and tests and the man gives one or 2 samples and is dismissed. turns out dh is probably the problem in our case but during our 'investigation' no one so much as gave him a glance.

God yes

I have already said to dd who is 6 that when she is thinking about what she does when she grows up she needs to think about having children and when she wants to do it. We have lengthy discussions about how the life of a vet/artist/musician/whatever she wants to be atm will fit in around children and which careers are not so good.

Rather early maybe

I never thought about it though. It was rammed home to me (by my philandering father) that I should make sure I had a career and didn't have to be dependent on men (v wise given his proclivities). So I rather concentrated on that. No-one I knew had any children til their mid-30s other than one couple and my SIL (who had one by accident aged 22ish)

Dh and I didn't want children yet when we got married. We started trying at 32. 4 years later we had one dd. Have been trying ever since and am now 42 with little hope left

CarpePerDiems Tue 16-Jun-09 14:39:45

Yes, I think it's a conversation that needs to be had.

I'm not sure about a seachange but, as a starting point, an acknowledgement that having children younger is also a valid choice.

I had mine in my twenties and encountered a fair amount of surprise and not a little derision in some quarters. There was a definite sense that I was therefore abandoning some kind of glittering future (ha!) and letting the side down.

Ten years down the road and while there's a distinct lack of glitter, my kids are all established at school and my work life is happily ticking over again.

I don't think we should prescribe any set path but we should recognise that in some ways we exchanged one accepted pattern, that of marrying and having children young, for another.

There are upsides and down to entering parenthood at any age. On the downside, having babies in my twenties certainly set me back career wise at the time. On the upside I feel much more competent and capable now that I'm in my late thirties and more able to achieve much of what I hope to and, as I did have my children fairly young, I'm not faced with trying to start a family as well.

Sorry, that turned out to be rather long! Basically yes, I do think we should spend rather more time talking about this, but not only from the fear of falling fertility and certainly not from the viewpoint that there is a right time to start a family.

morningpaper Tue 16-Jun-09 14:41:11

I really agree with fircone's posts on this issue.

I think that fertility is a bit like being a Premiership Football Player - basically, you have to be ridiculously young to be in with a chance. By the time you are in your 40s, well... we can't all be David Seaman (n.b. All my knowledge about football comes from owning a David Seaman Barbie)

The trouble is that in terms of EVERYTHING else - career, looks, possibilities, social life - 35+ is ridiculously young. So it's SOOOO hard to get your head around the concept of declining fertility at that (stupidly young) age. It's bloody unfair, to be totally frank.

I think there IS a big problem with the idea of 'settling down with the perfect man' though. I have lots of single friends who are so choosy about who they settled down with. And I've said to them that there have probably been at least a dozen men in my life that I'd have happily settled down with. Now I can't believe that I am wildly lucky and surrounded by princes... (ahem, no offence to Mr MP)

I do wonder if Family Planning Clinics should also have Fertility Info on the same site. In the same way that you HAVE to be warned about the risks of contraception, you SHOULD be warned about declining fertility.

But it's hard to discuss because you are either on the LUCKY side of the fence, or the SHITTY side of the fence, so there's a bit of a war going on, it seems...

chevre Tue 16-Jun-09 14:42:21

there is also the fact i just did not want to have children until a light bulb moment when i was 30. was perfectly happy and envisaged my life childfree. you can't just chunter on at women to have kids when they really are not interested.

fircone Tue 16-Jun-09 14:43:59

What annoys me is when someone comes rolling along and says, "oh, my granny had a baby when she was 49" or "I started when I was 43 and have 5 dcs now" etc etc.

These are exceptions, and I was as guilty as anyone for looking at such women and thinking that this was the norm.

I think that in New York there were posters on buses advising women of their declining fertility. I think that's a good idea. I wish I'd had the information shoved in my face, frankly.

chevre Tue 16-Jun-09 14:44:17

yes mp there is a fair amount of 'oh i am so fertile dh just has to pee on teh loo seat and i am up the duff, (tinkly laugh)' versus teeth grinding misery

chevre Tue 16-Jun-09 14:45:57

yes maybe birthday cards for woman should have pictures of shoes AND health warning 'getting older seriously affects your fertility'.

sophable Tue 16-Jun-09 14:46:16

chevre very funny post albeit about something so horrible.

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