Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Misconception about Conception

The Headlines:


Girls think they can have babies forever.

Until they can't.  





Tick tock... tick tock... tick tock... hear that?  That's the sound of the clock working.  Minute by minute the time is passing.  If you're a woman, from the moment you're born the clock on the eggs in your body starts to tick. And tock.

It is a fact that a woman is born with a certain amount of eggs.  Before she's even started her menstrual cycle she's lost more than half of them.  And each year that goes by, they dwindle.  When she runs out, there are no more.  She can't buy any.  Well, she can, but they're not technically hers.  HER eggs are present (a gift really) for only a specific amount of time.


In the last several decades, something happened on our way to the baby shower.  Women have gotten busier.  Thank goodness.  We now hold high political offices.  We're esteemed judges and doctors.  Tech moguls, CEO's, there's really nothing we can't do.  But ironically, that very freedom can limit an ability we've had since the beginning of time.  We're so busy living our lives that sometimes we forget to create them!

Bravo to those women who want to live their dream, I was one of them.   I would never bash a woman who wanted to put herself and her career front and center.  But I would caution her: don't forget about your other dream (if it is one) because having a baby isn't a given - we just think it is.

There are lots and lots of young women who think the possibility of having children extends well into their 40's.  And it does.  For a very few.

When I was reporting for a TV station in California years ago I did a story on freezing eggs.  For a hefty price, an Orange County company would go into a woman's body, grab some of her eggs during her prime and keep them "on ice" until she was ready to use them.  I was amazed and envious really.  A woman who had the means could very potentially go well into her 40's and then have children.  No bother.  No worries.  No old eggs.  NO way.  For me at least... I had to do it the old fashioned way.  Kinda.  This is my 3rd post in a short series.  Read my full infertility story HERE  and then read how I fought to get pregnant HERE.   Spoiler alert - it was not by way of frozen eggs!

But when I did that story all those years ago it hit me for the first time... THAT'S HOW THEY DO IT!  You know there's tons of news about celebrities having babies well into their mid to late 40's: Halle Berry at 47, Tina Fey at 44, Gwen Stefani at 45, Amanda Peet at 43, Mira Sorvino had a baby when she was 44 and Kelly Preston was 47 years old!  The list really does go on and on... and that's great but here's what's not so fabulous: they're having lots of help and paying tons of dollars for those babies.  The world just doesn't know it.

Same thing happened when I was working.  As a television broadcaster for about 17 plus years....  I ran into plenty of very driven women.  Ladies who dressed lovely, talked fast, made money and wanted it all.  They lunged hard at their career early, got married later and babies were almost an after thought.  About the time I wanted to conceive others in my business did too.  There was a bit of a baby boom.  Multiples happened.  Some women talked about where they came from... others didn't.

I get why they hide it:

privacy
presumption of youth
embarrassment
emotions

They have the right to keep it to themselves.  It's hard to go through and it can be a struggle that's difficult to share.  I know just as much as anyone.  But I also believe perhaps it's their duty.  Otherwise, it's really such a dis-service to the women and girls out there who will attempt to live the lie.  Sadly, when they find out the truth... it may be too late.  

As I did that story about the frozen eggs all those years ago I learned something I would never forget.  The cold hard facts surrounding the eggs inside a woman.  A woman is born with about a million eggs in her body but only has a few hundred thousand left by the time she's a teen.  Sounds like a lot but she loses them incredibly fast.  There's less in her 20's.  By the time a woman hits her early 30's there's still lots of good options but they're starting to dwindle.  Then by 35, there's such a severe drop, on a graph chart, it would look like a 90 degree angle.  After 40, there's almost no eggs left.  At age 45,  there's just about a 3-4% chance of natural conception... according to Parents.com.  So, even a high powered CEO of a Fortune 500 company can not put in a bid for a baby... she just can't have one.

Why am I writing about this?  Not to scare anyone but to plant the seed.  Yes, I want girls to live their dreams but I also want them to take a moment to recognize a dream they may not even realize is there.  Being a mother is a special part of life that could easily pass you by if you let it.  If you want a baby, it's just as important - arguably more - as that job promotion.


No doubt about it... wait until you're ready.  But don't wait too long.  Because the misconception about conception is ultimately pretty clear.  Tick tock, tick tock, tick tick... tock.