Thirty-seven and counting

The harsh reality of women’s fertility decline

by Kate Lunau

Illustration by Patrick Ledger

Brigitte Adams always wanted to have kids one day: a boy and a girl. “My mom’s a first-grade teacher, and there’s a whole library of children’s books she’s saved for me,” says Adams, 40. Two years ago, she talked to her doctor. “He said, ‘Just get pregnant now,’ ” but Adams, who divorced at 34, was single. “I’d like to have a traditional family,” she says. “I wasn’t ready to have children by myself.” Last year, she froze her eggs.

Like Adams, women in their mid- to late thirties are turning to egg freezing to slow the biological clock, putting aside a stash of eggs to gain more time to have a child. Elective egg freezing is fairly new, and not all fertility clinics offer it, but it’s about to go mainstream. On Oct. 19, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) lifted its “experimental” label on egg freezing, citing findings that younger women are about as likely to get pregnant whether using fresh eggs in a fertility treatment, or previously frozen ones. While the ASRM doesn’t set rules for fertility clinics, merely provides guidelines, more are bound to start offering the procedure—and more patients will seek it out. Women late in their reproductive years may be disappointed: not even this cutting-edge technology can halt the female fertility decline.

The ASRM’s new recommendations say egg freezing can help certain women, like cancer patients who might suffer infertility after chemotherapy, or couples using IVF, if the man can’t give a sperm sample the day his partner’s eggs are retrieved. But it stopped short of recommending egg freezing for the purpose of delaying childbearing, especially among older women. “We don’t have good data on women who are older,” says Dr. Samantha Pfeifer, head of the ASRM Practice Committee, which wrote the new recommendations; most of the studies so far have been in women under 30. Egg freezing can be a costly procedure, and takes a physical and emotional toll; there’s concern about giving patients false hope. Yet older women like Adams are the ones “most clamouring for the technology,” Pfeifer acknowledges.

Adams had her eggs frozen at 39—an age many fertility clinics would already deem too old for the procedure. Many won’t do it if the patient is over 37 or 38, when egg quality and quantity steeply decline. LifeQuest, a private clinic in Toronto, won’t freeze a woman’s eggs past 37. After that, “fertility takes a nosedive,” says medical director Dr. Ken Cadesky. In Vancouver, Genesis Fertility Centre offers egg freezing with no strict age cut-off, although “in our experience, freezing over age 37 isn’t a good alternative,” says co-director and co-founder Dr. Al Yuzpe. “I’ve been in the field of infertility for 42 years, and we’ve seen an evolution. The one thing we’ve never been able to overcome is the effect of female age.”

Despite this, women in their late thirties are increasingly seeking out elective egg freezing. They’re hoping that science can help them achieve a traditional family, ultimately one with a father who is known and present, rather than an anonymous sperm-bank donor.

Adams, who runs a website called Eggsurance, calls egg freezing the new birth control pill, an option that empowers women and increases their choices. But even this promising technology can only help so much. On the Eggsurance blog, Adams describes meeting a “lovely woman” who’d left a corporate career and was considering egg freezing. “Then she mentioned her age: 42. I did not have the heart to tell her she was already too old,” Adams writes. “She would find out soon enough.”

Across the Western world, women are waiting longer than ever to have kids. The average age of Canadian women giving birth moved from 27 to almost 30 over the last two decades; the proportion of first births among women 35 or older went from four per cent in 1987 to 11 per cent in 2005, according to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). The newsstands are populated with pregnant stars or new moms in their late 30s and 40s: Drew Barrymore, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek. Everyone knows somebody who had a kid at 39 or 40.

But the truth is that women who can conceive naturally late in their fertile years are an anomaly, and science can only help so much.

Virtually every woman is aware of the “biological clock,” but many still don’t realize how rapidly fertile years slip away. In a 2012 study of U.S. university students, 83 per cent of women and 91 per cent of men thought the age at which women experience a slight dip in fertility is older than it is (in reality, it happens between 25 and 29). Two-thirds of women and 81 per cent of men made the same mistake for the age at which it steeply decreases (after 35). “They’re viewing it as after 40, sometimes after 45 or 50,” says author Brennan Peterson, a psychology professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. “That’s so beyond the mark.” A woman freezing her eggs at 38 “is doing it at the wrong time,” he says. “The time to freeze them, in truth, is when she’s in her mid-20s.” Of course, planning a life is rarely so simple. “It would take a very forward-thinking woman to do that,” Peterson says. “Most people don’t believe they’re at risk for infertility if they delay.”

A woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have: about one or two million at birth, a number that dwindles to less than half a million by the time puberty hits, then continues to drop until menopause. During her reproductive years, she will ovulate perhaps 500 eggs. The rest die off. “Between the two processes, women probably lose 1,000 eggs for every month they ovulate,” Yuzpe says. A woman’s eggs are large and tricky to freeze, like “big water balloons,” says Pfeifer.

The first human was born of a frozen egg in 1986, but it’s taken decades to perfect the process. “Social” egg freezing, the elective kind, has taken off partly thanks to a newer technique called “vitrification,” a sort of flash-freezing that’s replacing the older slow-freeze method. (LifeQuest, which has offered social egg freezing for about two years, adopted vitrification just a few months ago.) “The success of egg freezing has only come to the fore since we’ve been able to use vitrification,” Yuzpe says. When eggs are frozen this way, “they don’t form ice crystals, which can destroy the egg and damage genetic material.”

At LifeQuest, the egg freezing program is still a very small part of the clinic’s overall practice. About 200 people have been in touch about it, and 70 have gone ahead with the procedure or are booked to do so in the near future, Cadesky says. These are mostly single women in their early 30s “who were not in a relationship, and starting to worry about the prospects of their fertility dwindling before they find someone,” he says. “They’re looking for a backup, an insurance policy.”

Social egg freezing is not offered at the Mount Sinai Centre for Fertility and Reproductive Health in Toronto. Older women seeking egg freezing are “an incredibly vulnerable group of people,” says medical director Dr. Ellen Greenblatt, “and there are ethical concerns about giving them a false sense of security. Reproductive technologies can’t make up for the egg quality issues that happen with aging.” Greenblatt agrees with the new ASRM guidelines, which state that there just isn’t enough data on the safety, success rates, cost-effectiveness and potential emotional risks to promote egg freezing to healthy women who wish to delay childbearing—especially not older women. “If you have a 41-year-old woman who wants to freeze her eggs, how do you counsel her on whether it’s worth going through the procedure?” Pfeifer says.

At LifeQuest, all patients undergo counselling before freezing their eggs. “They’re informed that although babies [born of the procedure] have been perfectly healthy up until now, there are no long-term follow-ups,” Cadesky says. “It would be far more comforting with 10 or 15 years [of observation and study], but they don’t have 10 years to wait.” (According to the ASRM, a recent review of over 900 children born from frozen eggs found no increased risks.)

The process is only for the committed. LifeQuest charges $8,600 for egg freezing, including $3,000 for medication covered by many insurance plans. Egg storage, thawing, fertilization and embryo transfer will cost more. It’s also physically and emotionally gruelling. “In essence, it’s half an IVF cycle,” Cadesky says. For both egg freezing and IVF, women inject medication to stimulate egg development; eggs are harvested and, in the case of IVF, fertilized with sperm and re-implanted in the patient. For egg freezing, the eggs are frozen and stashed away; the other half of the IVF cycle will be completed when the patient is ready to use them. “Frozen eggs do not have as high a pregnancy rate as frozen embryos,” Cadesky says, but patients freezing eggs would rather take that chance. Even then, they can’t wait forever. LifeQuest stipulates that an egg-freezing patient must have her eggs fertilized and implanted in her uterus by her 50th birthday, if she’s going to use them. Most fertility clinics won’t treat women after 50, when pregnancy becomes too risky and complicated.

Before Adams had her eggs extracted and frozen, she injected medication into her own stomach for 12 days, twice a day like clockwork, as the doctor had recommended. “The first one was the hardest. I was terrified,” she says. By the end, she was comfortable enough to give herself a shot in a public bathroom, or in her car. When she went in for the procedure, she felt a swirl of emotion. “You’re excited, empowered,” she says. “And then you start being sad or angry—like, why haven’t I met anyone, why can’t I have a traditional family?” After it was done, she felt calmer, more confident. “Now when I’m going out, I’m not laser focused on meeting someone.” Doctors retrieved 11 eggs. She calls them her insurance policy. “If I meet someone, we’ll be working with 39-year-old eggs, as opposed to 42- or 43-year-old ones.”

Six months after Carolyn Lawrence left her husband, she decided to freeze her eggs. “I called my mom, and the first thing she said is that I should do it,” says Lawrence, 35, who lives in Toronto. She’d started a new relationship at that point, but didn’t feel they were ready to have kids. At 32, she started the egg-freezing process. “I thought, time’s ticking.”

Her career was a big motivation. “I run a business and work very hard,” says Lawrence, president and CEO of Women of Influence, a marketing and media company for professional women. “I loved the idea of freezing my eggs because then you don’t have to rush the decision over a career, finances, or a partner.” In her work, she’s seen plenty of women “driving themselves crazy” wondering when to start a family, she says. Egg freezing gave her “peace of mind.”

Two months before Lawrence was scheduled for the egg extraction, she got pregnant—the old-fashioned way. “It definitely was not the plan, but sometimes things happen for a reason.” Lawrence, who remains in a committed relationship with her baby’s father, now has eight-month-old son, Jack. She’s still a big booster of egg freezing. “Professional women have so many responsibilities they’re taking on,” she says. “The ability to freeze your eggs gives you more control and options.”

Whether it’s to pursue an education, career or relationship, there are many good reasons to put off having kids. But eventually women find themselves confronting a biological reality: their most fertile years can coincide with these pursuits. Men also experience a fertility decline, but a much different one. Advanced paternal age appears associated with problems like increased frequency of schizophrenia or autism spectrum disorders, according to an SOGC paper. But male fertility can extend far later in life. Pierre Trudeau fathered a daughter at 71. Canadian-born author Saul Bellow had a daughter at 84.

While Lawrence’s career did factor into her decision, as it does for countless other women, the stereotype of the “career woman” who purposely puts off having kids is actually far from the norm. Delayed childbearing is rarely viewed as a “conscious choice,” says a 2012 study in the International Journal of Nursing Studies. U.K. researchers interviewed women 35 and over about their experiences. While they might have felt ready for a baby at various times, they reported feeling it was out of their hands: factors like a relationship, finances, health and fertility were seen as beyond their control. The biggest influence was the need for the right partner. “I am leaving it later than I would have chosen to do,” one subject, 38-year-old Vicky, told the team. “I would have done it in my early thirties if I’d been with the right person.”

Women and men who plan on having children one day—just not now—should be informed about their fertility, says Dr. Jo-Ann Johnson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Calgary and co-author of a recent SOGC report on delayed childbearing. In doctors’ offices, that message is often lost. “We’ve been spending so much time and effort in prevention of pregnancy in younger women, that we’ve completely ignored the epidemic in older women,” she says. “The message we need to get out is it’s neither patronizing nor inappropriate to inform women there’s an optimal window to avoid complications and disappointments down the road.” Yuzpe too believes that “fertility counselling” should be offered alongside contraception counselling. Peterson agrees. “What we want to avoid is the 40-year-old who’s healthy, ready for kids, with the nursery all set up—and now realizing she can’t.”

Age-related infertility can be heartbreaking. Kathy John, a 42-year-old kindergarten teacher in Surrey, B.C., got together with her husband, C.S. John, when she was 37; he was 35. She’d been previously married, but left when it became clear her ex didn’t want kids. Kathy and C.S. started trying to get pregnant a month before the wedding, when she was 39. Soon, they realized there might be a problem. After visiting a fertility specialist and trying more conservative treatments, the couple decided on IVF. “For us, that was a big deal,” C.S. says. “We’d just had a wedding and paid for the house. After spending a couple of thousand on the other treatments, it cost $12,000.” IVF didn’t work. “I felt like I was sliding,” Kathy said earlier this summer. “It’s taken me the last three years to be okay with it.” C.S., a filmmaker, is making a documentary about the experience called On Infertile Ground. (Yuzpe is an executive producer.)

In July, the Johns left for the Czech Republic for an egg donation. It’s illegal to compensate egg donors in Canada, which can make it difficult to find one here, and seeking a donor in the U.S. is “prohibitively expensive,” C.S. says. “I’m nervous, but I’m glad to be moving on,” Kathy told Maclean’s shortly before leaving for Prague. In September, they announced happy news: Kathy is pregnant with twins, due in mid-March, right around their wedding anniversary.

Egg donation is the last remaining option for women who wish to conceive, but can’t. Patients can undergo IVF with a donor egg up until 50 without much decline in success rate. Still, many are hesitant to give up a genetic link to the child. “Not a lot of patients turn up wanting to have an egg donor,” Yuzpe says. “They say, ‘I want to get pregnant.’ We raise the issue of an egg donor.”

When it comes to aging eggs, science hasn’t produced any magic bullets—but patients are often too quick to believe technology will be their saviour. “There’s definitely a perception: ‘IVF will do it for me if I can’t get pregnant on my own,’ ” says Karla Bretherick, a post-doctoral fellow at the B.C. Cancer Agency and a co-author of a 2010 report on Canadian perceptions of female fertility. “There’s an unawareness of the fact that fertility with IVF declines with age as well.” According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, in 2007, the Canadian live birth rate after IVF (with their own eggs) was about 37 per cent for women under 35, 27 per cent for those 35 to 39, and 11 per cent for those 40 or over. Advances in reproductive technology have produced a “false sense of security,” says the report.

It’s one reason so many are still caught off-guard by fertility’s decline, a feeling Adams describes on her blog. “We spend so much of our lives trying not to get pregnant. We take birth control, use condoms, practise the rhythm method and then—bam—it is too late. Our ovarian reserve is diminished. Our eggs are no longer healthy. Like Wile E. Coyote [running off a cliff] we are surprised by our fate, but we knew we were on a cliff and that the cliff had a drop-off point.”

Freezing her eggs gave Adams some clarity. “I really toyed with the idea of being a single mom,” she says. But after the procedure, Adams realized it’s not the right decision for her. “With my personality, and where I am in my life, and not having a lot of family nearby, I just thought I can’t be a single mom.” She’s holding out for a partner to fertilize those eggs. But at the same time, Adams is coming to terms with the fact she may never use her eggs at all. “I’m thinking that in the next few years, if I don’t have children, I probably won’t,” she says. She’s got the rest of her life to focus on; even so, the prospect of giving up such a long-held dream makes her sad. “What I believe now is that I want a traditional family. Hopefully I will meet someone and that will happen.”




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Thirty-seven and counting

  1. Sounds interesting, but I don’t read articles split over more than 4 pages.

  2. This final line is poignant: “She’s got the rest of her life to focus on; even so, the prospect of giving up such a long-held dream makes her sad. “What I believe now is that I want a traditional family. Hopefully I will meet someone and that will happen.”

    My heart goes out to these ladies; they have been gypped by the sexual revolution, in which men got sex without consequences and women largely got heartbreak. 50 years of assaults on the traditional family have made it difficult to achieve one. The result is a lot of immature men and saddened women.

    God help the few children that will grow up in the aftermath of this social experiment.

    • WRT immature men and saddened women, I think there are just as many immature women and saddened men. Women remaining single until their late-thirties is often a result of the choices they’ve made.

      • I’m inclined to think there aren’t quite as many: I think women by nature have a more mature view of sex than men. They are more inclined to value the relationship and commitment vs. short-term pleasure.

        However, I agree with you that ultimately the unhappy outcome is a result of poor choices they’ve made, sure. But they’ve often made these poor choices because they were fed a lie – that marriage and children could wait and were less important than sitting in an office cubicle for decades.

        • Regardless of how women view sex, I think many women have developed a cavalier approach to relationships. For many, a relationship is an accessory, something to schedule into their lives on occasion. It’s not something to be taken seriously for many years. Any serious guy unfortunate enough to pursue such women is wasting his time, unless he too has the same mentality.
          Some women never change this mentality. Some change it when they hit the big 30. Some change it when they hear their biological clock. Some change this mentality far too late.

        • Basically, it’s always someone else’s fault when a woman makes mistakes or chronic poor choices. Gotcha.

    • Really?!!! Out of this article THAT is what you get? How about it is an unintended consequence of women getting education and wanting careers? Silly them for wanting that!
      How about the fact that our culture has taken a decade off of women’s prime reproductive years (it is no longer considered appropriate for 14 year old girls to get pregnant)… and how great it is that medicine and science has been able to help add that decade back for women 35-45!

      • Gaunilon and FlyBy…separated at birth, back in the 10th century.

      • This may surprise you, but getting an education and having a traditional family are not mutually exclusive. Also, another surprising fact: marrying at 14 has been out of vogue since well before the sexual revolution.

        I mix in two worlds simultaneously: in my professional life I am surrounded by secular folks who view the world as you do. Almost all have failed marriages either ongoing or in their recent past, or are single and desperately hoping for a traditional marriage setting as the women quoted in this article describe.
        But in my personal life I am surrounded by other traditional conservative types: the women in this crowd are nearly all well educated, with at least one university degree, more than half with a second degree as well. They are also nearly all married, with a husband they love, who is still around, and is their first husband. Their children are largely healthy and happy. They are living well. There are exceptions with broken marriages, but these are notable for how rare they are, vs. the professional crowd where it’s the opposite.

        The first-wave feminism of the early 20th century that saw women go from 2nd-class citizens to an equal footing with men was a good thing. Education and careers were opened up to women, and this was good. Then came the next wave of feminism, the one that scorned being a stay-at-home mom, that viewed children as a handicap rather than an accomplishment, and that viewed traditional marriage as an outdated concept. This was bad. It was a lie. The lie is bearing fruit, and leading to the heartbreak seen in this article. Open your eyes.

        • This story has nothing to do with the sexual revolution! That was your own misconceived idea.
          Another interesting thing you might not be aware of… you don’t have to be married to make babies.
          Your entire second paragraph is an outright lie, filled with statements and facts that you just made up. The worrying part is that your biased view of the world is probably so extreme that you don’t even recognize that you are lying… you just choose to see things as you wish them to be rather than how they are. You also seem to mix up being in a “professional crowd” with being secular… I can only assume you mean that all the well educated :traditional” women you refer to are not professionals, but just went to college as a way to find a partner to take care of them as they lived the rest of their lives as home-makers.

          • Just because you don’t want to see the truth doesn’t mean it’s a lie.

          • You know there is a difference between criticizing someone’s argument and calling them a liar. You should learn this difference.

            Now,

            (1)“Another interesting thing you might not be aware of… you don’t have to be married to make babies.”

            Yes, but if you read the article, you’ll have noticed that most of the unhappy women quoted would prefer to have children in the setting of a traditional marriage, since they recognize the value of having the father stick around to help raise the kids.

            (2) “The worrying part is that your biased view of the world is probably so extreme that you don’t even recognize that you are lying… “

            Recognizing the value of traditional marriage is extreme? Tell that to the ladies quoted in the article.

            (3) “You also seem to mix up being in a “professional crowd” with being secular… “

            No, actually, since I am in a professional crowd myself and not secular. What I said is that most of the folks I mix with professionally are secular. This just happens to be the way my profession is.

            (4)“I can only assume you mean that all the well educated :traditional” women you refer to are not professionals, but just went to college as a way to find a partner to take care of them as they lived the rest of their lives as home-makers.”

            This is a perfect example of the sneering attitude concerning homemakers to which I was referring above. It’s obnoxious, and frankly sexist – your envy is showing. Again, most of the women I know personally (not professionally) are fairly traditional, because that’s the kind of crowd I enjoy being around. Most of them are also well educated. Most of them are also in happy, stable marriages. And for the record, most of them are too independent and intelligent to go to college just to “find a partner to take care of them” since (a) they don’t need a partner to take care of them, (b) they are smart enough to excel in college, and (c) most of them enjoyed excelling in college. My impression is that most of them went to college for the same reason I did: to learn.

            I recommend that you mix more with small-c conservative ladies. They’re a hell of a lot more fun to be around than their feminist counterparts, and (in my experience) a hell of a lot smarter.

          • Here’s a more recent article that essentially says what I’ve been trying to say, in every last detail. Now, I’m sure you’ll just go and call the author an ignorant liar, etc., etc., but for other more open-minded readers the perspective of Suzanne Venker may be of interest.

            http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/11/24/war-on-men/?intcmp=features

    • It’s always the men’s fault, isn’t it? /sarcasm

      And i doubt many mid 30s will find a men because 1) in this day and
      age getting married and having kids is quite a risk for men as they can
      easily lose half of their assets and the kids too so more and more men
      are opting out of marriage and kids 2) sorry but rarely a women over 35
      is physically attractive (which is also related to her becoming
      infertile) and looks are important after all.

      Sorry but I as a young man in early 20s don’t see a single reason to get married.

    • It’s always the men’s fault, isn’t it? (sarcasm)

      And i doubt many mid 30s will find a men because 1) in this day and
      age getting married and having kids is quite a risk for men as they can
      easily lose half of their assets and the kids too so more and more men
      are opting out of marriage and kids 2) sorry but rarely a women over 35
      is physically attractive (which is also related to her becoming
      infertile) and looks are important after all.

      Sorry but I as a young man in early 20s don’t see a single reason to get married.

      • Good. Please keep believing that, and stay out of marriage.

        The gene pool thanks you.

      • “Rarely a women (sic) over 35 is physically attractive”…

        …Luckily, you couldn’t be more wrong. But if you honestly believe this, then I actually feel sorry for you. Have fun creeping around outside the local high school.

        • Oh my, calling me a pedo, how classy. Because if I don’t find women approaching 40 attractive (there are exceptions but as i said, rare ones) I must like underage girls. What’s next? Calling me a basement dwelling virgin?

          Face it, women in their early 20s are the most attractive and it steeply declines in the 30s. Always was like that, always will be.

          • You are a basement-dwelling virgin.

          • Virgin.

  3. Very good article, the video trailer for they documentary they mention “On Infertile Ground can be found by googling that title or going to OnInfertileGround . com

  4. Article is great, the video trailer for that documentary they mention “On Infertile Ground” can be found by googling that title…. it is very moving.

  5. This is what feminism won for women. Marriage is nice, when it works. When it doesn’t, it destroys men, and few men are willing to sign up with a woman who has shown children were not a priority when her child would have benefited the most. I am greatly saddened that we’ve encouraged our young women to squander their youth, chasing useless degrees and empowered hookup relationships. Young men see that sex positive feminism has given men no reason to commit. Young men see our onerous family courts treating men like wallets. Many young men have seen themselves used like clubs against their own fathers to extract dollars.

    It is a sad state of affairs, but feminism is never about admitting faults, or taking responsibility. It’s about avoiding consequences.

    • LOL oh do stop with the BS

    • “Quick! Get under the bed. Turn off the lights – the FEMINISTS are coming…”

    • Marriage destroys men when it doesn’t work? Hah yet another disgruntled man with the family law system, whining about his lot in life. Bring on the parade! Your statement about “taking responsibility” requires you to take a look in the mirror. It takes two people to create a failed marriage. You can’t avoid the consequences of your own decisions.

  6. “Brigitte Adams always wanted to have kids one day: a boy and a girl. “My mom’s a first-grade teacher, and there’s a whole library of children’s books she’s saved for me,” says Adams, 40.”
    Well there’s the problem. It’s obvious that this woman has a mental problem. She feels she has to have kids because her Mum saved a whole bunch of children’s books for her. My Mum saved a baby carriage and crib for me but in the end it’s not her choice, it’s mine. There is no inherent “right” to be a grandparent. Having kids is probably the biggest decision in your life other than getting a mortgage. Do it or don’t but don’t be led by rhetoric about your “clock” and other mythical beliefs.

    • I think you are bringing some of your own mental bagged when reading that… I am sorry that your mother is pressuring you to have a family, but that is not what this article is saying. The article says SHE ALWAYS WANTED TO HAVE KIDS… the part about her mom saving books it just extra colour to the story, not the main point.

    • I think you are bringing some of your own mental bagged when reading that… I am sorry that your mother is pressuring you to have a family, but that is not what this article is saying. The article says SHE ALWAYS WANTED TO HAVE KIDS… the part about her mom saving books it just extra colour to the story, not the main point.
      The point of the article is about a NON-MYTHICAL clock that women face. Unlike what you see in the movies and magazines, being able to conceive naturally past your mid-thirties is rare.

  7. Ladies – have a career or have kids – not both

    Yeah yeah someone will scream at me – but the truth is those old biddies who want a desk and then want a kid – who the helll wants one of them anyways? Just a bunch of beaches who want the kids as an after thought and then leave them on the shelf for someone else to raise at the best of times.

    Pick your man early and pick him right – you want the nest builder – not that flashy loser who spends your coin on parties and fancy clothes. Wait a minute – that nest builder is boring! Oh well – you ladies got the loser and what you were looking for.

    Have the kids young – like mother nature intended – or do not have them at all. Well, probably best you do not have them at all because now you are only doing it to satisfy that craving for “something missing” in your life.

    Oh well, you can scream at me all you want as you grow old and lonely without anyone to visit you in the old folks home. LOLOL

    Why would I even want to get married to a modern aged princess of this day and age – not one of them is interested in long term relations – it is the fast lay, the instand gratification and the “I wonder how much I can get out of him before I toss him” attitude of the modern beach.

    Have fun ladies – you made your bed and now you can lay in it – and weep!

    • Ahh the ‘christian right’ does sexism again.

      • Just because you don’t like the truth, doesn’t mean it’s sexist.

        • But it’s not the truth….it’s BS.

          From men who are afraid of women, and panic at the thought of them being equal.

      • Oh shut up. I’m sick of the ‘christian right’ label that you like to randomly use to insult people. I’m a female and Christian and I am in complete disagreement with the posting by ‘laughing at you ladies’. At best, he’s misogynistic and none of the other ‘Christian right’ folks that I go to church with think or talk like him either.

        You are just as prejudiced as all the people you label. In fact, you’re probably worse because at least they acknowledge their own bias – I know I have a worldview and I’m not about to randomly label everybody I disagree with the term ‘progressive’ and use it as an insult.

        • I don’t randomly use it, I’m quite specific.

          SoCons have never been shy of announcing their presence in the Con party….if you are embarrassed about it, perhaps you should question either your religion or your political party…or both.

          I’m all for progress, and have never used it as an insult. And I have always been clear that I’m an atheist.

          PS…Christians aren’t supposed to be telling others to ‘shut up’ either…..shame.

    • It’s a good thing that you don’t seem to like women very much, because with attitudes like that, it’s going to be hard to find (a good) one.

  8. I am annoyed that this 9 page article completely neglected to mention that there are a lot of young, healthy couples who are faced with infertility. This article makes it sound like only women who delayed trying for whatever reason, or single women, are the only people who struggle with infertility. So not true. We were 26 when we actively started trying. After countless tests and treatments, we finally became parents when we were 31. This was not a choice of ours to wait. And I know MANY other couples who experienced the same. No wonder so many people have such negative stereotypes about fertility treatments when this is so often the type of information presented to them. Come on Macleans, you can, and should, do better.

    • I think it probably has to be taken as only one story of infertility… and no article can cover the whole ground. Advanced maternal age is certainly a very significant factor in fertility and I think as the article mentions, women aren’t really told that “on average” your fertility drops at 37 (that mean half of women start earlier).
      I think the ignoramus trolls would make stupid comments on any story, even if it was about 22 year olds with PCOS who are unable to conceive.

    • I couldn’t agree more – I had our first child when I was under 30 and have been trying since to have a second kid since; four years and five miscarriages later our only option is IVF. It’s not a choice f or most of us.

  9. And why is adoption not mentioned as an option? And not only adoption of infants and overseas adoptions, but adoptions of older children as well? Adoption as a way of beginning or expanding a family should certainly be explored…and in the end, it doesn’t really matter how your child gets to you, just that they’re yours.

    • The question that people dealing with infertility face most often is “why don’t you just adopt”. I can tell you there is no “just” about adopting. This isn’t 1850′s London with dozens of orphanages to go pick your little “Oliver”
      Adoption runs around $40k depending on your jurisdiction. It takes years to get through the red tape to get there, even if you are trying to adopt a special needs child who is a ward of the state.
      On top of that, there are lots of possible complications, I personally know a couple who had the birth mother take the baby back two months after they taken the child into their homes…. they had spent their life savings, had fallen in love with their child and were left with nothing and no chance to try again.
      Some people successfully adopt, but it is actually relatively rare nowadays. Fertility treatments allow you to have often your own biological child much quicker and at a fraction of the cost of adoption… kind of a no brainer, especially if you are an older couple looking to start your family.

      • Your contention that successful adoptions are rare is a groundless prejudice. I know of no unsuccessful adoptions and I count probably 20 or so both domestic and international adoptions that I know intimately, ranging in age from people in their 50s to two years old. Provinces have made many changes to speed up domestic adoptions; any other “red tape” is the necessary and wise screening for prospective adoptive parents. As the parent of an amazing little girl of seven we adopted six years ago, I can say she is a successful adoption beyond the wildest dreams of any parent, adoptive or biological.

        • You need to go look at some facts… Google is only a couple of keystrokes away. I base my post on facts, so you seem to be the one with a prejudice.
          In the entire country of Canada, there are only 500-600 international adoptions per year. Add another 1500-2000 domestic adoptions depending on the year, most of which are older children in government care with special needs…. so you are looking at around 2000-2500 total adoptions at best. Contrary to your point… the number of adoptions in Canada has been reducing for the last 20 years, not increasing.
          The most recent Canadian statistics show that 15% of couples deal with infertility. That puts the number into the hundreds of thousands if not millions who need help to have children…. that means that there is only a FRACTION of 1% of those couples who would be able to successfully adopt, not great odds. Oh, and go look at the actual adoption agency websites, they are very open and clear that you are likely to wait around 8 years for a healthy younger child. I have no idea where you get your righteous indignation from, as it clearly has nothing to do with the real world. I am happy for you that you were able to adopt a child, but it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t common, cheap, or easy to do so.
          That is a long time if you are already looking at being older parents, especially since there is no guarantee of it actually working out even then. The bulk of the children in the care of the government are special needs, with fetal alcohol syndrome or other serious issues. Older parents with no other children are definitely not ideal to adopt a child in these circumstances who will need full-time care their entire lives… I know people who have adopted these special needs children and they all have other children who are willing to take on the responsibility after their parents pass on, rather than having the special needs adult left alone in the world.

  10. Just saw that there is a crowdfunding campaign for that documentary on infertility they talked about. Probably worth a buck or two donation if you are interested in the subject matter. You can see the video at http://www.indiegogo.com/infertileground

  11. It was interesting to read Dr Yuzpe’s remarks, as he was one of the doctors I worked with 4 and a half years ago, who assured me the success rate from frozen eggs (with the older method) was 30%; when in fact, it is only 2%. However, they had no problem taking my $8000 and leading me to believe I could sleep easy. Now, I’m almost completely out of eggs and out of options.

    Thank you for the article. I’m hoping that I can still try to freeze eggs through invitrification method… I will keep you posted.

  12. results from a spell like the ones that I have seen from yours. You truly are the one person that I can count on in my life to be a friend. Mentioning friend, let me tell everyone reading my testimonial.. olufalayespellhome@gmail.com is more than a friend, he is a person that takes personal care of your case. I have been to many different sites and I have been put off to counselors and several other different people have handled my case, to no avail. When I approached olufalayespellhome@gmail.com with my situation I was stunned at the personal service and attention to detail that he gave to my case. I will be back for more spells soon is what i told him……..Tochi

  13. I read the article and all the comments. The amount of judgement that exists regardless of view point it disheartening. I had a child at 23 and was married to the same man for 17 years. He had children from a previous marriage that we have been active in co-parenting. As my ex had 3 children, we decided not to have anymore. I have a very successful career that I built while raising my now 15 year old. I am now almost 38, divorced for 2 years and thinking someday with the right man, I would love to have more children. I didn’t have a crystal ball to know that I would not be married to my ex always. Nor did I even realize that my decision to have only one child had very little to do with what I actually wanted but more with the commitment to my marriage and my partner at the time. Not everyone considering this option made a choice to work versus having kids, but why judge the ones who did? The one thing that we are all impacted by is how fast time passes us by and how often the true impact of our decisions is viewed more clearly with hindsight. Without addressing any specific comment directly, I will end with one last observation. There is a true beauty to be found in a maturing woman physically, spiritually and developmentally. Those who see this beauty will be rewarded by the gifts it brings. Luckily for us, the beauty of aging is not exclusive to women. We can all be a fine wine if we take care of all aspects of our wellness. Kindness and empathy to others who find themselves wanting to love a child but are running low on precious time is an easy thing to give back to the world.

  14. I agree with one commentor that plainly states that culture has alienated women from their fertility and potential off-spring. It is considered taboo for women to have children at fourteen even though a woman’s fertility peaks at 18 years of age, and starts to decline after 24. We also live in an economy where there needs to be two incomes to live moderately okay in a city. That means women need to be educated and get a career type job.
    But all this and that aside, let’s cut to the chase–women are fertile for too short a period of time (truly fertile–14% of their entire life span). Just like there is tremendous research on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and AIDs etc. with scientific significant breakthroughs, science needs to focus on getting rid of menopause. It’s that simple.

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