By Jennifer Bright Reich
I waited to start our family until I left my military career as a Lieutenant in the Army. The choice to postpone motherhood also was echoed in some other women I knew who waited until their mid-30’s and early forties to venture in to parenthood. Our goals started the same- to become a mother. But, for some - it was not to happen easily. For some this journey would have heartbreak due to infertility.
Why does infertility happen to some women?
Why does infertility happen? Perhaps it is because time is ticking away much faster than our own biological clocks can keep up! Fertility can begin to decline as early when a woman is in her late 20s. A healthy 30-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance per month to get pregnant. A healthy 40-year-old woman, on the other hand, has only a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant per month according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
So it’s not surprising that Mother Nature needs some help now and then. More than 6.7 million women (almost 11 percent of US women), ages15 to 44, have impaired fertility or ability to carry a baby to term, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 7.4 million women in the United States have used infertility services, according to the CDC.
I searched for more information to understand about the facts and myths surrounding infertility and options individuals and couples could have. I was happy to be directed to the HRC Fertility Center of Pasadena website which offered a lot of information on different treatments and also resources. I learned that this center excelled with their success rate including for those “over 35” . Dr. Bradford A. Kolb, MD, FACOG; Dr. Jeffrey R. Nelson, DO, FACOOG; and Dr. John Wilcox, MD, FACOG, have been noted as caring, compassionated, seasoned experts in reproductive medicine.
How can someone help a friend who struggles with infertility?
Although I didn’t experience infertility, I wanted to know how I could help another person who was struggling with fertility issues. What was the best way to be a friend during these difficult circumstances? How can I help any readers to our Mommy MD Guide website?
I learned from reading and speaking to others that one needs to acknowledge their friends’ emotionality and challenges with infertility vs. trying to “brush it under the carpet”. Helping others by providing opportunities to “vent” - without judgment - seemed to be a theme reflected throughout my research.
Share what you have learned
My hope is that women who are in their mid- 30’s and forties who are struggling with becoming a parent will find the expertise, answers, and comfort they are seeking. There are many excellent resources for those who wish to pursue fertility treatments and for people who want to learn more to help a friend through the challenges of becoming a parent.
About the author: Jennifer Bright Reich is coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, cofounder of MommyMDGuides.com, and a mom of two sons, in Allentown, PA. She was compensated for this blog, but feels so passionately about the topic she would have written about it for free.