The Only Fertility Pep Talk You Need to Hear Today
By Nicole Charky
OK. So, I’m going to give you a pep talk.
You’re going to hold my hand. We’ll get through this fertility chat together.
There’s this myth that your eggs are effectively dead by time you hit 30—and in an even worse situation by 35.
Unfortunately, our society has been oversold on this pregnancy age idea. There’s massive anxiety around what age women should conceive.
Statistics and science can tell us more than myths, though. So let’s dig into the facts. Because, ultimately, it’s your body and your choice. No matter what, you should talk to your trusted doctor. This is sensitive stuff, so you need someone you can go to for real information about your body.
And if your doctor sucks, then you should break up. Immediately. Because people who don’t take our bodies or health seriously don’t deserve to be around, or attempting to care for our bodies.
LET’S HEAR IT FOR YOUR FERTILITY
First, Janet Jackson had a baby at 50. Don’t you ever forget that.
It’s 2018, baby. Women are waiting to have children. They want to have lives and careers (duh). And the average age of first-time moms is rising. In the 1970s, the average age for a first-time mom was 21, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. By 2000, it rose to 24.9. In 2014, it was 26.3.
There’s some good news, too. There’s a rapid decrease in teen pregnancies. And it’s not just because of shows like Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant. It’s because contraception is used more by teens today than in the past.
In the early 2000s, there was a series of articles and bizarre advertising campaigns that misdirected people (and generally panicked women) to believe you can "age out" of giving birth. That’s not true. Total bullshit, in fact. But those messages gave life to the myth that you can be too old to conceive. In reality, it actually depends on a lot of factors going on in your body. Plus, recent advancements in prenatal care disprove the notion that you can be too old to have a child.
Women can face increased risk as they approach 40 when it comes to pregnancy. However, it is best to discuss your potential pregnancy plan with your doctor and ask the questions you want answered. There are also ways to plan ahead, in addition to modern advancements that many women may consider when they talk about taking action on their fertility or making plans for their futures.
SHOULD YOU FREEZE YOUR MOTHERF**KING EGGS?
Egg freezing is a hot topic. It’s like the turmeric of our time. I hear about it a lot, and I think about it a lot. I’m probably not alone. I’ve heard of people even offering the service as birthday gifts to women when they turn 30. Some companies go so far as to provide in vitro fertilization to their employees.
Women between 30 and 34 were found to be at prime egg freezing age, according to a UNC School of Medicine study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
The age group that most benefited from egg freezing was 37, and then ages 38 and 39. An individual over 40 may have a lower chance of getting pregnant. That said, this depends on the person and their body.
IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO
Let’s not forget that if you're planning to conceive, then it also might have to do with your male partner/donor and his age. No double standards here. It’s not just up to your eggs. There’s a sperm cell involved, too.
Sperm count among men has been decreasing over the last 75 years. The lack of fertile sperm and lack of sperm is the general issue; however, men can also address their health by eating well and exercising often.
Foods or drinks that were stored or heated in plastics can also be problematic, and it’s also important for men to avoid thermal printers, which are usually at ATMs and check-out lines. To fully combat the problem, stricter regulations on endocrine disrupting chemicals will ultimately need to happen. That means that the kind of chemicals that appear in personal care and home cleaning products, canned foods, and even our drinking water need stricter regulations.
That’s how swimmers can grow, or make it to hang out with eggs. And here at DTGS we recognize that you need both sperm and egg to make a baby. There is something you don’t need, though. You don’t need to be pressured about whether you should get pregnant or not. You really just need information and the courage and support to make your own choice.
Nicole Charky is a 30-year-old journalist and producer living and working in Los Angeles. She is a contributor to Do The Good Stuff. She writes, creates and manages video content and social media for author and journalist Maria Shriver. Nicole also produces and directs shows and music videos, including Snapchat’s “Phone Swap” and Grammy award-winning artist Bekon’s “Cold As Ice.” Her work has been featured in Snapchat Discover channel Brother, ATTN:, The Los Angeles Times, AOL and Glamour. Her health quest is new, and she's only getting started.