Recently a mother who has undergone IVF posted a picture of her beautiful baby girl lying asleep in the middle of hundred of syringes. Why? To illustrate the physical and emotional turmoil experienced by people who go through IVF. The child’s mother finally succeeded in becoming pregnant after more than a year-and-a-half of cycles.
It was shared more than 3,000 times as parents around the globe have opened up about their stories of trying to conceive a baby biologically related to them.
The baby’s mother told couples trying to conceive to “hang in there”.
“The needles were the easy part. It was the emotional struggle, the ups and downs, that really took a toll, I waited a long time for a husband to come. And then by that time it was difficult to get pregnant.”
Uh oh! I want a big family but it appears it could be too late for me. According to experts, women who want to have a big family should start trying for a baby by the age of 23. At 23 I was in no position to have a baby. I hadn’t established a career and was living at home without financial independence. Plus my now husband, then boyfriend would have run a mile!
The advice comes from scientists who crunched together fertility data on more than 58,000 women to create an at-a-glance calculator. It tells a woman the best age to start a family. It has even been suggested that the table be shown to sixth formers and university students to underline the risks of delaying motherhood. The advice comes as growing numbers of British women delay motherhood until they establish their career, become financially stable or find ‘Mr Right’. Around half of all babies are now born to women aged 30 and older, and the number of children born to women aged 40-plus has trebled in the last 20 years
To use the fertility calculator, a woman decides how many children she wants and whether she is going to try to conceive naturally or with IVF. A woman who wants two children should start by 27, to have the best chance of success, while 32 is advised for those who would be happy with just one baby.
Importantly, IVF offers little guarantee. It shows that IVF generally only gives a woman an extra year or two.
However the study, which promotes early motherhood, acknowledges that women who have children in their 20s are more likely to achieve their desired family size but can also expect lower lifetime earnings than women who start later. Therefore it suggests that society must ensure women aren’t disadvantaged at work and sort the lack of childcare facilities so young people to establish their careers and families at the same time.
The debate surrounding the fertility of older mothers has raged on in recent weeks. Enough now, we get it! Yes, delaying motherhood can be catastrophic as fertility plummets after 39. However as Robert Winston, the IVF pioneer and broadcaster, pointed out at The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual conference in Lisbon, there are also benefits of delaying having a baby. Lord Winston said older mothers, who have had time to gain skills and education, as well as build strong relationships, can provide children with a more stable upbringing. So concerned are we to point out the negatives that we fail to notice that there are also positives to being a more mature mother. Women of 40 and upwards have a plethora of reasons for delaying motherhood. Whether it is due to demanding careers, further education, financial circumstances or relationship stability, some women have been in the position to have children earlier. Berating them is not constructive. The press has ensured women are aware of the facts so instead of fear-mongering maybe it is now time to support and learn from women who have left motherhood till later in life.
Shit. In two days I turn 30. How did this happen? I thought I was Peter Pan, I’m not supposed to grow up. I feel about 16. I happen to look about 16 too. Aged 28, the staff on easyjet asked me to move from the emergency exit seats as they are only suitable for those over 16.
In my mind ones twenties represent being young and carefree, with life being full of endless possibilities. In contrast, ones thirties are synonymous with mortgages, eye-creams and radio 4. I think it dawned on me that I was approaching 30 when I actually began to like Radio 4 more than Radio 1, and some of the clothing in Topshop suddenly seemed a bit young for me.
I expected to have a baby by 30. Being 29 has been exceptionally crap, so despite my reservations being 30 can only be an improvement. Plus I have a delightful weekend planned with my friends and family to mark the occasion.