You are here
Hurry, Ladies, Hurry.
a blog by Amy Klein, February 19, 2014
As I mentioned earlier this week, our fertility journeys are often the same. And the sad truth about it is, like with so many things, it takes a long time to learn the ropes – but by the time you do, it’s often too late.
A woman I don’t know who reads my twitter account reached out to me recently to ask advice about fertility treatment. She had just turned 40 and was thinking about doing one round of IVF with her partner – that’s all they could afford. There were all these other complications to her story – they’d recently moved countries, didn’t know which doctor to visit, had some other fertility issues, etc. etc. But I didn’t need to know all the details of her FSH, AMH, or prior attempts, to give advice: “Hurry Up.”
I should know. After my second miscarriage, we finally met with a fertility specialist (it took six weeks to get an appointment!!) and he wanted me to move to IVF right away since I was 41.
“Your fertility declines every 3-6 months,” the doctor warned me. But I didn’t listen – I’d just gotten pregnant twice on my own without even trying. (I needed him to solve my miscarriage issues, not my getting pregnant issues.) So we did four months of IUI’s (or what I like to call “the turkey baster procedure,” where they insert your partner’s concentrated sperm at the exact right time). But I did the IUIs without medication, because I wanted to be all natural. I think it took six months for me to start IVF, and by that time I was 42.
Now, I’m hardly saying every older woman should immediately start IVF. If you’re between 35-39, you should try however you’re going to try – whether it’s timed sex, IUIs, a fertility cleanse diet – but you should try it sooner rather than later. Actually, what I mean is try it now.
I know, I know, there’s so much information out there: how do you find a doctor? Which treatment should you try? What’s wrong with you? You could spend months researching all of this. But you shouldn’t. Especially if you’re near the 40-year-mark. I know that there are plenty of women who conceive naturally over 40. But what if you’re not one of them?
Some studies show that between ages 40-45, the likelihood of getting pregnant declines from 36% to 5%, and the chances of infertility rises from 32% to 69%. That’s like your fertility on fast forward.
Of course I didn’t study those statistics when I started all this. If I had, I might have skipped the six months of IUIs and fast tracked myself to IVF. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. And youth is wasted on the young.
So I counseled this woman, this stranger, who asked me for my advice. I told her which doctors to call, where she could get cheaper meds, and questions to ask.
“When does your next cycle begin?” I asked her. She said in three weeks. I told her to start whatever she was starting by then. Time, after all, is of the essence.