Getting pregnant after 35? Not deciding early enough to want to have children could cause you to lose the power of choice. If you knew that in two years' time your chances of becoming a mother would be considerably reduced, would you change the way you are planning the course of your life?
"I am 40 years old and it would have changed my life if someone had told me about infertility 20 years ago. Planning your childbearing doesn't just mean deciding not to have children when you don't want them, it also means being able to have them when you do.Luciana Mantero, writer, journalist and mother after the age of 35.
So begins the TEDx Talk of the writer and journalist Luciana Mantero, who at the age of 33 found out that she had an early menopause . Due to her condition, she had to seek help to start a family through Assisted Reproduction treatments.
On the road to having her baby, she discovered the opportunity to help other couples going through the same situation.
"What if I told you that in two years you would lose the opportunity to have children? Would you change your life plans?" asks Luciana. "If all of you were of reproductive age, 2,000 of you would have trouble having a child in the future, without knowing it today."
The good news is that Luciana is merely highlighting a hypothetical situation. The bad news is that, because there is no precise date when the opportunity to become a parent is completely lost, many people do not realise this until it is too late.
A woman in her 30s has a 20% chance of becoming pregnant with each cycle of unprotected sex. At 40, this probability drops to 5%, with an increased risk of miscarriage and genetic alterations that could cause her baby to manifest conditions such as Down's Syndrome, compromising her quality of life.
In the modern era, men and women are increasingly having trouble getting pregnant and having a baby. Difficulty in having children is a silent epidemic for which almost no one is prepared.
According to data from Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Latin America presents an accelerated fertility decline and fertility problems associated with delayed childbearing, which contrast with high rates of teenage pregnancy.
This is a global issue that has been widely studied in recent years, largely due to the ageing of the world's population. The biological clock is on one side and cultural trends on the other.
"When I was 29, the idea of having a child came into my head," explains Luciana. "I wasn't entirely sure it was the right time, but we started trying anyway. It didn't take long for me to get pregnant. Three years after my first child, Lucas, was born, and having experienced the wonders of motherhood, we decided to try for a second child. I was 33 when I was diagnosed with early menopause".
For Luciana, the diagnosis of early menopause was unexpected. According to her testimony, she was told by seven different doctors that it was impossible to get pregnant with her own eggs . Her options were adoption or egg donation. According to these doctors, her ovarian reserve was simply "too old".
"For two years, my routine consisted of having a blood test every day, plus dozens of transvaginal ultrasounds to monitor my ovulation. I went to a clinic for a hysterosalpingogram.Luciana Mantero, writer, journalist and mother after the age of 35.
After all the physical wear and tear, Luciana sought spiritual relief and took a breather before continuing on her way.
"I come from an atheist family, but even so, I went to the Virgen del Cerro to pray for another son," she continues. "After a period of great mourning, I accepted that there was another way to a happy ending with the right tools and support. We took the path of ovodonation".
Luciana wrote a book detailing her story and that of nine other women. Along her journey, she met hundreds of people from her native Argentina, men and women who were going through the same things she was. Luciana says the stories keep coming back to her, just as her second son, Joaquin, came back to her.
"Do you know how you were conceived? Do you know if your parents had fertility problems or underwent treatment?
Thanks to scientific advances, there are now a wide variety of alternatives for having a successful pregnancy after the age of 35 and ending with a baby at home.
If you are planning a pregnancy there is even the possibility of freezing your eggs. Ideally, this should be done before the age of 30. After 30, the quality and quantity of eggs gradually decreases as time goes by.
Many of us would like to believe that we live outside statistics, but of course, statistics are there for a reason:
In Mexico, 1 in 6 people experience infertility problems. "We all feel we are outside the statistics, but the reality is that we all fit into them," concludes Luciana. "I don't want it to be too late for you. Don't let your dream go unfulfilled because you didn't decide in time".
"My experience with Ingenes was very calming all because of the staff, they were welcoming and made you feel at ease with everything."
Ingenes McAllen, TX.