Pregnancy after 35, challenges every woman should know beforehand.
After 35, you can absolutely still get pregnant and have children. Age is no longer a barrier to your dream if you work with an assisted reproduction specialist.
Not deciding in time to have children can mean losing the power to choose. If you knew that in two years, your probability of becoming a parent would drop significantly — would you change how you plan out the course of your life?
"I’m 40 years old and it would have changed my life if 20 years ago, someone had talked to me about [infertility]. Planning is not only deciding not to have children when you don't want to, but also being able to have them when you do want to."
So begins the TEDx talk given by writer and journalist Luciana Mantero, who at the age of 33 learned that she had early menopause. Owing to her condition, she had to seek help in starting a family through assisted reproduction treatments.
Along the road to having her baby, she uncovered an opportunity to help other couples going through the same thing.
Time is the worst enemy of fertility.
"What would happen if I told you that in two years, you would lose the opportunity to have children? Would you change your life plans?" Luciana questions. "If all of you were of reproductive age, 2,000 would have problems having a child in the future without knowing it today."
The good news is, Luciana is simply highlighting a hypothetical situation. The bad news is, since there’s no precise date when the opportunity to become a parent is lost, many people don’t realize it until it’s too late.
A woman at the age of 30 has a 20% chance of becoming pregnant with each cycle. By 40, this probability drops to 5%, with an increased risk of miscarriage and genetic alterations such as Down Syndrome.
Pregnancy at 40: the biological clock vs. current cultural trends
In the modern age, men and women are increasingly having trouble getting pregnant. Difficulty with having children is a silent epidemic for which almost no one is prepared.
Latin America is experiencing fertility decline
According to data from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Latin America shows accelerated fertility decline and fertility problems associated with delayed childbearing, contrasted with high rates of teenage pregnancy.
This is a widely studied global issue in recent years, largely due to an aging world population. The biological clock goes one way and cultural trends go another.
Serves you far more of the unpredictable than you ever expect
"When I was 29 years old, the idea of having a child came to my mind,” Luciana explains. “I wasn't completely sure if it was the right time, but we began trying anyway. It didn't take me long to get pregnant. Three years after my first son Lucas was born, after having experienced the wonders of motherhood, we decided to try for a second child. I was 33 when I was diagnosed with early menopause."
Getting pregnant at 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47....
For Luciana, the diagnosis of early menopause was unexpected. According to her testimony, seven different doctors told her it was impossible to get pregnant with her own eggs. Her options were adoption or egg donation. Her ovarian reserve was simply too old.
"For two years, my routine was having a blood test every day, along with dozens of transvaginal ultrasounds to monitor my ovulation. I went to a clinic to have a hysterosalpingogram."
After all the physical wear and tear, Luciana sought spiritual relief and took a breather before continuing on her path.
"I come from an atheist family, but even so, I went to the Virgen del Cerro to pray for another child," she continues. "After a period of great mourning, I accepted that there was another road to a happy ending with the right tools and support. We took the path of ovodonation."
Pregnancy after the age of 35: experience and opportunity
Luciana wrote a book detailing her story and those of nine other women. Through the course of her journey, she met hundreds of men and women across Argentina who were going through the same thing. Luciana shares that the stories keep coming to her, just as her second son, Joaquin, came to her.
"Do you know how you were conceived? Do you know if your parents had fertility problems or if they had any treatments?"
The opportunities presented by science and Assisted Reproduction
Thanks to scientific advancements, there is now a wide variety of opportunities to have a baby. If you are planning a pregnancy after the age of 35, one possibility is to freeze your eggs.
This should ideally be done before the age of 30. After 30, the quality and quantity of eggs decreases over time.
We all want to believe that we exist outside the statistics — but of course, the statistics are there for a reason.
In Mexico, one in six couples experiences infertility problems. "We all feel like we’re outside the statistics, but the reality is, we all fit into the statistics," 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."
You can choose; through action or hesitation. Make an informed decision based on all the facts. Delaying is also a choice, and all choices carry consequences.
Indecision is a decision. Not choosing in time to have children may be forfeiting the possibility of choice.
Don't wait until it’s too late!
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Dr. Contreras is a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Her specialty training was completed at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Her years of experience and exemplary bedside manner are the reasons she is leading the team of professionals at our San […]
She received her PA degree from Des Moines University. Following graduation Daley completed a one year intensive Obstetrics and Gynecology fellowship at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, CA. During that year she learned all aspects of caring for a women throughout their healthcare journey’s. She’s been working in women’s health for 10 years and […]
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