Online Book Club Chapter Nine: Fertility Facts

November 18, 2009 | Annemarie

Carrie Lukas’s ninth chapter on fertility brings up the often neglected fact that age plays a significant role in a woman’s ability to bear children. As Lukas points out, the age factor is not meant to condemn or make women feel bad, instead it is a fact of life that female fertility dramatically decreases with age:

“Infertility affects more than six million Americans or about 10 percent of the reproductive-age population. While many factors affect an individual’s reproductive health, age plays a major role in woman’s ability to get pregnant.”

It was surprising to read how dramatically a woman’s fertility changes as she ages:

“A healthy thirty-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant in a given month. Ten years later, that forty-year-old has just a 5 percent chance.”

Women, today often don’t think about childbearing in terms of time they simply keep putting it off for the future. What we don’t realize; our indecision is in reality a decision:

” . . . they are making a choice when they put off children and that there may be unwelcome consequences. The very essence of making a choice is to understand fully the costs and benefits of each options. Without all of the relevant information, women may make decisions that don’t reflect their true preferences.”

The American Infertility Association completed a survey showing that women more often then not overestimate their years of childbearing:

“The American Infertility Association surveyed 12, 383 women and found that 88 percent overestimated by five to ten years the age at which fertility begins to diminish. Nearly half wrongly assumed that general health was an indicator of fertility.”

Carrie Lukas closes this significant chapter with the following:

“This is a tough issue that will require many women to engage in soul searching and make difficult decisions. But there’s no benefit to ignorance or to allowing ourselves to believe that we can put off childbearing without consequence. As in most areas of life, information is power, and it’s key to helping women to make decisions in their long-term interests.”

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