On my twenty-fifth birthday, I woke up and started to cry. By 25, I was supposed to be married or at least engaged like many of my friends from my small town. Sure I had a boyfriend at the time but I didn’t know if he was going to be the “one.” I had put so much pressure on myself to follow a specific timeline in order to have kids.
The whole day made me sad and even though my boyfriend, friends, and family made me feel really special, I just couldn’t get over the fact that I hadn’t achieved true “success.”
This week I watched an episode of “The Hills: New Beginnings” (yes it is a ridiculous reality show but stay with me for a second). One of the main characters (Kaitlyn) was with her husband at the time (Brody) and they were seeing a fertility doctor. As an avid watcher of reality programs (it is my escape), I’ve noticed that this is becoming a regular plotline in each series. The woman (or couple) goes to the doctor to find out about their chances of getting pregnant.
From there, I decided to record the clip and pose a question to my Instagram community about whether or not people found fertility testing anxiety-ridden or if they found it helpful in knowing all of the facts.
When I posed the question on Instagram, I couldn’t get over the number of responses I received. In fact, I had no idea what this blog entry was going to be about but thanks to the number of people that reached out, I knew this topic was something that should be discussed.
So when is the right age to have a baby? Should you know whether or not you have any fertility issues before thinking about having kids?
Some of the messages made me really sad as they reminded me so much of my 25-year-old self trying to hit those milestones and have a baby. Women were asking me for guidance and all I wanted to say was “don’t be like me. You have time.” Many women asked questions about freezing eggs as well as the cost of fertility testing in Canada.
From what I understand the cost of freezing your eggs is a minimum of $16,000. As for testing for fertility, a kind woman reached out about her sister’s struggle. Her sister wanted to find out about her fertility and they would not test her in Ontario. She was even willing to pay fees and they still wouldn’t test her.
So what does it take for a woman or man to be tested for fertility issues?
From what I understand, the testing is free to men/women who are at a fertility clinic. In order to be a patient at a fertility clinic, you have to have either tried for one year to have a baby (have also heard it is 6 months if the couple is older in age) or if you are a single woman wanting to do IUI (sperm inside the uterus) or IVF (egg combined with sperm). I guess the costs associated with IUI and IVF are so high that they like to determine that your body can “medically” get pregnant before the procedure(s).
The final results from my poll on Instagram were that 62% found fertility testing too stressful while 38% found that knowing about their fertility reduced stress.
One woman reached out to me and explained that without early fertility testing she would not have known she had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome – not producing enough eggs). Knowing this information helped her decide to start trying to conceive at a younger age than she had planned.
I also have a close friend who loves statistics. In fact, during her entire pregnancy, she would list off the statistics of things not going to plan. She said that this information helped her because it allowed her to be prepared for the worst. She said that all of this knowledge gave her power.
Some women wrote to me about waiting to have children and never getting testing for fertility. Instead, they decided to avoid being pressured by fertility stats and tried to get pregnant when they felt “ready.”
“I had my first at 39 and now have a crazy three-year-old toddler. 40 is not 25 but you really enjoy the calm that comes with being a mature Mom. I hardly stress about anything, I have my career, my house, my business. I don’t project anything on her. I just love her and want her to be herself and to be happy.”
Overall, I found these conversations over Instagram so interesting. Each woman had a reason for wanting to know/not wanting to know her results when it came to fertility.
As much as we wish we could have control over everything related to fertility, sometimes I think we have no control at all. If it makes a woman/man feel better about finding out their status when it comes to fertility – so be it. Information can help in making important decisions.
However for me, and the other 62% of voters on my random poll, fertility can seem like a game of chance. Even with all of the medical tests and results, things don’t always make sense. I have friends who tried to get pregnant in their 20’s and are still trying, I have friends that had sex once in their 40’s and found themselves pregnant. I even have friends who were told they could never have children and they have the most wonderful kids.
Now, if I could speak to that 25-year-old Sarah, I would acknowledge her fear with regards to her timeline. I would have told her that a birthday is never about reaching timelines or a day to evaluate how much one has not “achieved in life.” Instead, I would have just reached out a crystal ball and showed that naive and dependent Sarah, that things in life would turn out even better than she could have ever imagined.