Being quite the seasoned “tryer” when it comes to pregnancy, I have an extremely good radar for picking up useful articles concerning fertility. A recent one caught my eye for its fertility tips, and another that had an interesting statistic on fertility and age included. Both were in The Telegraph (one of the only papers that doesn’t constantly irritate me, though I do make content for them so I suppose I may be slightly biased!) and the “tips” article had such a calm, balanced outlook that I felt like kissing the computer screen. Because if there’s one thing I can’t stand when it comes to media coverage on fertility and “infertility”, it’s sensationalism and scaremongering. Women who are trying to conceive, or who feel as though they are getting older with no hope of ever starting a family, or indeed who hadn’t even thought about babies, do not need to be bombarded with “facts” about their bodies and the mysterious world of fertility, especially when those facts seem to change on a daily basis. My advice, after many years of trying to conceive, would be (in general) to kind of stick your fingers in your ears and shout “LALALALALA” thus blocking out all of the unhelpful media “noise” around the subject. This includes advice from friends and family who have loads of fertility “tips” (cycle your legs in the air afterwards, it worked for me!) but managed to pop out three babies in as many years and have had no trouble whatsoever conceiving. They mean well, absolutely, but sometimes they do not understand.
Anyway, take your fingers out of your ears for the following articles because I found them jolly interesting. Firstly a little roundup of fertility tips that won’t cost you anything to try – and that also talks about stress and fertility. I am a great believer in the whole stress/infertility link. Consultants in the medical world laughed at me when I suggested that my stress levels could be affecting my fertility (“how do people get pregnant in wartime, then?” being a popular thing to fire back at me, which is the stupidest retort in the world, because of course some people in wartime will get pregnant, and so will drug addicts and people who are starving to death, but that doesn’t make those ideal conditions for conceiving!) but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I fell pregnant when I was the least stressed I had been for years. Here’s the piece:
Next article: a little something on age and fertility, or age and having babies. I have more friends who had babies in their early forties than before their forties (in fact I know over ten women who were over forty, and only three who were under thirty, one who was in her late thirties and one who has recently had a baby boy at thirty-six) and so I am naturally slightly sceptical about the whole “fertility falling off a cliff” thing. I mean, that’s just my own little group of people I know, so my stats mean virtually nothing to other people, I suppose, but anyway – it was the following part of the article that jumped out at me:
“research carried out in 2004 found the difference in fertility between a 28 and a 37-year-old was only four percentage points.”
Four percentage points! Interesting. I must track down that research. I have no doubt that the earlier you start trying, the better things are (you have more time, for a start, and are less likely to fly into a panic and try all sorts of things willy-nilly in a madcap attempt to “beat the clock”) but I hate the constant snidey suggestion that women are “leaving it too long”. As though they are mostly doing it on purpose, to be selfish and follow all of their other dreams first. I don’t know a single woman who has put off children for selfish reasons – most simply hadn’t met anyone. Or had met someone and were desperately wondering why their bodies weren’t spawning in the allotted, magical time of “two years”. (That’s a whole other post – two years of unsuccessful trying and you’re branded infertile. Who decided on that figure? Just because the majority will get pregnant in that time, does it make you somehow faulty if it takes three, four, five, eight years? Obviously many people do have a medical glitch that causes a delay, or problems, but could it be possible that (like giving birth itself!) the body does some things on its own time? At its own speed? Just a thought.) Anyway, the majority of the following article is on a completely different issue (the comments section makes for eyebrow-raising reading!) but I found it interesting all the same..