On Tuesday night, the BBC presenter Alex Jones’ documentary My Fertility And Me aired, in which, Alex, who at the time of filming was aged 38 and newly married, decided to take the plunge and find out how fertile she is, as well as explore the cutting edge technologies that are helping people have children.
I was one of a few experts she talked to, and in the programme, you can see me explaining to her how everyone has their weak areas, physically and mentally, which can affect their fertility and how we take a holistic approach, encompassing mind and body, with our clients to find out what might be causing them any difficulties with their fertility and helping them conceive.
As Alex said in the programme: ‘Today we make a lot of choices, choices about our career, our partner and when we feel ready to have a baby and that often means starting to have a family later in life.’
She added: ‘For some reason i thought I was invincible, I didn’t think there was cut off point for me.’
It was lovely meeting Alex, but she is not alone. I see women like Alex every single day.
Today many women wait to have their perfect career, partner and it doesn’t always follow in the order that you expect it to. The biggest issues for most women are age, compounded by very normal delays to fertility.
On average it can take 8-12 months to conceive, so a lot of my time is spent managing the expectations of a woman on how long it might take, because many expect it to happen sooner.
This is something I discussed in this episode of the Fertility Show on Baby Readiness.
Also, if it takes 8-12 months to conceive, a miscarriage is really common when you first get pregnant, which means you have to pick yourself up and try again. And then if you do get pregnant, you might want to have another baby after you’ve recovered.
Quite often, women will come and see me at the age of 35 and say that they’re going to wait a year or two before they start trying. I always encourage them to start as soon as they can, because you can see at 35 how you can get to 37 or 38 before you’ve even had a baby.
So instead it’s about making a rational decision about how many children you want, but also understanding the delays and the pitfalls that can happen along the way.
Everybody is different and everybody’s circumstances are different, and some of the women I see in the clinic do unfortunately end up regretting the path that they took. Happily, Alex Jones got pregnant quickly and her story has a happy ending.
But she was right to start to be concerned and want to know more about her fertility given her age.
We do have a lot of choices in our lives. It’s natural to filled pulled in all directions by so many different and wonderful other things you could be doing but noone’s fertility is invincible.
The way I’ve come to see it is that it’s not about being 100% ready to have a baby, it’s about looking back and having no regrets.