I love spring, yet the time of year gets me anxious too. I feel the need to accomplish more. The sun shows the things around the house that need dealt with and I feel the year creeping onward and promises made to myself in the New Year not any closer. I can only imagine that this feeling must be exacerbated by those experiencing infertility.
Apart from the cliché scenes of ‘rebirth’ and all the baby creatures that are around this time of year, the spring time is when start to see more of the baby-centric trade fairs and so on. The warm weather also brings out all the moms and their strollers, so it is pretty hard to avoid the images and reminders of fertility and your lack thereof.
Life is very busy in the 21st Century, and I don’t think many of us think about our fertility until something goes wrong with it. I was doing the math and didn’t have my first child until I was 32. Caity was at 34, and I was pregnant with our third (died at 25 weeks) at 37 and then Tara at the ripe old age of 39. When it comes to babymaking, 35 is considered OLD. I even have seen the term ‘geriatric pregnancy’ bandied about. However, waiting till we are older and ‘ready’ is more the norm today than not, and therefore the risk of infertility and other problems grow as the years creep up.
I think too many of us take our fertility for granted until it is almost too late to do anything about it. According to Statistics Canada, the average age for women to have their first child has risen from 25-29 to 30-34 since 1991, and the birth rate for women in the 40-44 range has doubled between 1988 and 2008. According to the experts, our fertility starts to decline as early as age 28.
There are many other factors aside from your age that affect fertility. The list includes, smoking, poor health, being under or overweight, existing conditions and much more. Issues like Fibroids or Endometriosis are a large factor too. And we have yet to mention what effects MALE fertility. Many preexisting conditions and or treatments can effect a man’s sperm count and condition, including his own general health, smoking, and so on.
It is no wonder that the birth rate is dropping in Canada. In vitro fertilization is where many couples then turn to, only to find the cost far too prohibitive for them to proceed or move past more than one or two treatments.
Without public funding for in vitro fertilization, many more British Columbians will end up childless in the future. “If we believe in the importance of families for all British Columbians, not just those who are economically advantaged, we must publically fund IVF – so all British Columbians struggling with infertility have the opportunity to have children,” says Dr. Judith Daniluk, Professor of Counseling Psychology and creator of MyFertilityChoices.com. “This will make starting a family more accessible for British Columbians in all corners of the province and will ultimately pay health, social and fiscal dividends into the future. But we can’t stop there. Fertility education is also critical. Women and men need to have accurate information about the consequences of delayed childbearing and the limitations of assisted reproductive technologies, so that they can make more informed fertility and childbearing decisions.”
We need to teach young men and women to not take their fertility for granted and to absolutely NOT put it on the back burner when it comes to planning their future families. I have three wonderful children and even I regret waiting so long to have them. Funded in vitro fertilization will help so many couples take the word ‘regret’ out of their vocabulary.