Thursday, August 07, 2014

Fit at 40 but not fertile


It’s true that 40 is the new 30, and that Indian women are now aging much better . They are spending much more time and energy in the gym, and are more careful about their lifestyle and diet. While the younger generation is in much better shape than their parents ( because they work out and count their calories), however there is one area which they cannot influence – and this is their ovarian reserve.

The fact is that no matter how fit you are , you cannot reverse your ovarian biological  clock and the age-associated decline in your fertility. Looks can be deceptive, and  even if your skin is better than that of a 25 year old, your ovaries can be quite unforgiving.

It’s  a fact of life that every woman is born with whatever eggs she is ever going to have. Once she is born, she cannot produce any new eggs, and this is the reason her ovarian reserve keeps on getting progressively depleted, until she reaches the menopause. It doesn’t matter is she eats only organic or swims 100 laps per day.

Sadly, women still do not realize this. They feel that if they are fit at forty, they will be fertile as well. They  get lulled into a false sense of security for multiple reasons . One is that because they have regular cycles, they conclude that their ovaries are obviously working properly. They pride themselves on the fact that they have clockwork regular cycles, and fail to understand that just because the egg quality is enough to produce enough hormones to create a regular cycle, this does not mean that the quality is good enough to make a baby.

They erroneously conclude that the fact that my cycles are regular obviously means my reproductive system is working fine , which means I’ll be able to have a baby whenever I want to . The media also contributes to this misleading belief, because they highlight all the stories of all the 40-plus celebs who have had babies ( without mentioning that they had their babies using donor eggs !)

As a result of this, a lot of women today are postponing childbearing , until they find Mr. Right and are ready to settle down and start a family , without realizing that as their eggs get depleted, their chances of being able to have a baby drop dramatically.

Fortunately, technology today does provide a solution to pause the biological clock , but many Indian women are still not aware of the fact that egg vitrification is now easily available in India. It is expensive, but can be a very worthwhile investment for women who want to defer childbearing. Not only does it improve the chances of getting pregnant, it also reduces the chances of their having a baby with a birth defect . Remember that the commonest reason for Down syndrome in older women is the fact that their eggs have aged, and therefore are at higher risk of having genetic abnormalities.

In a good IVF clinic, egg vitrification process has an extremely high success , with a 100% survival of eggs when they are thawed.

I feel it’s best to keep as many options open as possible, and the more the options you have in life , the easier it is to make the right decisions . On the other hand, if you choose not to freeze your eggs, you are reducing your flexibility, and may then be forced to make suboptimal choices , because you don't have any better alternatives.

Thus, if a women has frozen her eggs, she can afford to be picky and choosy about whom she marries. She does not  have to settle for the first guy who proposes, simply because she is 37, and is worried that if she doesn't get married now, she will never be able to have a baby. The biological craving to have a child can be surprisingly forceful as women get older , and for women who have frozen their eggs as an insurance policy, this is a very useful backup plan to have.

For women who want to be in charge of their life , frozen eggs give them far more options than they would otherwise have had. Many women start panicking at the age of 37, and compromise on their choice of husband, because they feel they don’t have any other option left, and they need to make the best of a bad deal. They are often not happy with their husband, and many of these marriages do not work out well, which is very unfair on the poor child.

Some women have the guts to say that if all I want is a baby, then I don't really need a husband , and they are exploring single-parenting options such as donor insemination. However, such women are still few and far between , and society still expects women to get married before they have babies . Using egg freezing allows women to extend their biological clock, and buys them more time in order to be able to find the right life partner. This way, they don’t have to worry about their biological clock when making such key decisions , because no matter what their calendar age maybe , because they have frozen their eggs , these eggs will remain young forever !

If you are 30, having a baby may not be a high priority for you right now, but you should at least consider freezing your eggs ( especially if your AMH level is low). Remember that you will  regret the things you didn't do ! “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.” ― John Greenleaf Whittie

Need more information ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/malpaniform.htm so that I can guide you better !



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