Thursday, January 05, 2006

Not what infertility treatment is all about...

I read this article (Clinics prepare for 'lifestyle' fertility treatment) in The Guardian. It talks about offering egg freezing and sperm freezing for people who are delaying childbearing as a life choice -- they specifically mention women who will choose to conceive after the age of 50(!).

My first response was to write my mom who I can always count on to agree with me about such matters. I just sent the link and the phrase my oldest daughter coined when she was about 5 (though she used it about someone who'd double-parked badly) - "that is SO 'come on'".

My mom and I both had babies in our 20's and 30's. She gave birth to my oldest brother just before turning 22. I had my first baby (by IVF, after almost 4-1/2 years of marriage) at 24-1/2. My mom had her last baby at 32-1/2. She felt old. I felt old when I gave birth to my youngest daughter last year, at 35. The old I felt wasn't related to my body or the way I look at life. It was the thought that at my daughter's high school graduation I'd be 53. That by the time she has children I could easily be in my 60's. Hardly a young grandmother...

Obviously I believe in fertility treatments for people who are trying to conceive, but I think there's a point at which it's not in the best interest of the baby who is going to be born. Once you've got the eggs of a woman who's now in her 50's thawed, who's going to stop her from transferring 2 or 3 embryos. Imagine a woman at 54 with triplets... You might say, "COOL!" or that it's her choice, but think about the poor kids explaining to the kids in their nursery school that it isn't Grandma dropping them off, or in elementary school with a father who's starting to experience the signs of old age. By the time they graduate college, they might be looking into old age homes for their parents...

I'm 36 and my parents are still young. That's pretty cool. I hope they'll stick around to see my grandchildren and hopefully dance at their weddings. For now, they've got a great social life. They travel. They enjoy their 20 grandchildren (and are expecting another...) and I can call them up whenever I have questions or if I need to comment on the newscaster's bad haircut.

There are choices we need to make in life and if having a family is high on our list of priorities, we should get started before it's too late. I know it doesn't always work and that sometimes things take years, but to delay starting your family until you're over 50 really seems to be pushing it.

2 comments:

drsavta said...

As always, great writing, and of course, I agree with everything you've written. Children born to people in their 20s and 30s benefit from having a multigenerational support system that enriches them and enables them to feel safe and secure. If their parents are healthy and active, the young parents can focus on their children and are less likely to be caught in a conflict between caring for their aging parents and their infants at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective,and some valid arguments against pregnancy after 50. While I do agree that it is desirable to be young when your children are born, it's not absolutely necessary. My mother was over 40 when I was born and no one ever confused her for my grandmother. I'll have to admit that it was difficult dealing with her decline and eventual death when I was in my thirties, but that is the only disadvantage that I can honestly say that I experienced from having an "older mother". I'm 50 now and considering having my first child at this late time in my life. I'd like to say that I know I'd be around for graduations, marriage, and a first grandchild, but you can never really know what life has in store for you. Many young women die tragic, premature deaths, so life doesn't really offer any guarantees. I believe that if you have enough determination to make something work you can....and if you do not have that kind of determination, it is best not to pursue a late pregnancy.