New face of infertility – women under the age of 35

USA Today writes that TTC may well be the new OMG for life as a young woman with motherhood on her mind.

TTC, in Internet-speak, means “trying to conceive.” Being labeled “infertile” or discovering a partner’s infertility is changing the life plans of many in their late 20s and early 30s.

“I wanted to have three children by now,” says Lindsay Coser, 28, of St. Peters, Mo. “It’s been very devastating because this is out of my control.”

She and her husband, Nicholas Coser, 27, stopped using birth control when they got engaged in February 2010. They were married seven months later and began trying to conceive. She saw a specialist a year ago and is now seeing another.

Coser’s generation is living a different experience of infertility than the stereotypical over-35 career woman who married late. More specialists are seeing younger women, impatient to start families; often they haven’t been trying a year before seeking treatment, considered standard practice under 35. They search the Internet for information, provide emotional support online and are outspoken about their disappointment as they put a new face on a topic once considered taboo.

“The older woman is sort of a myth, even though that’s the public perception. Infertility affects women and men at all ages,” says Barbara Collura, executive director of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, a non-profit advocacy group. It wants to alert women in their 20s to start thinking about having kids – often not on the minds of twentysomethings, who may still be in college or grad school, unemployed, not yet partnered or not emotionally ready to become parents.

Start planning in your 20s

“The best time to have a baby is up to age 32,” says reproductive endocrinologist Pasquale Patrizio, director of the Yale Fertility Center in New Haven, Conn. “After 32, fertility starts to decline and it becomes steeper very quickly up to age of 40, when it declines very rapidly.”

“The time to start planning your motherhood is … in your 20s,” says Brigitte Mueller, 43, of Los Angeles, who wrote, produced and directed a documentary airing on PBS in September called My Future Baby: Breakthroughs in Modern Fertility. It features the Fertility Clock, an age chart she co-developed with a fertility specialist to help women estimate their chances to conceive.

Mueller watched two of her sisters have trouble getting pregnant; she has frozen four eggs for possible future use.

Kids weren’t on Candice Nigro’s mind at 22, says Nigro, 29, of Middletown, N.J. “I just thought when I was ready, it would just happen. We figured we’d try a couple of months and we’d have a baby.”

Seeing couples earlier

Nigro says she and her husband, Michael Nigro, also 29, have been married almost four years. They started trying to conceive in 2009 and found that both had conditions impairing conception. Their second attempt at in vitro fertilization, or IVF, succeeded. Their triplet daughters, Michaela, Emma and Hailey, were born Feb. 1.

Erica and Jeff Bode, ages 30 and 31, of Grand Rapids, Mich., had their son Jack, 4, through artificial insemination, also called intrauterine insemination (IUI). Married almost nine years, they tried four IUIs and three IVF procedures since Jack’s birth. She miscarried once. “Our picture-perfect family was to have four kids by 30,” she says. “We thought we’d be done” by now.

The latest federal data from 2006-08 suggest that among childless married women ages 15-29, 15% report fertility problems; for ages 30-34, it’s 14%.

The chance of pregnancy for someone with no known fertility problems is about one in four or five each month, says Owen Davis, associate director of the IVF program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. There is a 50% chance of getting pregnant in three months; about 75% in six months; and 90% in a year.

“It used to be couples would come in after trying two to four years. I’m definitely seeing a majority of couples after only five months of trying, and both are fairly young,” says Marc Goldstein, director of that facility’s program for men and co-author of the 2010 book A Baby at Last!

Younger women want to act, not wait, says psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University, author of the new book The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant.

The infertility toll isn’t just medical and financial. It’s also emotional, experts say.

“Every month, it’s a roller coaster of emotions,” says Jennifer Hampshire, 30, of Keego Harbor, Mich., who has been diagnosed with endometriosis. She and her husband have had four failed IUIs.

“People say to me, ‘You’re still young,’ but I’m already past my point of being super fertile,” she says. “It’s a very insensitive thing to say to someone going through infertility, especially for us who are younger. I don’t feel like time is on my side.”

Via Digtriad

 

From donor to recipient – two amazing stories

The link between a donor and her recipient is a special and unique one. Here a donor and recipient share their stories. (identities have been kept anonymous).

The donor writes:

Hello special soul

Firstly I would like to wish you all the best. I know that between Wednesday and Friday you should be receiving the conceived embryo. I’m sure you are excited and at the same time also pretty nervous. You are in good hands and I believe you would get the same loving treatment from Nurture and the Doctors at the Clinic as I have.

Having been your donor was one of the most interesting experiences of my life. I have never felt so close and loving towards a complete stranger.  

My body has gone through a lot of change since I started going on the contraception and hormone injections. My emotions were up and down and it was fascinating to see how easy I could cry to things like a song on American Idols… completely hormonal!

On my first scan last week I was told that my ovaries where super eager and had produced over 12+ eggs in each ovary. I need to warn you that you have an over achiever baby coming your way by looking at my ovaries. For this reason my retrieval was also moved up by two days.  By Monday I felt extremely bloated and even had to decline my daily run because it was so uncomfortable. I spent most of my morning talking to my eggs and making sure that they understand what was going to happen. I was very calm and believe that they were as ready as I was. Waking up after the procedure I was a bit confused and not sure where I was or what was going on. A rush of relief came over me and for no particular reason I cried. I wasn’t sad but more overwhelmed about what had happened and what was going to happen to you in the next couple of days. 

I believe you will be a wonderful mom and I pray blessings over your pregnancy. I send you my honest love, care, harmony and happiness.

xM 

 

The recipient writes:

Dear Donor

In the exciting process of selecting a donor I read a lot of profiles. I liked some, I refused others, and when I saw your photo I felt maternal, and a sense of love came over me. I felt in a strange way that you could be my baby because of our similarities – the shape of your lips and face, your eyes and even our haircuts! Kim suggested you, and I “knew” that you were my donor.

Some months ago I wrote to Kim telling her that I thought you were my destiny donor.

When I met Melany, she was so emotional. When I asked her if we look similar, she looked at her notebook and said: “ I can’t believe it, you could be sisters!” That was like music in my ears and in my soul.

I feel a great immense love towards you because I can’t believe that a stranger could give me the most important thing in my life. You are so generous, and you complete me.

I had a philosophy professor who said: “I think life is more than the fact to born and to die… at my old age I believe life is the great opportunity to give love.” That sentence is written in my mind and my heart, and since then, I try to give love to my family, my friends, my clients and everyone I meet.

You are the best example of giving, and I have no more words to tell you how grateful I am. I hope my son/daughter/sons/daughters will have your same generous heart.

 Thank you

M

Egg donation does not affect fertility, says Reuters Health

Donating eggs does not appear to hurt a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant in the years after the procedure, a small study from Belgium found.
Few other studies have looked at the effects of egg-harvesting procedures on the future reproductive health of women who donate eggs.

Some experts question whether hormonally stimulating the ovaries — which makes them produce extra eggs — and removing those eggs from a healthy, young woman could later increase her chance of infertility, but others contend there are no serious long-term risks.

“Egg donation has been offered to patients in Belgium since the 1980s. We were not surprised by the good reproductive outcomes in ex-egg donors,” Dr. Dominic Stoop, medical director at the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Brussels, Belgium and lead author of the study, wrote in an email to Reuters Health.

The researchers gave a telephone questionnaire to 194 women who had donated eggs at the Belgian center between 1999 and 2010. The surveys were conducted an average of four to five years after those procedures.

At the time of donation, women averaged 30 years old.

Sixty past egg donors reported trying to get pregnant since the procedure. Of those, 57 women conceived without help. The other three women required fertility treatment, though two of them sought treatment because of their partner’s infertility.

Sixteen percent of donors had changes in their menstrual cycle after donation. However, none of the women reporting these changes had fertility problems.

“Menstrual pattern could be disrupted temporarily by hormonal changes due to ovarian stimulation, much like how menstrual changes also appear after stopping an oral contraceptive,” said Stoop, whose study is published in Fertility and Sterility.

“In the short term, egg donation appears to have no effect on fertility,” said Dr. Orhan Bukulmez, an infertility specialist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas who wasn’t involved in the new research. But longer-term studies of egg donors are needed, he told Reuters Health.

Although some researchers argue that the extra hormones women are given before the procedure and possible trauma to the ovaries during it could lead to early menopause in egg donors, studies haven’t found reasons to be concerned so far.

Egg donation is a well-established form of fertility treatment. In the United States, roughly 12 percent of all treatment cycles in 2009 used donor eggs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Future research is needed to also consider possible fertility risks for women who have their eggs harvested and frozen for their own future personal use, according to Stoop.

Originally explored as a way for women undergoing cancer treatment to preserve their fertility, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine still considers that type of egg freezing experimental.

Bukulmez cautioned that the results of the current study cannot be generalized to include women seeking to freeze their own eggs.

Egg donors are a very select group of patients that are chosen for their healthy ovaries, according to Bukulmez. “They may not be representative of the fertile female population as a whole,” he said.

Via Reuters

A hi (and high) five to donation