As women are told to have a baby by the age of 30, Imogen Edwards-Jones explains why age shouldn't matter and why IVF is certainly not a choice
There’s been quite a lot of bossy press in the last 24 hours shouting, a little too shrilly, about how women should have babies earlier . Us career-crazed cows should apparently step away from the glass ceiling, cease that ineffective tapping, and concentrate on procreating. We should forget having it all, forget the boardroom and go back to the birthing suite instead.
Time is apparently not on our side. After the age of 30 our fertility careers off the cliff and we should know that, be taught that in school, and get on with banging out those babies, otherwise we are all on the ‘slippery fertility slope’ to nowhere.
Now, I am sure that Dr Geeta Nargund, consultant gynaecologist at St George’s Hospital in London, is a well-intentioned soul and she is for the sisterhood and all that, and doesn’t want to come across as a finger-wagging bore. The thing is, though, life doesn’t really pan out like that.
Speaking as someone who has spent quite a lot of time with her legs akimbo undergoing multiple rounds of IVF as well as: 10 months on Clomid (a fertility drug), two rounds of artificial insemination, one hysterosalpingogram (dye up the tubes), one IVIG (a total change of white blood cells), two years on steroids, one year on clexane (blood thinner) - self administering over 1,000 injections in all – I would say no woman in her right mind chooses IVF.
IVF is not something us girls really aim for
IVF is not something us girls really aim for. It is not something you schedule, like going to university, or getting a promotion, it’s not a thing that whiffs of aspiration.
IVF is something that happens to you. It is a sudden and dramatic moving of the goal posts, when ‘seeing what happens’ doesn’t work, when ‘trying’ begins to pall, when weeping into your pants every month becomes so desperately, deeply, darkly, untenable that you swallow your pride, you suck up your ‘failure of being female’ and you give up. You grit your teeth and stare down the barrel of a speculum, waiting to pump yourself to the rafters with hardcore drugs.
I am sure Dr Nargund is probably right when she says that 30 is the ideal time to have a baby. Actually, I am pretty sure that Mother Nature would like us all to be popping them out at 19, so we can snap back quicker and get out gathering in those fields.
However, I wasn’t even married at 30. I was working, I had my eye on the prize, whatever that was at the time, and I was having fun with my then-boyfriend, soon to become husband. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have a baby at all.
So I am not really sure what the Government is proposing when it suggests that fertility should be taught in schools? That women should all be taught to be empowered ‘to take control of their fertility'. What would be the end result? A generation of strident empowered Fembots marching around with their biological clocks literally ticking (they will surely develop some app for that?) while there’d be another generation of men running for them there hills.
There is no right time to have a baby, just as there is no wrong time to have a baby. But surely a better time to have a baby is when the mother is happy, financially secure and capable of looking after the sweet fat thing? No matter what age she is.