Friday, September 08, 2006

When famous older women have babies

Do you remember a few years ago when there was a push to raise women's awareness of when fertility dwindles? I think it was an initiative from one of the reproductive endocrinologists' groups (maybe this one), frustrated by how many of their patients were heartbroken to discover, now that they were finally ready to start a family, that their eggs were pretty well cooked. Why have so many women been in the dark about this, thinking that age 40 was a fine time to embark on a first baby? I blame the media attention given to celebrity pregnancies, where it's seldom hinted that a woman in her 40s or 50s might have required assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Case in point: this week's news that actress Marcia Cross, age 44, is pregnant with her first child, quite soon after her wedding. Nowhere in the article does it mention fertility treatment. This gossip piece reports that she and her husband were seen leaving a fertility clinic, but Cross's publicist, of course, omitted any mention of ART.

It's possible Cross and her husband relied on IVF and perhaps donor eggs. But with all the media attention showered on famous 40-somethings who are pregnant—and the conspiracy of silence on ART—American women can easily get the message that fertility after 40 is quite unremarkable, just another natural, happy circumstance.

I recognize that everyone has a right to medical privacy, and that you don't necessarily want your child learning they came from donor gametes via a Google search. But time and time again, the media leaves out the details that remind people that the average woman is going to have infertility issues if she tries to get pregnant in her 40s.

Jane Seymour gave birth to twins at age 45; at that time, I don't recall seeing a mention of IVF, although she has acknowledged it since then. But might she have used donor eggs? Could be. Cheryl Tiegs claims to have used her own eggs—at age 52!—and a gestational surrogate. (I concede it's possible that Tiegs was the 1-in-500 case with viable eggs at that age...) Geena Davis was in her mid-40s, and I've never seen any acknowledgment of ART in her case.

Last year, I blogged about Joan Lunden, who used a gestational surrogate twice, starting at age 49, and now has two sets of young twins. (That's in addition to three grown children from a prior marriage.) The pregnancies used Lunden's husband's sperm, but the Good Housekeeping article I blogged about delicately avoided using the words "egg" and "donor" (though an infertility-savvy reader could pick up the implication of donor eggs).

I don't begrudge affluent, famous, biologically middle-aged women the joys of pregnancy. I just wish that they didn't perpetuate the stigma of donor eggs, donor embryos, and gestational surrogacy by omitting their personal details, while simultaneously propagating the false impression that it's easy to get pregnant at that age. And I wish the media would be far more responsible in their reporting of these late-in-life pregnancies.


Mignon said...

I've become more irritated about this and the 'dark secret' of infertility across the board. Only after I started blogging did I realized how effin difficult it is/was for a huge percentage of women to get pregnant, no matter what their age.

Cricket said...

Even as a biochemist and a support group leader for endo, I had no idea how firm the clock was. A decade ago, it was even more 'can do' in attitude and there was no support. At least you hear about it more now, even though the celebs are used as bad examples.

The Elizabeth Edwards thing rubbed me wrong - two more kids when she was 48 and 50, if I'm remembering correctly. My neighbor at the time, aged about 45 and never married, said she wanted to be like EE. In my brain, I said Helloooo?, but out loud I blurted out that she probably used donor eggs; at the time researching it, I could not find out more. I wonder if she had become the VP wife, if she would have been more honest and dove into reproductive causes instead or reading or insurance causes.

Orange said...

Cricket, I forgot about her! Yes. The kids should have their biological provenance kept confidential, ideally—but it's at the cost of a little candor that would go a long way toward demystifying infertility and destigmatizing donor gametes. By always keeping it a secret, with people talking about it in hushed tones, it makes it harder for other women to deal with it. If every couple/single mom was open about their use of donor eggs, sperm, or embryos, maybe it wouldn't feel like a shameful failing—which is the impression we're left with when it's so hush-hush. I imagine the average couple using donor genetic material would get plenty of crap from people, "mommy drive-bys" ("Why didn't you just adopt, then" would be number 1 on the list)—but eventually we could bring it out of the dark.

Anonymous said...

Not to dismiss the seriousness of this topic, but - when I first saw the subject line I accidentally read the last word of the title wrong - specifically, with two Os instead of one A - which made for a chuckle and a quick (and correct) second read.

Orange said...

You mean 5318008? You boys have such one-track minds.

Emma Goldman said...

I turned 48 this summer, and I asked my gynecologist whether I still had to worry about contraception--after googling and such, all the info I could find was for women who WANTED to get pregnant, rather than avoid same. He replied that being 48 was as effective as any of the other available forms of contraception, and that he did not personally know of anyone who'd gotten pregnant at my age without assistance. Don't get me wrong: I"m not criticizing people who want to get pregnant, or who use ART, or whatever--what I found interesting was that the vast wealth of info out there wasn't on contraception.

Orange said...

Emma, there was a guy I knew in college whose siblings were much older—his mom was 52 when she had him. It can happen, but the odds are definitely tilted heavily in the other direction.

Interesting that you couldn't find any solid info online answering your question—what, is the whole world in denial?

Anonymous said...

Actually, Marcia did allude to the fact that she used donor eggs. You just didn't read an article that provided all the info.

"I don't like the average woman being misled into thinking that fertility is something that goes on forever," said Cross.

"When a woman gets older, they get donor eggs, which doesn't make the baby any less beautiful or perfect. One's own eggs only last so long, and sometimes at 43 or 44 you can have your own baby, but statistically it's very difficult and expensive. You don't want to wait that long."

Anonymous said...

Gee, if the media can't get a silly thing like reporting false reasoning for a distant war at the right time, who's to say they can get it right about women's fertility?

Emma Goldman said...

Throw in the fact that I've got a uterus full of fibroids (at the same visit, he guessed my uterus was about the size it'd be if I were 14 weeks pregnant) and, while fertilization might occur, implantation is pretty damned unlikely, I'd say. I have to say that, while I have a few mixed feelings about not having any kids, the thought of having one now, especially given the vagaries of my life at the moment, is pretty frightening.

Orange said...

anonymous, thanks for the info. I blame the AP for providing a sketchy article without informative quotes from Marcia Cross. She's my new quasi-hero for putting it out there in such a straightforward way.

JT said...

I don't know why it bothers me that we get a regular barrage of coverage of the beautiful, past-typical-conception age famous women showing off their generally assisted babies.

It's none of my business, I guess. And I'm lucky that I needed assistance to conceive only one of my kids. And I'm lucky that I got that one time done in the first month. I think what bugs me is something you and I have discussed before. If you're not wealthy, you can't get ART. If ART isn't an option for you and/or you choose to adopt, you may not be considered qualified to be an adoptive parent based on some checklist drawn up by G-d knows who.

Am I a great parent? Probably not. A good one? Yep. But would an adoption agency hand me someone else's child? Nope. Health problems, family history, money.... I don't qualify.

I'm in a bad mood, so it's not surprising that I'd get all hyped up with little point. I guess it just bugs me that it's yet another vast difference between the haves, and the have-nots.


Anonymous said...

Orange, no problem! I love Marcia, so I couldn't let you get away with saying something that wasn't entirely true about her! ;P

Anonymous said...

My grandmother gave birth to my father when she was 45 -- IN 1937!! So I suppose it CAN happen for some people... I'm 33 and nowhere near ready to be someone's mother so I guess that's always given me (potentially false) hope.

Orange said...

That probably wasn't your grandmother's first child, though, was it? Apparently there's a difference between getting pregnant with your last child later in life and managing to get pregnant with your first at that age.

Anonymous said...

Darling Orange,

You have twigged my total ignorance of this entire pregnancy process, for which I apologise! You're correct that he wasn't the first. My bad!!

Dharma said...

Orange, I feel you. I wish it were more upfront when these famous folks, or ones the media focus because of pregnany anomolies happen. I am about to be, well I won't say except that Marcia Cross are close peers and TGF would love for us to have baby. I'm not ready to make such a decision, and when I do, if in the yeah let's go for it camp, well problems and dollar signs will abound. It sucks. As Mignon says, there is still an amazing amount of dark secretness about the subject.

Anonymous said...

Yo, Orange. My neighbor's friend conceived after two years trying at the age of 46.4 months. She was against using donor eggs or IVF..sorry to disappoint you but women in their 40's are very capable of conceiving..

Anonymous said...

Read the true stories of birth over 40!..

I'm only 36 but women need to know that over 40 is a fertile age.

Orange said...

Anonymous, over 40 is not a fertile age. It can be, but it often isn't. And 40 isn't the magic number when the eggs go south—it can be earlier. I know two women who hoped to conceive with donor sperm who had their hormone levels tested at 39 and found their odds were already very low.

Also, pet peeve: "46.4 months"? Decimals represent tenths, not twelfths, and months are twelfths of a year.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Great post--very well said. I'm also angered by this trend to deny fertility treatments (while spilling the intimate details of other parts of your life) because it paints a false sense of reality for the general public.

Anonymous said...

I am 48, the mother of 4 children ages 6 through 16. Four years ago, I decided I wanted another baby. Well, you guessed it. Despite being fertile even up to 41, I have not been using any form of birth control for almost 5 years and I have not conceived. Do I need birth control, heck no.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Edwards having 2 healthy pregnancies and births at 48 and 50 is amazing enough even WITH use of donor eggs. She had a healthy uterus, supportive husband and the money and available technology to pursue the option. Now she is pushing her book and gearing up for the next presidential election, but in her honesty she is lying to older women. This is my opinion! She is doing a disservice to women. She doesn't even mention infertility treatments in last interviews I've seen, but mumbles something about having a great grandmother who had a child at 50. Oh..puhlease!

She tells in detail about emotions and life including loss of her son and breast cancer and other health issues with great candor. She doesn't mention she was worried about miscarriage or a birth defects when they decided to have more kids. She asked her daughter if it was okay with her, then seemingly poof 2 kids nearly back to back. Come on... get real! Those are donor egg babies probably with husband sperm. The 2nd child is probably frozen embryo left from 1st cycle.

I have friends with donor egg babies and it can be a great path to a family. So... don't come out and write a book about your life, but then lie about part of it giving women false impressions.

Long term infertility patient... so know too much about the topic and wish people would be open about it!

Anonymous said...

There are thousands of women after 40 conceiving and giving birth.

Do a google on, 'pregnancy and birth over 44'

In the same way it's wrong to withold that you've had donor eggs, it's wrong to mislead women that natural conception and healthy birth does not happen after 40!

Anonymous said...

Orange said...
That probably wasn't your grandmother's first child, though, was it? Apparently there's a difference between getting pregnant with your last child later in life and managing to get pregnant with your first at that age.

Well, Orange you are wrong to assume that only women who have had children already have it easier to conceive after 40.

What a prehistoric myth that is.

Orange said...

Anonymous with the last two posts, you're pissing me off. The statistics demonstrate that fertility wanes with age and that women over 40, on average, are less likely to get pregnant naturally. Nowhere did I say that women in that age group can't get pregnant—my point is that women shouldn't expect to get pregnant easily at that age because biological reality isn't in their favor. If infertility hasn't afflicted you, be grateful and keep quiet.

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt said...

If you go to the dr at 45 and tell him you want to get pregnant, he will tell you that it's impossible without using donor egg.

If you go to the dr at 45 and tell him you want to stop your birth control, he will tell you that you can't because you will get pregnant.


Anonymous said...

Seriously, women need to stop basing their hope on anomalies.

Fertility begins declining at age...27. It takes a nose dive at 35.

(See Human Reproduction, 2002 v17 n5 - Dunson, David B.; Colombo, Bernardo; Baird, Donna D.)

Anonymous said...

One thing that hasnt been mentioned here is what a big role STRESS has in stopping conception-at any age. Telling women in their 30's "hurry up and conceive-RIGHT NOW-or you'll miss out!" is the worst possible way of aiding conception. Stress causes hormonal disruptions-which can lead to ovulation problems/delays and therefore make conception VERY difficult.
I know of many cases where couples TRY and try and try to conceive,have all the tests, cant find any medical reason for it ...they then either give up or choose adoption-and, lo and behold! they conceive. I'm talking about people in their 20's,30's AND 40's. Why? The stress is taken out of the equation.
I have found that people tend to get what they expect-so believing pregnancy is possible over 40 is a big step towards reaching that goal. Just as in a broader sense,for example, most wealthy/successful people will tell you the same thing-that their unwavering belief in their ultimate(even if not immediate) success is the thing that got them there.
Obviously, if a woman has reached menopause,this a different scenario but as long as a woman is having regular periods-and her hormone levels are not too extreme etc, she IS able to conceive. Scaring women into thinking its all too late is not helpful. Its not as if all these women in their 30's and 40's are actively AVOIDING pregnancy. Many(like me, at 38)have not had luck with finding decent men and are reluctant to sleep around(too many serious diseases to risk)! I believe that fate has something to say about it. We do end up with the children we are meant to,whether biological, adopted or donor. I still FEEL I will have at least one child but I cant conjure up Mr Right tomorrow. I think its best to relax and count our bessings,children or not. Life is to be savoured. And if I or the other women out there dont end up having children-that, in time, will make sense...
in the meantime, I'm not going to give up until I REALLY have to!

Anonymous said...

Responding to Anonymous, 7:25 and subsequent posts about instances of late fertility:

So your Grandmas had kids at 45, you know that some women have children after 40, and you're too young for a child at 33 or 36? Please, PLEASE don't set yourself up for an irreversible and really bitter failure.

I was exactly like you. My great-grandmother had a child at 42, my grandmother had children into her late 30s, obviously before ART, and my Mom had my sister at 37 as soon as she missed a dose of contraception. There have never been reproductive issues of any kind in my family. I was so sure I would just have a kid whenever I was "ready" that I postponed trying until 36, figuring I'd go to law school, put in a year at the firm, travel the world, etc. first. Well, I'm about to turn 38, and we're preparing for an IVF. Behind us is a year of bitter disillusionment, trampled hopes, chilling epiphanies and life centered around pills, test strips, hormone injections, waiting and tears. I discovered suicidal thoughts and weeping on the toilet at midnight. I am losing hope, and it makes me feel like all my accomplishments and honors to date aren't worth the time squandered to get them. I feel like a human shell devoid of any substance and choked with bitter regrets of my hubris.

I know. You think you won't be like me because you look young, are slim, eat veggies and take good care of yourself. Maybe you've even had your hormones tested, and your OB/Gyn told you your numbers are picture-perfect and menopause is decades away. Consider this. I still get taken for someone in their late 20s, am in great health, work out regularly, eat well and take the best vitamis out there. My reproductive organs and hormone levels are picture-perfect, too. My infertility doctor, one of the best in the country, was basically sure that I'd get pregnant on his first try. Then I got the "unexplained" label, with some of his young associates hinting that, you know, "at your age, egg quality could definitely be an issue".

Women, listen to me. If you are past the age of 30, or even worse, 35, and planning for motherhood, your complacency is false. The anonymous statement above that "as long as a woman is having regular periods-and her hormone levels are not too extreme etc, she IS able to conceive" is lamentably uninformed. Periods alone mean nothing. Women menstruate into their mid-fifties, but just go on any fertility web site and check out conception rates for different age brackets. See for yourself how pathetically they drop off after 30, 35 and 38. I won't even mention 40-41 because we're not really talking about statistically significant chances but isolated and rare events. You might as well hope to win the lottery. Do people win the lottery? Of course. But would you depend on it for your livelihood?

I am belatedly amazed at the complete absence of powerful media-grabbing women's groups promoting the awareness of these simple and unambiguous facts. I have an advanced degree in health sciences, and all I'd ever heard about was Down's Syndrome after 40. But no one said loudly, clearly and with graphs that eggs start deteriorating after 30, that by age 35 half or more of all eggs ovulated can be non-viable, and that THERE IS NO STOPPING IT-not with exercise, not with food, hormone replacements, meditation, prayer or magic. It is simply the rate at which DNA degenerates, which has been constant since life on Earth began. And that there is NO BOTOX FOR YOUR EGGS. Once they're bad, they're useless, and you're not getting a second batch. For those thinking their good hormone levels exempt them from the downward spiral: your (FSH) "number" only indicates how many eggs you've got left, NOT whether they are still any good. There is currently no test for that, other than repeated failure to conceive. So, alas, the overweight, partying 25-year-old smoker at the office has a better baby prospect even with "bad" hormones than you, a healthy and enlightened 35-year old that looks like her younger sister.

Perhaps this truth is so avoided because to say that a woman is constrained in any way by her biology sounds so unpardonably conservative today. Don't we all need to postpone motherhood to secure education, jobs and promotions? Well, not anymore. By now I've seen enough women who went about it with smarts and confidence, and are now thriving mothers with solid careers. It requires assertiveness and negotiating skills, but women now routinely take advantage of the growing workplace trend to accommodate capable people while they are raising a family.

Orange said...

Thanks for that thoughtful perspective, Anonymous 5:08 (1/22/07). I hope everyone who Googles their way to this post reads all the way down to your comment—you really encapsulate the important issues here.

Meredith said...

Orange and Anonymous 5:08 (1.22.07) - I think I love you! I hope you don't mind if I link this post directly to my blog. (Anonymous 5:08 you should start your own blog!)
Some of the comments here clearly illustrate the frightening amount of misinformation out there.
Thanks for addressing this.

Anastasia said...

First to thank you for raising this topic. I was desperately searching on Internet just for the curiosity to read storey about Maricia Cross, although I was 100% sure that she had used donors eggs. If there were not twins - I would have left some possibility that she had her baby even without ART, but with twins - no way!
Fortunatelly generation of women in last 30 years was lucky that ART was introduced and developed, but unfortunate price is that they were mislead by the media and their own lack of information about the limits of the ART. I am one typical example affected by that with the unhappy circumstance that I am dealing with infertility. I do regret now in age of 42 why I didn't know all the facts that I know now earlier. And these facts are not giving too much hopes for women after 40 to have their genetical children even with ART. I regret the fact that I believed that science is stronger than the nature.
Yes, I am the woman who was insulted by the comments of the 70 year old neighbour who never had children (was married) who came to congragulate me after my wedding when I was 34, with the warnings that I should start making children asap. Yes, I am one of these who wanted to make career, money, travel the world...But now if you ask me, now when I adore my 4 year old daughter and facing the certain fact that never, never again in my life I will have more children, I feel sorry that I missed that great opportunity when I was younger; not that I would have changed the way I was and prefered to become stay-at home mam raising 5 kids and living in poverty, but I would have certainly had more agressive approach to overcome infertility in yonger age when my chances were much better and changed a bit my priorities of that time.
But, to go back to the beggining: I had my first and only child in the age of 36, almost 37 (to avoid decimals), using ISCI, since the cause of infertility was male factor (very low sperm count). I was so relaxed for the second child, since I was LUCKY to have my first treatment succsesful and I didn't even rush to get into the new treatments, I even started planning treatment dates by horoscop sign of the future baby!
What a fool I was! Now, after 3.5 years of ISCI treatments and more than 10 embrios which didn't implanted I do realize how lucky I was. I had a weak up call when in age of 40 I was brutally rejected by one clinic who didn't even want to deal with me with my own eggs and from that time I started to panic and do everything more agressively, since at that time I've realized that I don't have to much time left. Right now, I am going to 3 clinics parallel, trying to take my last chance in the age of 42, since most of the doctors told me that after age of 43 they din't have a case of woman getting pregnant with her own egg!
So, my conclusions are: God save you Anonymous in the age of 38 and without a man, who still don't believe in all this what we are talking about. You better beleive it and if you want kids, don't even worry about a man (except for his sperm count). I do believe that exceptions are possible (my two best friends were having children in 41, and 42 and it's definetely a true storey), but unfortunatelly I don't believe in pregnancies after age of 43-44, except maybe in the case woman is genetically extremelly fertile, which most of us not. If I didn't believe that pregnancy after 40 is possible I wouldn't be waking up in 5;30 rushing to one clinic, going to another at 9 and being at work after. I wouldn't be spending average 15K per year. I wouldn't be planning weekends, vacations, everything in my life for the past 3.5 years looking first in my menstrual calendar. But, girls, unfortunatelly chances are slim, I wish I knew, since I enjoy motherhood as much as I enjoyed all the single, adventourous life before.

Anonymous said...

xdtI am looking for someone to talk to.... I am 44 and am facing the decision of IVF with my own eggs or those of an egg donor. I did not wait to get pregnant--medical professionals failed me. I went through years of infertility procedures, exams, and so on.... I have run the gamut. I was even told, by a couple of doctors, that my infertility was in my head. Long story made short: I finally found a competent physician who found the reason for my infertility--a large non-cancerous tumor that was behind my uterus and entwined in my spine. The tumor had been there for years. Amazing. I had the tumor removed last March and by December I was pregnant. In January I miscarried. Now I am faced with trying again on our own, IVF with my eggs, or an egg donor. My doctor is pushing for the egg donor. I am just feeling so alone and vulnerable. My husband is helpful but I need to talk with another female. I'm so afraid of this decision. I don't feel like I can talk with others in my family or my circle of friends. Women can be so cruel in their opinions of older mothers.... Any support or suggestions are wekcome. I donot' have much time to make this choice. Thank much.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous reply. Due to medical issues I began my IVF journey at 39 after a miscarrage at 38. I endured 14 cycles with my own eggs. Well I'm now 44 with no baby for my trouble. Am I stressed and dwelling on the if only-"NO". Have I been stressed and dwelling on the if only in the past "Absolutley YES". - Tears and heart ache go hand in hand with IVF - they don't put that in the brochures. Just remember in the down times that hormone therapy will play havoc with how you feel, so try and focus on being happy that your doing something positive about your fertility issues regardless of the outcome. At our age we do have to accept the limitations of nature and knowing when you've had enough failured cycles using your own eggs and when to use donar eggs is also a good thing. It's your body and mind going through this not the doctor or anyone else really, not even your husband, but he will go through an emotional time aswell, so try and be kind to him and yourself on the bad days. Remember "your in charge" and its up to you to use your eggs or donar eggs and how many times you want to try not the doctor, if he isn't respecting your wishes then find another doctor after all your paying him for the service. You sound as though you want to use your own eggs, so if that is what YOU want then go for it, you can as least try this first and then try with donar eggs if you have to. I don't regret the times I tried and failed with my eggs, because now I'm clear on my other options. Good luck, I hope this helps you.

Anonymous said...


I'm a 37 year old female and my husband is 32, we want to have our first child or children in 2009, I live in Ireland and he lives in Italy at present. Yesterday i was watching the IRISH after noon show and they freak me out, about having babies after 30, the doctor they were talking to was saying that the best time to have our childern is in our 20's WHATTTTTTTTT.

That scares me because we want to start our family in 2009. waht can i do to ensure that i will still be fertile by then is there foods that i can eat starting now so frar my diet is healthy well sometime, and i consume lots of water, and detox every month with teas.


Anonymous said...

This is a great topic. I popped over here after hearing about Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer returning...another reason she should talk about her "fertility treatments." I am considering egg donation after so many painful years of loss and infertility (and Anastasia, you said it all--that 38-yr-old poster might be fine, but she will likely have some trouble if she tries to conceive in the next 4 years, and after that, it will be highly unlikely).

I hate having to decide what and whom and how to "tell" if I do donor egg--I selfishly wish someone like Edwards would step forward and begin the conversation!

Infertility is on the rise--dramatically on the rise--and our society needs to become aware of this fact, and needs to be educated about treatments.

Anonymous said...

No mention of going to top IVF clinic where she would have a possible, but very very low chance of success at this age. No mention of multiple failed IVFs before succeeding. No mention of miscarriages before succeeding. No mention of doing amnios during pregnancy. The clencher is fraternal twins for a women of this age. Screams donor eggs.

Does she have frozen embryos left over? If so, then she can have a 2nd set like Geena Davis or Elizabeth Edwards probably did.

Donor eggs obviously creates many lovely babies and happy families!

I do wish women were honest about their use and use of donor gametes was as open an option as adoption has become.

I applaud your blog and hope it opens the eyes of women, so they can plan accordingly with knowledge.

I recommend for information:

Meg F
many years of infertility with IVF

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting topic, the whole infertility roller coaster is a ride that I myself will never forget. I have an 11 year old biological son who I still can't believe I have and now am considering adopting a second child. I am now about to turn 48, my son will be 12 in October. I had a fibroid removed 4 months after I was married (almost 20 years ago) and got pregnant within a couple of months. We were just started to try to conceive and I though "This is a piece of cake!". Boy, was I wrong.I had a miscarriage, the first of two. I went through the gamet of the tests, surgeries, fertility drugs, bloodwork, injections, you name it. Then 5 cyles of fertility drugs, 4 invitro cyles, the start of a seizure disorder (which I think was caused by being taken off the drugs abruptly). The expense, frustration, pain and heartache were unimaginable. Looking back, I can't believe what we went through. I finally conceived our son with fertility drugs. I basically sailed through the pregnancy, but worried about how it would all turn out.I remember sitting in my car before my doctor appointments, praying that everything was normal. The birth was difficult, I had to have an emergency C-section, when they lost the baby's heartbeat. My husband declared in the delivery room "I am never going through this again!" Thank God the baby was fine. I always say getting him in and out was a horror, but when he was inside me it was heaven. My son was worth it all, he is a handsome, smart, wonderful child. That said, we were at the end of the insurance payments and that last cycle or attempt was going to be it. I had made my peace with it, if that hadn't been a success, I had decided to move on. Sometimes, you just have to admit that things are out of your control and are not meant to be. I was at that point, thinking that I was not meant to have a child, at least not biologically. I did not delay having children, I was married at 28 and we started trying to conceive within that first year. We were extremely lucky to have wonderful medical insurance that we paid for ourselves that covered all of the treatments plus the drugs. The costs are staggering. I had a gammet of issues, ranging from fibroids, endometriosis, intestine wrapped around a fallopian tube, sperm antibodies, I learned more than I wanted to know. My husband was fine with adopting, I was the one who needed to try all options. Egg donation was not that common 11 years ago, and was not suggested because of my age, but if I had been offered it, I myself would have declined and pursued adoption instead. I am semi-seriously considering adoption now. I can tell you one thing, though just because someone become pregnant after 45, however that is only the first part. If you think about it, do you want to deal with a 10 year old or a teenager when you are in your late 50's or older? Kids require a lot of energy from you. Today with the way the world is, you need to have them accounted for every minute. Sports, music lessons, play dates and more, you will always be on the move. If you have only one child, you are their whole world, parent, playmate, confidente, you name it. Celebrities and wealthy people usually have a lot of help and don't have to deal with everything the way average people do. Plus, many people have to help elderly parents, I have many friends who are or will be in the situation. I myself went through that phase early, before my son was born. I think that stress probably contributed to my conception problems. Even that figures into the equation now I don't have parents to look after, but my son doesn't have grandparents who can help me and support him. I guess the bottom line is, maybe it isn't possible to have it all. Not to insult anyone, but it is there are no guarantees with this stuff, it is not fair that only women have a true biological clock, but I don't think anyone should have a child just because time is running out. My mantra (thanks to Teddy Roosevelt) is "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are". Life can take us down many paths, and we only have control over certain thing, if a pregnancy is not in the stars, something else is in the plan.

Anonymous said...

"Expectant First-Time Mom Over 40-Avoid These Three Things

By Cynthia Wilson James

As a woman who had her first child at age 42 and a second child at age 44, I have come to the realization to remain upbeat and positive, there are three things that an expectant first time mom over 40 and women who are considering motherhood over 35 should avoid. The three things to avoid are:

1-Message Boards that ask the how old is too old to have a baby. Even now that I have two healthy (thank God) children, ages 2 and 4, my spirits can be brought down by reading the postings on many message boards.

Myths on the boards are accepted as truth such as babies born to first time moms over 35 will be unhealthy or have a major birth defect. This is so far from the truth I wrote You Can Have A Healthy Pregnancy Over 35
Another popular myth that gets a lot of agreement is children of older parents will resent or be ashamed that their parents are not the same age as the parents of their friends. Usually the adult child of an older parent expresses how ashamed she was as a teenager of her parents’ age.

By the time I’ve completed reading the posting of “Miss So-Ashamed” I want to say to her, “girlfriend, you need a taste of reality. Were you the only one of your friends who was ashamed of her parents?”

For every teenager who is ashamed of his older parents I’ll show you another who is ashamed of his younger parents for other reasons.

A teenager may be ashamed because his thirty-something year old dad is not as good in athletics as his classmate’s dad. Or a teenager may be ashamed his dad drives a car from prehistoric times while his classmate’s dad drives a car from the future.

A fourteen year old teenage girl may be ashamed because her mom is not as slim and as pretty as her best friend’s mom. Or she may be ashamed that her mom wore old-fashioned shoes to Parents Day.

2-Television and radio shows that ask the how old is too old to have a baby. As if it is not bad enough to read the postings of people who believe you shouldn’t have a baby a day after your 25th birthday, the television and radio shows bring you voices and faces of people who believe this.

I remember watching a popular talk show that compared the decision of a mom over 40 to have a baby with the decision of a child under 16 to have a baby. I felt sorry for the older mom who didn’t stand a chance defending her decision against the obvious disapproval of the savvy television host.

3- People who seem to have the answer to how old is too old to have a baby. Yes, I have an age limit in the back of my mind that I believe is too old to have a baby. However, because I believe that only God can decide how old is too old to have a baby and He hasn’t revealed the answer to me, I leave room for my age limit to be wrong.

If you are an expectant first time mom over 40 or a woman over 35 who is considering motherhood, remember to eat healthy and listen to the advice of your doctor. And if you want to remain emotionally upbeat, please heed my advice."

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with using donor eggs or donor sperm. Also, IVF is a personal matter and I can't imagine why people think they have a right to know whether or not a couple used IVF to conceive their child! Why do you care whose genetics that Cheryl Tieg's children have?? People, answer that question. Why on earth do people care about celebrities' childrens' genetics??
A donor egg/donor sperm baby is just as good as any other baby. There should be no differentiation.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone on here who is the parent of a baby conceived with donor eggs? I'm considering this and just wonder how it feels? The same as conceiving with your own egg? Does it make any difference to you? Any insight from your experiences would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Money or not, Famous or not, why is surprising that a woman over 40 can and does get pregnant? long as you are menstruating, you can get pregnant?

Seriously, every one of us knows somebody, or a few somebodies, over 40 having's not the end of the world.

Get over yourselves, naysayers.....grind another ax.

If you believe all the bull that so-called fertility doctors feed you,you get what you deserve. They are in it for the money....hellooooooo?????????? So of course to THEM, women over 35 all need their services. Right. Whatever.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

My grandmother had 3 children in her 40s. There weren't any fertility drugs back in her day.

I find it humorous that people here think a woman in her 40s can't get pregnant naturally.

Jan said...

Most people these days are becoming more aware of donor egg IVF, so it will be harder and harder for famous women to keep claiming that their pregnancies are "natural". The cold hard truth is that about 90% of actresses over the age of 45 who get pregnant, have used donor egg. If they say otherwise, they are lying, period. I actually get physically ill every time I see another 46 or 47 year old actress gushing about how she just got pregnant and it was a "surprise". I can only wonder, is she also lying to her child? What a great way to start out parenthood.