As a television news reporter, it’s not uncommon to be covering some sort of crime in the streets of Los Angeles, and have a devoted viewer come up to say hello. Sometimes these news-junkies want a selfie…other times they just want to ask a question. For the last few years, it seems everyone wanted the same answer from me: “Was I having any luck getting pregnant?” Now, this may seem like an overly personal, inappropriate question for strangers to ask your friendly neighborhood news reporter…but not when you know the whole story.
About four years ago I went public with a very personal battle. At the time, I had just turned 41. I had a great, big life…but I didn’t have a little one in it. I had always wanted to have a baby. And I always thought I would have plenty of time. I planned on being like one of those 40-something celebrity mom’s on the cover of People Magazine posing with a newborn while comfortably fitting back into ‘skinny’ jeans (after all, this is Hollywood).
But here’s the real story. About half of women over 40 have fertility problems, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Once you hit 40, you have about a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant in any single ovulation cycle. By age 43, your chance of pregnancy plummets to 1 or 2 percent…and by the time you hit 45…fuhgeddaboudit. Now, that’s not to say it can’t happen. Someone has to be the one-percenter…and why couldn’t it be me???
So, I did what came naturally, I decided to report on the fertility challenges facing older women.
I also began doing what was completely unnatural, which included injecting myself with crazy-making amounts of hormones, stopping by the Southern California Reproductive Center on a regular basis…and general obsessing about all things ovulation.
Aside from having a lot of timely sex…I tried IVF, Clomid, acupuncture, herbal teas and yoga poses. I even met with a psychic intuitive to clear my ‘chakras’. But nothing was working…and by the time I turned 45, I had to come to terms with the fact that my eggs were most likely scrambled and fried.
So, it was time to start hatching a new plan.
All I needed was ONE good egg. Without one, my chances of getting pregnant and delivering a healthy baby was pretty much going to be plucked right from me. 45 is NOT the new 35 when it comes to fertility. There are no botox injection, laser peels or pilates classes to make your eggs appear any younger.
Let me crack this open for you. By the time you are trying on your first training bra, you have anywhere from 300,000 to 400,000 eggs inside of you. You’ll lose about 10,000 to 13,000 of them each year. Do the math. By the time you are 40, the experts1 estimate you’re left with only about 3% of your eggs (and most of them have not aged very well). In fact, many of them are already cracked, which is why there is such a high miscarriage rate for older women.2
Now, adoption was still an option. After all, I’m an adopted child. However, something I’ve always wanted to do in my life…is to create one. As crazy as it may sound, I actually wanted to be pregnant. Yah, I heard all the horror stories: the morning sickness, the huge belly, the epidurals, the labor pains. It all sounded terrifying. But every mother I know tells me (after the fact) that it is also remarkable.
And why not be a part of something remarkable?? I figured, if the only thing I was missing was one good egg…then I needed to start looking outside of my own basket. And as I was about to discover, good eggs are actually not that hard to find…if you know where to look.