The New Fertility Frenzy


I am just going to start by saying that, yes, I do have a subscription to Marie Claire magazine. But it’s not what you think. I have one to National Geographic, as well. Marie Claire was offered to me for $5.95 a year, and I like it when people send me things in the mail. Not that I am insulting readers of Marie Claire. It’s just that it is kind of like Cosmopolitan trying to dress up like a cultural advocate of women’s global issues. Printing an article about the plight of young prostitutes in a third world country back to back with the diet and dating secrets of a 17-year-old icon just feels wrong. 

I don’t hold a grudge against Marie Claire. I like to leaf through it just like any other girl and figure out which models have been airbrushed. (Spoiler Alert: All of Them) But as I thumbed through it tonight, I saw an article called “The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Contraception.” I thought I would take a gander at what single girl’s are doing these days; maybe there is some new, exotic contraception out there in the ten years since I have been on the scene. I was ready for a cool new pharmaceutical name like “Fertprotrex,” or “Spermishield.” But the article began with your standard “condoms and birth control pills,” and then do you know what the author did? She played the old switcharoo, “you better start to worry about your fertility because ALL YOUR EGGS ARE DYING.”  This is an article geared towards 20 somethings and it just has to take a trip down media-scare lane! I also love that the naked girl leaning on a huge cryopreservation tank is wearing only a huge Sex-In-The-Cityesque necklace and bracelet, and is probably about 23 years old. Do you think she is worried about her diminishing ovarian reserve? Not likely. And what about the young woman who is actually struggling with this issue due to medical issues? Do you think this girl feels trivialized now? Just a little bit? I don’t think I am being over PC when I say that I bet she does. 

The article says that “By age 30, almost 90% of a woman’s eggs are gone. By age 40, a full 97% have disappeared.”* Do you know how long this statistic haunted me as a woman having trouble conceiving past the age of 30? I know it is something to consider, but don’t you think we should also consider that we are born with between 4 and 7 million eggs? I just feel like the media makes a potentially difficult situation into a catastrophic dilemma. Or is the new age of career first, baby later going to cost us? Does the media tell us in one ear that we should go after the CEO brass ring, and in the other warn us that the baby dolls we nurtured as little girls were an exercise in futility?  There is a doctor who states in this article that she thinks 3o is a good age to consider having an ovarian biopsy. Meaning, if you are 30 and single, you should cut out part of your ovary and freeze it. Then, when you are ready to start a family, you can re-attach it onto the ovary. This way, as you look more like mama from Mama’s Family and less like Carmen Electra, your eggs will stay plump and healthy. Please don’t misunderstand me – I am in the throws of something as drastic as IVF and I would do it again in a flash. But where does being proactive end and being cajoled begin? 

Just one more thing before I get off my soapbox. I think I may be over-reacting to the Marie Claire article because other media sources have gotten me peevy. About a year ago I bought a book called, “Getting Pregnant.” Naively, I assumed this tome would tell me how to become with child. But most of it was what Meredith on “Grey’s Anatomy” might refer to as the “Dark and Twisties.”  Chapter after bone chilling chapter listed all of the reasons why I am NOT finding the second line of the pee-stick appear. If you are also getting inpatient with peeing on your hand to no avail, let me save you $16.95. ($21.99 for the poor schmucks in Canada who pay more for everything.) 

Your Culprits May Be: 

  • You are suffering from an immune disorder, scar tissue, an odd inflammatory condition, or thyroid condition. No?
  • Your partner’s sperm are dead beats
  • You have contracted an STD at some point in your life. Was it the toilet seat at that concert that you accidentally sat on?
  • You are abusing drugs
  • You are too fat. You are too thin. (As If)
  • You are stressed

    Occupational Hazard

  • Your workplace is constantly exposing you to radiation, low-oxygenated air, bad AC, bad heat, and chemical pollutants 
  • It’s your computer monitor
  • It’s the climate you live in
  • It’s your kitchen – too much heat while cooking
  • It’s a mystery and you will never, never, never know

See what I mean? I have determined that the best thing we can do for our fertility is to limit our exposure to the media. Of course we should take charge of our bodies and our health – and this means to self educate – but let’s not allow a magazine article or one book to strike fear in our hearts.  Because even though time does keep marching on, the strongest factor I believe we can concentrate on is our minds and our dreams…and the course of our journey. 

*Marie Claire, July 2010, Pg. 169

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One response to this post.

  1. LOL! I may need to read that article just to see it firsthand. How could the author go from “here protect yourselves” to “oh my crap you’d better start thinking of babies now before your eggs are gone!”

    If there are any ladies out there who believe everything that magazine tells them, we’re about to have a stampede of young women panicking over the potential loss of their eggs.

    Good God.

    Reply

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