Posted by: euzoia | August 20, 2009

Babies after 40

Babies after 40? ‘Adultescents’ say yes | Opinion |

LISA, at 47, has had radical new surgery to try to escape the trap of living a modern woman’s life – one that’s now out of sync with our bodies.
The Melbourne woman now hopes to become the mother she never got around to becoming until nature said it was too late.

But is her story, reported in yesterday’s Sunday Herald Sun, a sign that we can indeed have it all? Or a warning that we should once more learn to choose?

Lisa’s story is a common one of these times, in which women seem to believe they can schedule babies to a time that suits their own timetable, not nature’s. Like post-35.

She didn’t meet the man of her dreams until she was 44, but when she went to have babies she discovered she was menopausal and unable to conceive. How did so many intelligent, professional women forget something so basic in our biology?

Luckily for Lisa, a forward-thinking GP had suggested years earlier she have ovarian cells frozen. She did, and that decision could now make her a mother. Prof Gab Kovacs at Monash IVF has, in a first for Australia, defrosted that tissue and transplanted it into her ovaries, hoping to kickstart them again.
Related Coverage

* Radical fertility bidHerald Sun, 16 Aug 2009
* Give up alcohol, coffee – it’s better than IVFAdelaide Now, 7 Aug 2009
* Readers’ Comments: IVF blunders destroy dreams – PerthNowPerth Now,
* Babies we must affordHerald Sun, 1 Jun 2009
* Baby miracle belittledCourier Mail, 21 May 2009

While Lisa won’t know the results for a couple of months, it’s heartening to know science is helping to solve the imbalance.

They want to follow the same script – get their career sorted, find the right man, buy a house and then, and only then, have babies.

In the old days, those first three steps were reduced to just one: find the right man. They’d be done and duffed by their late 20s.

Nowadays that script has stretched out and, for some, it’s not until their late 30s or even 40s they feel ready to have a child.

Sadly, biology hasn’t evolved to keep up with this lifestyle evolution.

A woman’s fertility starts declining from 26 and most women in their 40s have only a 10 per cent change of becoming pregnant. And there’s the big imbalance.

Fertility doctors tell women not to wait, but they’re talking to the “adultescent” generation, who delay adulthood with study, travel and sponging off mum and dad. It’s also much tougher for young women to find settle-down love.

In her new book, This Restless Life, Melbourne author Brigid Delaney says this generation is into “churning”. The 20 and 30-somethings are constantly changing their lovers, jobs, houses, cities, she says.

Many think there’s always IVF if they leave things a bit late, only to belatedly discover that ain’t necessarily so, sister.

While they have a 65 to 86 per cent chance of IVF success under 35, that rate plummets to 23 to 42 per cent once they hit 40.

Scientists may well solve this imbalance between lifestyle and life cycle by the time my daughter faces the same crossroad and women will be able to choose when they want children, just as men always have.

But will there be a fix for my own imbalance? Can I defy my own life cycle and hang around long enough to see the grandchildren, should my daughter be inspired by 47-year-old Lisa?


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