Infertility after 40

This is one of my pet peeves. I've been on dozens of boards and read of women in their 40's defining themselves as having "infertility."

Is that technically true? Yes, but it's intellectually dishonest. Because after the age of 40, fertility naturally takes a plummet south. Women do get pregnant after 40 naturally all the time, and yet it's so very rare, statistically speaking.

Maybe it's my aversion to the label generation we live in. When I was growing up, classmates were allowed to be "not smart." Now, a label must be placed on the child - so he has Dyslexia or ADHD. God forbid he's just lazy or not as genetically blessed with a strong IQ as is another child.

And this nonsense has reached us "infertiles." Now, I'm guilty of using the word infertility to describe myself, but I do it for the sake of ease and because I don't know of one word that defines it all more closely.

But the truth is that I am not "infertile" - I'm just old.

There is a line and I'm very comfortable making the start of that line a girl's first period and the end of that line her 40th birthday. If she can't conceive in between those lines, then yes, she's infertile. But after 40?! Nah, her eggs are just old! Get a grip. Yeah, I know it makes us feel better to wear the "infertility" label, but it's not really accurate, is it?

Think of Michelle Duggar, who is pregnant with her 18th natural child (turned 42 last month). They're born-again Christians and accept as many children "as the Lord will bless us with," yada, yada, yada. Well, what if next year she doesn't conceive child number 19 - what if she never conceives again. Imagine Michelle telling Oprah that she's infertile? HA! I bet even Oprah couldn't keep a straight face!

Before you feel offended, think it through. Otherwise, every single woman on the planet suffers infertility in her life time - either because she's an 8 year old girl or because she's a 48 year old woman. And that's ridiculous!

I suppose one could argue that if you have your period, you're still technically in reproductive years but we all KNOW that's not the case. We all KNOW that after 40, pregnancy is unusual, even with expensive fertility intervention.

So all this spewing for nothing really, 'cause I still say I'm infertile - until someone gives me a better description (which I would be only-too-happy to use).


Io said...

Hi Sky, I came over from bridges and then read some more...
I think you raise an interesting point. I've thought about how we define infertility a lot - I myself am not infertile exactly, but because my husband is, I am by extention.
I sure like hanging out with these IF bloggers either way...

Me said...

I came over from Bridges as well. And I totally agree with this post. In the last generation or so our society has been so full of this "you can do anything you want to do, be anything you want to be BS" that it seems people have actually started to believe it. I can NOT be a fighter pilot because I'm too tall and don't have good vision. And after a certain age, fertility begins to decline. It is what it is.