It's all over the fertility news in the United Kingdom. Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, said students must be told about the best age to have a child when they are taught about contraception in sex education lessons at 11 years old.
Fertility is a sensitive subject. Add that to talking to our children about it, and you can imagine there are very strong opinions in every direction on the matter.
The opinion from Dr. Balen comes from the observation that women in the late 30's and 40's are increasingly trying to have a baby for the first time. The media makes it seem like having babies in your 40's is really no big deal; just use IVF. However, the reality of the situation is that the statistics for a woman to become pregnant in her 40's, even with IVF, show that it is less common that people originally think. Rates of becoming pregnant with your own eggs and IVF at the age of 40 are less than 30% nationwide in the US, and this number drops to nearly zero by the age of 44.
Of course, there are things we can do as Naturopaths to work together with Reproductive Endocrinologists and increase your chances of having a baby. It is not as if all hope is lost, even at the age of 44. However, I do see, at a larger scale, why he is suggesting we call attention to this at a younger age.
I get it- we don't want to talk to our 11 year old girls about their fertility, but I do believe we can help them create awareness about their bodies and still be age appropriate. To me, talking to an 11 year old about fertility would look much more like how to take care of their bodies so that they can have the best chance of having a biological family if and when they decide to, not some sort of fertility plan or scaring them about never being able to have kids. I think its a good idea that can be carried out in a way that is highly beneficial to them.
We live in a country where 12% of all couples trying to conceive are given a diagnosis of infertility. That is significant. And far too often, I have seen couples that are heartbroken and distraught because they have missed their fertile window. They never really thought about it before. They assumed it would happen easily later. I want that information to be readily available for people before it's too late for them to have the decision about whether they would like to have children be an actual possibility.
I am interested how this information will fall on my communities ears, and interested to know your opinions and ideas!