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'betrayed' by the promise of easy conception?

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by academicgown, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Does anyone feel somewhat 'betrayed' by the messages we seemed to have received in our early years about how 'easy' pregnancy might be to achieve? We seemed to have received so many strong messages about 'avoiding pregnancy' in our teenage years that we assume pregnancy will be achieved exactly when we want it when we reach adulthood.
    Yet, clinically really we have only about a 30% chance in any one cycle to conceive, and technically the 'best' or optimum time biologically to have a child is actually early in our lives (20-24 years old). Obviously many have successful pregnancies even past 35, but these are the clinical 'facts'. Many do conceive easily and quickly, but it is quite common for it to take months and months and sometimes a year or two. Many of us feel surprised at this. Indeed, many will find that GPs will simply say 'you are only considered to have a fertility problem if you've been trying over two years' - which puts things in perspective a bit and is an admission that it can be quite normal for it to take months and months!
  2. Is that true? 4 hours?!
  3. Carla Birritieri, What every woman should know about fertility and her biological clock 2005 says technically it is 12- 24 hours. The issue is, this is only a guidline and of course there are variants for every woman; plus sperm can live in the uterus for up to five days. So that is why the whole thing is rather 'hit and miss' to say the least. I think the rule of thumb could be
    - if you have sex a day or two before ovulation there is a chance you get pregnant
    - if you have it a day or two after ovulation then you're a bit less likely to get pregnant because the egg is indeed quite fragile and does not hang around for long.

    .... but of course it's all so hit and miss.
    H. Leridon Human Fertility (1977), p. 79
    has suggested that
    of 100 ova exposed to sperm, it is likely that around 16 will not fertilize.
    Of the remaining 84 fertilized eggs, 15 will die before implantation;
    after pregnancy is established 27 will perish during the second week,
    8 will fail between the third and sixth weeks,
    3 more will dwindle in the following months, thus eventually leaving only around 31 take-home babies.

    <h5>ie of the 69 eggs that get fertilized and implant in the uterine wall in a cohort of 100 couples, 38/69 ( around 55%) will then decline .... leaving around <u>31</u> take home babies. </h5>it is of course all 'in theory' with a statistical cohort of 100 couples .... but this opens your eyes somewhat.
    even when a woman is pregnant, natural human miscarriage rates range from about one in every five pregnancies at age 30 to around one in two at age 42
    (Miscarriage Association PRoyal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2010. http://www.rcog.org.uk/womens-health/clinical-guidance/early-miscarriage-information-you; accessed 15 Aug 2010).

    Thankfully , many many women experience easy conceptions followed by routine births. But not all - a small but significant minority suffer hugely, and miscarriage is perhaps more common than many of us think - especially at week 6 when some women do not even know they are pregnant and the miscarriage is assumed to be a late period.

  4. toeinwater

    toeinwater New commenter

    Wow ! Are you writing a thesis on the subject? [​IMG] Great references!
    On a serious note... it's quite scary though to think that there are only, let's say 12 hours, in a month that you can become pg (I think Zita West gives '8' as the magic number as far as this is concerned.)
  5. yes - your story shows just how unpredictable conception can be. For some women, having a first baby at 40 is still 'relatively easy' - for quite a lot of others, it's really really hard. I think what people do not understand is that fertility varies very very widely and your story shows that - some younger ladies can have real difficulty, whereas other older ones seem to have no problem and also vice versa too.
    Also, one needs to be lucky enough to have one's 'life story' correspond to one's fertility capacity. If you are a woman with high fertility and happen to meet your Mr Right later in life that is probably not going to be a problem. If you are a woman with low egg reserve and poor egg quality and do not start to want a family until age 34/35 then you could have a problem. The real issue here is, no-one gets routinely tested for egg reserve at age 30 so it's all a gamble at present. There is a test - Anti Mullerian hormone blood test. it measures egg reserve - it's not 100% perfect but it's the best thing we've got at present. I'd like all women to have the chance of having it by age 30 or so if they still do not have kids because then it at least gives us extra knowledge when planning. Mind you not every women would want to know this information - I personally would have liked to have known. But if the test was voluntary that would at least give you the chance ot find out this crucial information.
    I think we are also not told the story about how 'common' miscarriage can be - but the problem is, no-one talks openly about it because of the 'shame', sadness, private nature of the event. I see you have a symbol for baby loss awareness campaign which sounds interesting. All my friends had at least one miscarriage and knowing what i know about egg development etc, it does not surprise me now - the human body is such a complex thing and the early stages of pregnancy can so easily go wrong. But at school in Sex Ed i only received the message 'do not get pregnant at any cost' which sort of implies that when you want to get pregnant, you'll easily conceive and easily get a baby. But in reality it does not seem to be a very accurate message.
  6. chocolateheaven

    chocolateheaven New commenter

    I don't really agree that sex ed at school ought to teach students that getting pregnant could be difficult - there are so many irresponsible teenagers as it is who already believe that it won't happen to them, that I think sex ed has little choice. I have wanted to have children all of my life, and yet when I started ttc I didn't think that it would be easy. In fact, I was convinced that I would have difficulty. I was aware of the fact that miscarriages occur in 1 in 4 pregnancies, and that as a diabetic I had double the risk. I personally believe there is a lot in the news about infertility, and I'm sure we all know people who have had difficulty. I appreciate how hard it must be to feel so disappointed, and as one of the lucky ones who hasn't (so far) had difficulty, I'm sure my perspective is very different, but what message would you want sex ed to promote? I don't really see how it can be any different really.
  7. I've got a friend who is 27 and doesn't want kids yet- she is in no way ready for them. She is permanently worrid about "accidentally" conceiving- even to the point that if she takes her pill late (it's one of those with a 12 hour window) she will insist OH uses condoms for 7 days. This is what we have all been brought up to do and think- one slip and you might get pregnant. I suppose a girl of about 16 can be extremely fertile (generalising) and we want to prevent teen pregnancies.
  8. I dont feel betrayed because i never expected it to be easy. With my daughter i got pregnant straight after coming off the pill within 2 weeks and i was really shocked.
    I think the key thing is that it is easy to get pregnant, sometimes. I'm not finding it as easy this time though!
  9. Oh and I don't feel betrayed as such, was just slightly surprised when we started ttc and I realised just how smnall the fertile window is. I have told all my as yet childless friends so they are aware for when they want to try- and none of them knew, and all were as surprised as I was!
  10. I think most people do assume it will be easy to conceive- I was the opposite and was suprised it actually happened quickly- I thought it would take a few months to' a year. And, from the number of threads about 'which month is the best to have my baby in?;' I guess people really don' understand how hard it can be to pin point.
    There were a lot of teenage mothers at our school- so I don't think sending the message 'have unprotected sex, the chances are you won't conceive' is particularly helpful- and I am sure we have all met accidental teenage mothers.
  11. My thoughts are full of contradictions and I suppose I do feel betrayed.
    I have pre-existing issues so I thought we'd be in for the long haul. On the other hand 2 years on - dieting, reflexology, cough medicine, acupuncture, taking temps, examining my knickers, internal ultrasounds, infertility appts, SA's etc etc is absolutely soul destroying. It has tested the strength of our relationship for sure and luckily for us we're stronger than ever.
    I remember an aquaintance (sp?) saying that women should just 'relax' and let nature take it's course. This was a general comment and not directed at me, but I could have punched her. It was just after our first fertility appt and was feeling fragile.
    I don't resent anyone falling quickly, pregnancy is a miracle however it happens, but I sort of wish that I hadn't been so careful when I was younger. I'm glad I've been able to live the life I want but the desire to hold my own child makes me feel so desperately sad.
  12. Paradoxicalgirly

    Paradoxicalgirly New commenter

    And the miscarriage statistics are quite misleading - it's usually quoted as 1 in three or four. But these are confirmed pregnancies, ie ones reported to a GP or other medical person. The realy number is much higher and in one report I've read it was suggested it could be between 50 and 75% of pregnancies. Plus there's the myth about being 'safe' after 12 weeks. I went to a seminar with the Miscarriage Association which gave me a little too much information about the statistics post 12 weeks, which freaked me out during this pregnancy, I can tell you! And which is why I've never bothered with the 'wait until your 12 weeks to tell anyone' routine.
  13. mollymillions

    mollymillions New commenter

    I don't think I made my point:
    I got pregnant on the first attempt, given that I am less fertile now that I was in my teens then I think that the right message for me was definitely "assume you will unless you're very careful". I don't think there's anything to be gained from telling the population at large that the chances are low, imagine how many unwanted teenage pregnancies we'd end up with.
    Clearly it's very hard for those couples that want to conceive and have trouble but I'm not sure that the message which you are given once you are an adult, that it's likely to take you a lot of attempts, is any more useful.
    It's such an individual thing that there can't be one message that is exactly true for everyone but given the alternatives, I think playing it up for the youth has got to be the right option.
  14. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I suppose you have to decide which is the worst outcome - being a mother at 16 or never being a mother. Those on here who have conceived may not look at it that way.
    Which is worse - having a baby too young or never having one? You can always go back to school, college later.
    Involuntary childlessness is for ever and nothing can make the pain go away - you've got it til the day you die.
  15. yes to some extent i agree with Becky70. There is nothing that can really be done about involuntary childlessness. You can use donor eggs but they are donor eggs, the treatment is about &pound;8,000 per time including drugs, and is not guarranteed to work. You could try surrogacy but that is very expensive and an ethical minefield as well, and it too is not guarranteed to work.

    What I want to see in schools is a message of <u>BALANCE</u>. I would like to see several things in place
    1. try to avoid teen pregnancy and know how to do that
    2 try to avoid STDs and know how to do that
    PLUS to balance these messages ------
    3 know that fertility is <u>VARIABLE </u> across the population
    4 know that fertility <u>CHANGES</u> as you grow older
    5 know that fertility is <u>a window of opportunity</u> only and does not last forever; know that 'middle age' in reproductive terms is perhaps 'sooner' than you think
    6 know that when you are an <u>adult</u> reproduction can be harder than you think
    7 know that miscarriage rates are probably higher than you realise.

    the point is, if women take only the 'avoid teenage pregnancy' message with them into adulthood, they risk 'delaying' thinking they can have a baby whenever they wish. If they leave this too late until about 34 or so, and then they go to a GP who is also ignorant about the age related decline, he might well say 'Go away for 2 years because you are not considered infertile until then'. If you are a diligent patient and also ignorant of fertility matters, you could go away until 36 . Then you have to wade through appointments and tests for infertility .... try IVF around 37 or so at an age when <u>success rates are poor</u> ... and to some extent then all can be lost.
    It's a tricky thing. As long as we remember it's a question of balance then i think there is an argument for keeping the traditional teenage messages about pregnancy in Sex Education, but also supplmenting them with additional appropriate information.

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