Raise your hand if you have been trying to conceive (TTC) and you don't feel understood. How about those of you who are afraid to talk to anyone? How many of you have joined a TTC social group? Strangers come together on these platforms with one common goal - to have a healthy baby.
Now, to those of you who have healthy babies, those of you who had no problems getting pregnant, maybe getting pregnant on your first try, or without trying - it's not that we aren't happy for you. It is that the sadness of our own lack of success hurts more when we see new pregnancy announcements. No offence, we don't really want to talk about our infertility issues with you, because we think you do not understand.
I felt that I should join my fellow members of the TTC community for National Infertility Awareness Week (April 19-25, 2020).
First of all, what is infertility? From a medical perspective, it is a term given to couples that have been trying to conceive without a successful pregnancy for greater than 12 months for women under the age of 35, and greater than 6 months for women over the age of 35.
Roughly 16% (or 1 in 6) couples in Canada experience infertility. This number has doubled since the 1980s.
Part of the reason behind the increase in infertility is that women are delaying having their children until later (see the graph below). If you haven't read my previous posts on advance maternal age and AMH, please feel free to gain some more information there. For me in particular, it was a focus on my career as a veterinarian.
In the early 2000's you can see the upward slope of the cohorts of women from ages 30-34, 35-39, 40-44; as well as a downward slope of the cohorts of women from ages 20-24, 25-29.
This pushes the average age for women bearing children to be over 30 in Canada over all.
In both British Columbia and Ontario, the average age of mothers at birth has been over 30 years since 2004.
During COVID-19, all non-essential businesses have closed their doors. They may still offer services over the phone, or during emergencies. However, fertility clinics are non-essential. Some women in the TTC community have had their IVF cycles cancelled, which to say is stressful is an understatement.
Number one above all is to take care of yourself. Make sure that you find your support system.
This week, I will be posting daily. I am going to talk about cycle monitoring to help you conceive. I'll talk about my own struggles with a short luteal phase. I will go into stress and its physiology and how it relates to trying to conceive. I will also briefly discuss natural supplements and treatments for infertility.
Just remember, this is my journey. You tell your story.
For more on my fertility journey, click here.