My theme this year is IVF/ICSI, a process we’re starting at the moment and today it’s Y for Youth.
I don’t make a habit in day-to-day life of telling people that we’re having IVF treatment, but by the same token, it’s not something I hide either. If people ask, I tell them and one of the comments I frequently get is ‘well, you’re still young’. I get the impression that some people seem to think that IVF treatment is just something that people think about when they’re past forty and realise that the biological clock is ticking a lot quicker than they would like.
When it looked like we’d been taken off the list and would have to go back on and start all over from the beginning again I actually had a GP do a sympathetic tut, a smile and a ‘well, you’re still young’, justifying this with the fact that as I’m younger my eggs will be ‘sticky’. I think that comment was supposed to reassure me. It didn’t really.
It is true that fertility treatments are more likely to be successful when you are younger; you’ve got higher quality eggs, your body is in a better condition to be able to carry a pregnancy. Statistics say that things are in your favour. But that’s not to say that you might not be disappointed, whereas a forty-something year-old with lower quality eggs might achieve a successful IVF pregnancy. It just works out that way.
It’s very interesting to look at statistics, but don’t get hung up over declining chances of success as you age. There is nothing you can do about getting older, even if it’s frustrating while you’re on a waiting list and know that it might be months or years before you get your shot at treatment. Focus on the things you can control; eat healthily, exercise, don’t smoke, drink in moderation. Those are all things that will impact your chance of success which you can take charge of.
And if you know someone who is going through treatment, don’t do the ‘well, you’re still young’ (or the variant for older women, ‘well, there’s still time’) because they’re probably more than aware of the ticking clock and being young isn’t going to fix their twisted tubes, polycystic ovaries or rapidly declining egg quality.