>Do you know when your eggs supply will dry up? Trials of a new hormone test, may well be able to tell you in the future. The test, the trial of which are backed by the World Health Organisation, will assist doctors in pinpointing to within a few months the date at which a woman’s fertility will end. Pretty ground breaking stuff I’m sure you will agree. However is this something that will be welcomed with open arms or branded as scaremongering?
Imagine being offered the test as an 18 year old (although no doubt you’ll have to pay for it if it does pass the trials rather than it being something that is routinely offered.) and you are told that you will be infertile a few months after your 36th birthday. Would you live your life any differently? Would you plan your life, if obviously children are included in your plans, around this “cut off” date? Instead of backpacking around Australia for a year before Uni, would you head straight to Uni or try to find Mr Right straight away, rather than enjoying your time having fun with all the wrong ones before settling down later on? If you had a test at say 25, would it spur you on to finally dump your boyfriend who you’ve been coasting along with for some time but things don’t seem to be moving on quickly enough for your liking, especially now you have a baby making deadline to reach?
Until now there hasn’t been a test to confirm exactly when our fertility will cease, not on an individual basis anyway. Current information states that a woman is at optimum fertility at the age of 18, it stays constant in your twenties and takes a gradual downturn from your thirties onwards. By 35 it’s accelerated and by 40 the slide is dramatic. That information scares me somewhat. I’m 29 at the moment and as you may have read here before am desperate for another child however thanks to the depo provera injection I was classed as infertile for some time prior to my periods magically restarting of their own accord. Unfortunately it appears they have decided to stop again and although they may well restart in future it is heartbreaking to think that there is something wrong with me that may mean that I cannot have another child. (Doctors assure me I’m fine, although I’d beg to differ!) If I was offered this test I would jump at the chance, but then I am 29 and in a place where I am ready for another child. Maybe I wouldn’t consider it important as an 18 year old because back then I had the world at my feet and children were the last thing on my mind (little did I know I’d be pregnant the following year!), would I have paid for a test at that age? No. Would I have taken it if I was offered one? Maybe. However if it was a routine test that everyone had at a certain age, then I guess I would have.
I think this test has the possibility of being an incredibly empowering tool for women to use. It enables us to be in control of our fertility, we are on a clock after all whether we like it or not, unlike men who can father children well into their old age and with this test we can plan the future of our fertility. Whether that involves having children with a man you meet and fall in love with within your own personal “egg time scale” or whether in order to preserve your fertility you have to maybe freeze your eggs to ensure that when the time is right for you that you can go ahead and use your own eggs. What is important is that it gives us that choice, we are presented with the facts and can choose what to do with them. Having that choice taken away from you must be utterly devastating. So I’m fully behind this test, lets hope it hits our shores soon. What do you think?