If you’ve seen recent headlines like this one, and you’re thinking “Oh no — I’m getting older and I want babies!” Maybe you’re wondering what this means for you? First of all, I don’t want you to panic. Instead, I want you to get your TUSHY checked!
For real, this is not the time to keep your fingers crossed and wish for the best. If you think you may want children, then I encourage you to schedule a fertility screening. It’s the perfect, easy, and affordable starting point for your journey to becoming a parent.
The data doesn’t lie. Today in the U.S. birth rates are lower than they’ve ever been. More specifically, they are down 2 % between 2017 and 2018. This does not mean the world is ending. But it is a reason for pause, and for taking action.
I am grateful to have been able to share my thoughts on the many factors I believe are contributing to this fertility decline with Healthline and with KTVU news station in my hometown of the Bay Area.
I thought it would be helpful to highlight what I shared with Healthline and on the news with you here.
Why is fertility in the United States declining?
- Obesity. Obesity and infertility go hand in hand. As our society continues to struggle with obesity, the same will be true with fertility. I explained this would likely be the case because obesity has been shown to pass down through generations and is linked to fertility issues.
- Pollution. The man-made chemicals that are making their way into our environment (and bodies) are responsible for shifts in hormones and reproductive function. And it’s not just happening on land, but with our mammal friends at sea, too. I pointed to reports that endocrine disruptors have been found in bottlenose dolphins to back up how widespread this issue has become.
- Personal timelines. Many people are deciding to start families later in life, which can present added challenges for some women when they do decide to conceive. Older men can still have kids, but older women have to accept that they either have to freeze eggs or use an egg donor when they’ve run out of healthy eggs. I joke when I say this, but it’s oh-so-true that there is no Botox for your ovaries.
- Lack of parental leave and good childcare. One reason many people are choosing to have children later in life is a lack of family-friendly policies from their employers. Jobs with limited or no paternal leave coupled with the rising costs of childcare are factors that are causing many people to put off having kids until later in life — sometimes until it’s too late.
- Climate change. I pointed to recent research illuminating a potential link between climate change and male fertility, which may also be a factor contributing to the declining rate.
What to know about your risk of infertility
This won’t be new to all of you, but I can’t stress enough the importance of being proactive about your fertility, even long before you hope to conceive. This is especially true for women who can engage in regular fertility testing as early as their 20s.
I also shared with Healthline my “Egg Whisperer golden rules,”
- Get your fertility levels checked by the age of 21 if you have a family history of early menopause or endometriosis, or if you’ve had an ovary removed.
- No matter what, get your fertility levels checked by the age of 25 and every few years after.
- Freeze your eggs by the time you’re 32 if you haven’t started your family yet and think you may want more than one baby in your lifetime.
- If you haven’t started a family or frozen your eggs by the time you reach 37, freeze embryos. You may want to consider IVF over other methods to preserve your fertility.
When you’re 40 and ready to have a baby and find out your fertility has been steadily declining since birth, you may be surprised. I don’t want any surprises for you. My wish is for my current patients to all come to me because they are being proactive and wanting to preserve and protect their fertility when they’re young. Of course, if they aren’t young that’s not going to stop us from doing everything else in our power to create the family of your dreams.
As always if you have any questions or would like to see me cover a specific topic for a future show or blog post, please reach out.
firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here.
You can also catch more of me and topics like this through The Egg Whisperer Show. The episodes are live-streamed onYouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and on Wednesdays at 7 PM PST. Subscribe to the podcast too!