To Those Who Say 'Oh, You're Still Young' When I Talk About My Infertility
“Oh, you’re still young.” – A comment I have become familiar with, as part of a couple struggling with infertility for the past four years. People use this comment like age has anything to do with our infertility issues.
The young can struggle with infertility.
During an ultrasound, in between the poking, prodding, and small talk, the nurse asked me how long my husband and I had been “trying” for a child. My response: almost four years. Her reply: “Oh, you’re still young,” as if time will help our problems and a few more years will cure our issues.
All I want to tell her is that it’s only going to get harder for us!
“Oh, you’re still young.” – To you, being young means plenty more time to try. What do you think we have been doing these last four years? I’m not getting this ultrasound because I’m young or because I enjoy them.
We may be young, but we still have our issues. Is four years not a significant time of waiting already? Is my four years of struggling less important because I’m young? And there still may be a chance that our next doctor visit could inform us that we have no chance. How is our youth going to help us then?
Being young has nothing to do with our problems. When you have an issue like ours, time will not help you and time will not fix you. We literally have to pay for a chance at a miracle, with no guarantee it will work. Possibly, we will do this more than once.
“Oh, you’re still young.” – My mom likes to tell me this, and she likes to say “Just give it time, it will happen, have faith.” No, that’s not how this works.
Our infertility has no cure. You wouldn’t offer up more time as a cure for any other disease, so why would this cure our issues?
The options are figuring out what options you still have available to you, what you can afford, and what you have working in your body, before it’s too late and your biologic clock stops ticking. Time is not on our side.
I like to think of infertility as a Venn diagram, with three factors involved toward the goal: the sperm, the money and the eggs. As long as you have at least two of those, then Miracle Baby just might be in your future, but even then, it’s not a guarantee.
If you have money and healthy sperm, then possibly surrogacy, adoption, or egg donors can help your future. If you have healthy eggs and enough money, then possibly a sperm donor or adoption is in your future.
If you have healthy eggs and healthy sperm, then you’re probably not struggling with infertility, and you’re probably not reading this. And if you’re lucky enough to have all three factors working for you, then you fall into my Fertile Myrtle category, and I am very, very happy for you! I would never wish infertility on anyone.
As you can see from my colorful Venn diagram, age and time are not factors, and being too young is never systemic of the disease. I could be in my 40s and struggle with the same issues of infertility. I could be in my 30s and struggle with the same issues of infertility. And I can be in my 20s and be struggling with the same issues of infertility. Yes, things like menopause are a guarantee, but every female will go through that, and not everyone will deal with infertility. Time is not on our side.
Just because we are young, it doesn’t mean we are cured with enough waiting or a few more years added. Time is not on our side and age isn’t our problem. Being young does not guarantee fertility, in fact, it’s the exact opposite.
In just two years I will be 30. I know, you’re thinking I’m still young, right? Consider this: if we don’t conceive by then, then my egg reserve will have already been dropping, with roughly only 12 percent remaining, with quantity and quality declining in those following years. Time is not on my side. Not only do the eggs diminish, but the risks for problems, like miscarriages, become more prevalent. So, with more time, along with male fertility factors, we will have to worry about female fertility problems, too.
Couples like ours aren’t struggling with an age issue — we are struggling with a medical issue, a poor prognosis from medical doctors.
So, before you offer up “Oh, you’re still young,” please think about the four-year struggle this “young” person has already endured.
Please think about the years this “young” person has to look forward to.