I Am The Rule & Not The Exception – I am NOT Legend

Nurture shared a link on Twitter this morning that immediately caught my eye – Carla Bruni Pregnant At 44 & Infertility Myth Revealed.  I clicked to the link and read the article with increasing irritation. Here is someone, clearly not a Dr and from what I can tell, who has little to no experience of infertility making this statement:

 I think there is a big infertility myth that goes on with women over 35. Am I saying that older can get pregnant as easily as younger women? No. (Please read that again.) Am I saying that the risks are not higher? No. (Read that again.) What I am saying is that I believe it’s easier for women over 35 — or even 40 — to get pregnant than they think it is.

So here is my history:

I fell pregnant for the first time naturally at age 30. Between the ages of 30 & 34, I was pregnant 6 times, all 6 pregnancies naturally conceived. From age 34 to age 37, I lost the ability to fall pregnant naturally and we had to turn to science for assistance. At at 37 I fell pregnant with my 7th pregnancy from a frozen embryo transfer.

I am infertile. I am the rule and not the exception, this is scientific fact! Here is another scientific fact – baby girls are born with ovaries filled with eggs. A woman’s ovaries do not create more eggs over time, what you’re born with, that’s it. Some of us will physiologically age better than others, that means that the quality of some women’s eggs will be better at age 40than other women at age 40. The way to test this is doing two blood tests, an FSH test and an AMH test. These tests  measure hormones that give an indication of egg quality and ovarian reserve (number of eggs left). My last FSH & AMH  tests was done at age 36. My AMH was 3 and my FSH was 5, this was an indicator that my ovarian reserve was declining but was pretty much average for my age. Other women at age 21 will have POF (Premature Ovarian Failure), that means they’ll have the ovarian reserve the same as a woman in her 40’s.

I have a friend who had intensive fertility treatment and was unable to conceive. Then at age 40 she fell pregnant naturally and between the ages of 40 to 44 she went on to have 3 children. It happens but it is the exception rather than the rule.

Let us not forget that conception is a miracle in itself. A healthy couple, with no fertility issues, in their 20’s will only have a 20% chance each cycle of conceiving…. Yes, conception is very much a miracle, with odds that low, it’s a miracle that conception occurs and that it occurs so easily for some and by accident often. But it is a miracle.

To state that women over the age of 35 are statically less likely to fall pregnant is a myth is irresponsible, it is not based on any kind of scientific fact but rather on an opinion based on the exception and not the rule, in the same vein as saying to me now that we’ve adopted, I’ll conceive naturally and have a child of my “own”. These sentiments are insulting to those of us who have struggled or are struggling.

Whatever your opinion is, you cannot ignore scientific fact.

If it were true that it was so easy to fall pregnant after 40, there would be a lot more 40 year old women with baby bumps. Of course, the media and celebrity play a huge roll in these misconceptions, with so many celebrities conceiving and giving birth in the 40’s in the midst of fertility treatment speculation and denials, of course it becomes easy to buy into these opinions but we are not celebrities and this is not the movies so one cannot ignore the fact.

I am 40. I have been pregnant 7 times, only one of those times was past the age of 35, I am a mother via adoption but I will not conceive and have a miracle child of my “own” and there is the rule and NOT the exception.

There is a joke in infertility circles, when a woman who has struggled to conceive using ART (assisted reproductive technology) and then conceives accidently  by herself,  she is called Legend.

I am NOT Legend and most women my age are NOT Legend either.


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  • Reply Jenny

    I am legend but I firmly believe that the fertility treatments kickstarted something that made me able to conceive but yes, all the bits and pieces have to be in working order to be able to do that!

    July 4, 2012 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Pandora

    You are right, this is like saying we are making our own lives difficult by choice!
    I have never been pregnant, I am 47 and have been off any kind of contraceptive for 10 years now. I left it late to try and fall pregnant by most people’s standards, but this comment now says I had an excellent chance. So what was I doing wrong??
    Simply put, I ran out of eggs, maybe earlier than most, but that just goes to show that you can’t rely on the norm. Each person is different. Yes, she may have lots of friends in that age group that fell pregnant easily, but then again, those that didn’t may not have broadcast the fact.
    And as for the comment about the fertility industry, that makes no sense. No one in their right mind decides ‘Hey I am over 35 and want to get pregnant, so I will go have some fertility treatment and spend all my money’. We try the natural route first.
    Yes, sometimes people take a break from the treatment and fall pregnant naturally, but who is to say that the treatment didn’t help in some way?
    As you say, someone with no fertility issues wrote this.

    July 4, 2012 at 11:50 am
  • Reply Gwen

    Infertility of course is not the same as sterility. Women in their early and mid 40s shouldn’t assume that it’s impossible for them to get pregnant, especially if they have no other known fertility issues and should use contraception if they don’t want to be pregnant. That doesn’t mean that it will be easy for a woman in her 40s to get or stay pregnant.

    I thought the reasoning in the article was a bit stupid – she said that she doubted Bruni had fertility treatment because it’s only 9 months since the birth of her last baby. I would rather have thought that a woman of 44 who wanted another child would start trying (and probably having fertility treatment) as soon as possible. An 18 month (or even 12 month) gap between children is hardly bizarre.

    July 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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