Due to the recent announcement that Janet Jackson is pregnant two weeks shy of her 50th birthday, I have been flooded with questions about how women well after age 40 can get pregnant. Although it is common knowledge that age negatively impacts female fertility, many women still don’t grasp just when it is too late to get pregnant.
In the fall of 2004, I was 29 years old, and my life was progressing exactly as I had planned. Six months later I was divorced and staring down 30; major portions of my master plan having crumbled down around me. I could have curled up into a ball in mourning over the loss of the life I had envisioned, but that just isn’t me.
If you read part one of this three-part series, The Ways Chronic Stress Can Severely Impact Your Fertility, you have a good understanding of one of the most common ways stress alters fertility through abnormal cortisol production. This article discusses two additional ways that chronic stress affects fertility, and they are just as common and just as potentially disruptive as the first one–sleep disturbances and low progesterone.
The choice to freeze my eggs came easy for me. After working in the medical field for over a decade in women’s health, I had lots of time to debate these sort of topics. I have many friends older than me who also struggle with whether to not to freeze their eggs, and I was able to learn from their experiences.
Finally, positive attention is being paid to the aging woman. Women in their 40s look better, feel better, have successful careers and seem to be able to do it all. In fact, it has been suggested that life for a woman really begins at age 40. For once, the “mature” woman is being celebrated rather than lamented. 40 is the new 30!