You spend a lot of time in your teens, twenties and even early thirties trying not to fall pregnant. And then, when you’re ready to get knocked up, it often comes as a rude shock that it ain’t so easy. In fact for some women, they discover all that energy spent on contraception can retrospectively be filed under “ironic” because they are, as Charlotte puts it in an episode of Sex & The City, “reproductively challenged”.
It certainly seems like the universe plays some messed up tricks sometimes. The less a woman wants to be pregnant, the easier it is. And vice versa. Many women are under the misguided impression that you can freeze your eggs for later.
In fact, it ain’t that easy or even possible in most cases. It’s not like a guy squirting into a cup with a porn mag in his spare hand. My understanding is that the success rate of conception with frozen eggs is very low. And the extraction process is an invasive and painful one.
But what if you could check out your fertility in advance? You know, with an egg timer? In a few weeks, you can.
A NEW quick and inexpensive test to measure a woman’s egg reserve is set to revolutionise the way women think about their future. The test, dubbed the “egg timer”, will allow women for the first time to know how fast their biological clock is ticking.
As soon as next month, the simple and cheap blood test will be routinely offered by IVF Australia after it was recently proven as the best-known indicator of fertility. “I think this is a big step forward,” medical director of IVF Australia, Assistant Professor Peter Illingworth, told The Sunday Telegraph.
The revolutionary test costing only $65 will for the first time accurately tell women how many eggs they have left, indicating whether a couple should strive for natural conception, try IVF treatment or, in severe cases, consider options such as adoption or egg donation.
It will also act as a virtual crystal ball for younger women envisioning having babies in their late 30s or 40s, allowing them to plan whether they have the time to wait based on their current egg count potentially reversing Australia’s current trend of having children later in life.
A woman is born with one to two million eggs and over the course of her life they are gradually used up every month until menopause hits in a woman’s 50s. Professor Illingworth said an average 20-year-old woman would have a bank of 200,000 eggs, a number that halves as she enters her 30s and can drop to as low as 2000 after the age of 40.
Feminist commentator Catharine Lumby said the most important thing women needed was more choice which the test gave them. “Women across the world are often torn between the demand that they have a career and the demand they populate the planet,” Ms Lumby, 48, said. “I think women in our society are still asked to bear a double burden, one of which is to have careers and be financially independent, and the other is to prove they are homemakers and mothers, and I think the majority of women struggle with this double dilemma. I think it would be fantastic if women get to have this knowledge so they can make choices earlier on.”