As the college graduates move on to bigger and better things – an exciting job abroad, a new internship, graduate school, or whatever it may be – few will be thinking about having children in the near future. This graduation season made me reminisce about my own professional development. Almost 20 years ago, as the oldest of six kids, having children was the last thing on my mind when I finished college. While I lovingly took care of my much younger siblings as if they were my own, I could not think of having kids any time soon!
And then, in my third year of medical school, my rotation on reproductive endocrinology and infertility arrived and gave me the cold facts. As a woman ages, the odds of conception begins to decrease, while the risk of miscarriage increases. At approximately age 38, on average, the risk of miscarriage rises to nearly 50 percent as the odds of conception begin to fall dramatically.
Could this be true, I asked myself, or was it a tale written by folks who tried to instill fear in the mind of young women with dreams and goals to conquer the world? I had found my passion. To my amazement, yes, the statistics were true. And yes, I came to terms with the fact that the tick-tock sound of our biological clocks was real…
A woman’s ability to conceive declines with age. No matter who you are. It is true that some women have good reserve well beyond their 30s but biology is biology. Two facts hold true for all women, first; the quantity of our eggs declines with age and second; the quality of our eggs also declines with age.
But, the current state of assisted reproductive technologies has made tremendous advances. While we aren’t yet able to restore a woman’s decline in egg reserve and egg quality, the option of egg freezing allows women to delay the time of childbearing until they feel comfortable with the decision to be a mother.
While many women are able to conceive in their 20’s, some may not feel psychologically ready to dive into the world of parenthood. With egg freezing, women are given the opportunity to delay childbearing. Talk to your doctor about this option. My goal as a reproductive surgeon and infertility specialist is to bring awareness to a topic that is still difficult for some women to discuss or inquire about. There’s no shame in getting knowledge. #Askabouteggfreezing
Jessica Salas Mann, M.D., FACOG, is an experienced reproductive surgeon and infertility specialist, board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her areas of clinical interest and expertise are pregnancy loss, ovulation induction, in vitro fertilization, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and third party reproduction. Dr. Mann educates her patients and works with them to develop the best plan to help them build their family, while respecting their unique wishes. She is affiliated with The Surgery Center at Old Bridge located at Raritan Bay Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family, 2 Hospital Plaza. Dr. Mann’s office is also located in 2 Hospital Plaza in Suite 340. For more information or to make an appointment, call 732.786.7900.
With locations in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, New Jersey, Raritan Bay Medical Center delivers critical world-class healthcare services care to Monmouth and Middlesex County residents. As providers of first-class healthcare in the areas of stroke, cardiology, cancer, physical rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, pediatric medicine, Raritan Bay Medical Center continues to stay on the forefront of medicine.
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