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Courtesy of Embryology class…
Approximately 50% of all spontaneous abortions are caused by severe chromosomal abnormalities. And often mothers are not even aware of a pregnancy because a miscarriage occurs so early due to abnormalities.
Unfortunately the older the mother, the more likelihood there is of some form of chromosomal abnormality because a woman’s ova are already partially developed at birth and at puberty they complete most of their development. Then this pool of ova is drawn upon over the next 40 years or so for ovulation. So what happens to all those ova while they wait? They are affected by their environment and therefore can be degraded and damaged by what women do to our bodies willingly and what we are exposed to in their environment. We women can’t get away with the same choices as men, who can make new sperm from puberty until death. Yet another reason to care properly for oneself and to be aware and vigilant about the toxins that surround us every day…
Chances of having a baby with Down Syndrome (a less severe chromosomal abnormality) are:
1 in 2000 if the mother is 25 years or younger
1 in 300 if the mother is 35 years or older
1 in 100 if the mother is 40 years or older
Considering that I am turning 27 this year and will not graduate until I am 30, I will most likely fall into the middle bracket above. I want to get married and have babies. I want to have a strong, stable, and fulfilling marriage. Ideally, I would like to be married for several years before having children, but I am also aware of the risks I face for every year after 25 that I don’t have a child. The proverbial clock is ticking! It’s hard to meet my future husband attending a school that is about 15% men (not all of whom are straight!)…
So, my ideal timeline is to meet my match before I graduate, get married soon after, and have babies a few years later (before age 35). All while starting a successful career as a naturopathic doctor… I recently watched the movie “The Secret” which taught me that while I can’t control my destiny, I can request what I want from the universe and by visualizing and believing in what I want to happen, I can attract it to me. However, I am also a firm believer that planning the nitty gritty details of life causes you to miss the unexpected opportunities and does nothing to increase the likelihood of making your “plans” reality.
Changing gears a little…
Babies conceived via using assisted reproductive technology (eg: IVF, GIFT, ZIFT, etc) are at higher risk for prematurity, low birth weight, and infant mortality, often due to increased incidence of multiple births (cost-benefit of IVF dictates the implantation of 4-5 fertilized ova, for example). However even singleton births face risks of low birth weight and malformation, probably due to degeneration or defects in the ova or sperm that caused the conception difficulties/miscarriages in the first place.
Who are we to decide that it is a right to have our own biological children, not a privilege or even just plain luck? Is it wise to assume that we are in the best position to determine and even control our own path or should we accept responsibility for the consequences of our life events and choices (controlling our hormones, marrying later, exposing ourselves to toxins), therefore accepting our “destiny”?
I don’t know the answers to these questions and I don’t presume to judge anyone’s choice except my own. I don’t know what my choice would be if I were unable to conceive a child. I do know that my life choices will have consequences and that there are many options for becoming a parent that are as admirable and valid (perhaps even more so?) than bearing biological children. I’m thankful for being able to read extensive discussions about adoption on the BTD Forums because they have confirmed for me that fostering or adopting are options that I would consider.
Just some food for thought.
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