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Do You Ever Have Regrets?

Chicago magazine

Okay, it's confession time. Do you ever wish you could go back and change some things—like decisions you made, lifestyle choices, people you dated—even though you know thinking that way is a huge waste of energy and time? I do. 

That’s probably one of the harder things about being an infertile (infertile, infertile…say it enough times and it starts to sound like immortal). Anyway. You can’t help but wonder if there’s anything you could’ve done differently to change your current diagnosis. Because infertility, unlike fatal diseases, is A) treatable in most cases, and B) seems sort of avoidable, depending on your exact circumstances (remember, my diagnosis thus far has been “unexplained infertility,” which always makes me laugh a little—doctors actually say this with a straight face).

It’s a well-known fact that age plays a big factor in infertility—a woman’s fertility declines rather drastically after about age 27, according to Conceive, which is one the best sources of info on infertility online. Did you know we’re born with all our eggs, and as we age we start losing them through menstruation and just natural attrition? It’s like someone—not saying who—messed up when he/she made our reproductive system. We age in reverse when it comes to fertility. Who needs all those eggs when you’re a baby? I guess that’s how shows like Teen Mom get its subjects.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought this more than a few times: If only I’d known then what I know now, would I have made the same choices in my fertile 20s? Would I have chosen to stay single as long as I did (I didn’t get married until I was 34)? And not just single: I celebrated my carefree lifestyle every day, and wrote columns about it…in fact, I wrote a feature story for Chicago magazine in 2005 about how great life was for single girls like me, when I was 31 years old, having “too much fun to even think about settling down.” I wrote about the new breed of commitment phobe: me! You can read it here.

Would I have called my husband back, after our first blind date four years prior to us meeting again? I’ve thought about that one a lot. We’d have three kids by now! Or more! Oy. That was about nine years ago. I’ve lived three lives since then!

It’s hard not to think about all the choices you’ve made and whether or not they’ve had an impact on your current state of infertility. But age is the one thing there’s still no cure for...

Thankfully I don’t seem to have any other issues preventing me from getting pregnant—or not that they’ve discovered yet—and though my ovarian reserve checks out fine, that says nothing about the quality of my eggs, which is obviously not as good as that of a 27-year-old. That’s about how old I was when I first met Jay.

Women my age (I’m 37) have about a 17 percent chance of getting pregnant on their own. Pretty jarring statistic, isn’t it? That’s one of the first things I learned at the doctor when I started this whole process. It’s a hard piece of data to ignore.

Is there anything you regret? 


When I'm not trying to squeeze in a few hours of sleep at night, I'm blogging at Follow me on Twitter yet? If not, you should! I'm @spgorenstein. And if you friend me on Facebook, I will happily accept.