Ready for motherhood or not: 5 things for African women on fertility, and the biological clock

I read an excerpt from Motherhood, Feminism, and the Truth about the Biological Clock and I wished I had had access to this information on fertility when I was 18. I don’t know if I would have made different decisions, but it would have been so helpful to have.

However 10 years ago I would have never clicked on a link about fertility because at the time I thought fertility is about pregnancy, but it is not. The truth is that whether or not you’re ready to have children, it is really important for you to understand how your body works, and what you may need to do to prepare for having kids later on in your life.

Here five ways you can take control of your fertility, right now.

   1.  Fertility Facts:  The number of eggs at our first menstrual cycle is around 300,000 to 400,000. By age 30, we’re down to between 39,000 and 52,000 (13% of the eggs we had at puberty). By age 40, we’re down to between 9,000 and 12,000 (3% of the eggs we had at puberty) — and not all of those eggs are viable. At the age of 15, a woman has a 40% to 50% chance of conceiving per cycle, but after age 35, she has a 15% to 20% chance. At 45? She has a 3% to 5% chance.”

2. Fertility questions you should ask yourself: Do you want to be a mother? Do you want to have a career? What does an ideal balance look like for you, and what steps do you need to take to achieve it?’ If you don’t want a child in your 20s, but might later on, how do you prepare yourself for that. 

   3. Actions you can take: Talk to a doctor, or visit a fertility clinic to get a better idea of you “personal biological timeline”. 
If you are in the diaspora you can have your AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) levels tested, which can help predict your ovarian reserve, through blood work.
It’s really the AMH levels and FSH levels that you want to test — AMH being the anti-müllerian hormone and FSH being the follicle stimulating hormone — both of which are indicators of your ovarian reserve (basically your egg reserve and egg quality). 

4. Making a baby is a not a solo job:  “If you’d like to have children with a partner, be open to a partner who will be a good parent. Before making serious commitments to a partner, think and talk about your respective reproductive goals and parenting approaches. It’s important for people to have open conversations with their partner because both members of a couple should not feel like they’re alone in their pursuit [of having children]. And, they shouldn’t feel like their partner is just going along with their pursuit; it should be a mutual decision.”

5. Paying for your pre-natal and post natal health care: If you’re on the continent you probably don’t have access to universal health care, or insurance coverage. However if you feel you may one day want to be a mother, you absolutely want to start planning for it financially. Those in the diaspora need to make sure you they have good “health insurance, and be aware of the policies surrounding fertility and reproduction where you live and work. Insurance is such a quagmire, and it really varies state-to-state and policy-to-policy. But typically, unless you’ve been diagnosed with infertility (which was the case in my situation), [fertility] tests are often considered elective.”

The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock :
Tanya Selvaratnam is available on Amazon

Read entire post on Refinery21

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