Gone are the days when women were confined to the home, and expected to marry, be a homemaker, bear and raise children. Today, they have the choice to build careers, earn money, become leaders, fly planes, even fight wars.
And it is having these varied options and opportunities to become their own person that has often postponed the need to fulfill the traditional role expected of them: have children.
In the past, a woman in her early 20s (or younger) would already have a husband and probably a child or two. Those who had yet to wed in their mid to late 20s would be considered nearing spinsterhood.
Today, it has become more common for them to start families, or at least have kids, in their 30s or even 40s. The initial goal after completing high school or earning a college degree is to explore, work, try out as many opportunities as possible, go out on adventures, and become successful, both financially and career-wise.
They may settle down by the time they reach 30, but would put off having children or not think it unusual if they don't get pregnant early on their marriage.
Fertility specialist Dr. Gia Pastorfide, however, warned that among women 35 is considered a high-risk age when it comes to conceiving. To postpone pregnancy, especially the first one, until one is much older, can become challenging.
In the obstetric world, she explained, 35 is a risky age because it is around this time when complications or comorbidities may set in. As a woman advances in age, so does the quantity and quality of her eggs.
Dr. Pastorfide, also a reproductive endocrinology specialist, stressed it is unnatural for a woman not to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected sex. In fact, obstetricians already define such cases as infertile.
And for women who are 35 or older, six months of regular, unprotected sex without getting pregnant likely means they already have fertility issues.
But science has made so many advancements over the years. First, it has found ways to treat infertility, both for men and women. Second, it has discovered other methods by which a couple can conceive - artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.
And while the technology only used to be available overseas and would cost a fortune, Filipino couples need not go far to get help for fertility and conception issues as there are already specialists and facilities in the country.
But for women, Dr. Pastorfide said there is another option to help ensure they will have less problems and difficulties getting pregnant even past 35.
The technology is called social egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation. Simply, it is harvesting then freezing one's eggs until they are ready to be used for conception. No, it is does not come cheap, but neither are fertility treatments.
And the beauty of this method is that it can be done even when a woman is in her 20s. Doing this means the eggs' age will be retained even when they are used at a later time. If the eggs were preserved at 25, it remains that age.
Freezing, Dr. Pastorfide added, preserves its reproductive potential, and can be used at whatever age as long as the woman has a uterus. While not really advisable to get pregnant at a very late age even using this technology, she said even menopausal women can still conceive using her cryopreserved eggs.
So, the earlier the eggs are frozen, the better quality they are. While women are born with a finite number of eggs, over time there are those that die a natural death resulting in a reduced quantity. Age, too, affects their quality.
And while it is not always a guarantee that a frozen egg will result in a successful pregnancy, what is sure is a better quality embryo.
Considering the cost of cryopreservation, this may not necessarily be an option for all. Still, having this choice available for those who can afford it, is better than none. And although Dr. Pastorfide, who preserved her eggs before she hit 35, is elated at having this technology available, she advised it's better not to wait too long to have babies.
After all, it's not only a matter of conceiving and bringing them out into this world, but raising children and nurturing them to becoming good, productive human beings that is an even bigger challenge.
(For those curious or interested, you may check out Victory A.R.T. Laboratory in Makati City.)
*I interviewed Dr. Pastorfide a few years back and did a previous article on this topic
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Very informative, now adays it's not easy to have children it is a great responsibility we need to have enough resources to provide for our family, it is really applicable for those couples planning to have children for after 3 to 5 yrs but woman must be healthy as always.