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Advanced Maternal Age & The Blame Game

The other day I saw a lovely, brilliant young woman who was eight weeks pregnant, but now was having her second miscarriage only a few months after the first one.  “I waited too long,” she told me, sobbing inconsolably. “I put my career before children. This is my fault.”

This woman was 36 years old.

There has been so much written regarding infertility in “older” women.  Any pregnant woman 35 or older is labeled as ‘advanced maternal age.”  But while it is true that fertility drops in late 30’s it does not mean that the situation is hopeless.

Today there are so many avenues to parenthood.

Women need to hear that pregnancy loss or the inability to achieve pregnancy are not reasons for self-blame.  It is difficult enough to decide that the time is right to have children and then be unable to do so.

As I told my patient, the important first step is to make a plan. Any woman having issues getting pregnant in her late 30’s or suffering pregnancy loss should seek the care of an OB provider and possibly a reproductive endocrinologist.  Many options can be explored, from assisted reproduction to adoption. Women and their partners need to learn the facts and decide the correct avenues for them.

Most importantly, the message needs to be clear that they are not to blame for waiting to have children.

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