I have a book review for you this morning!
Not sure if its a coincidence or not, but in the same week that I received the request to review Dear Thing, I got one to review this book, In Her Own Sweet Time, which also focuses on my professional work in infertility.
This is not a novel, however, but both a memoir, as well as an informative compilation of qualitative and quantitative research about age-related infertility and the choice more and more women are making now to become single parents by choice.
Her experience mirrors that of many of my clients. She simply has not found a partner to settle down with in a committed relationship, and becomes aware of her biological clock. She ends of freezing some eggs, but then later on opts to conceive via insemination with donor sperm and now has a son.
I have lots of clients that freeze their eggs, but even more who opt to conceive with a sperm donor. Unfortunately, many of them wait until their chances of conceiving are extremely low, because of their age.
In case you don't know, it is pretty tough for women over 40 to get pregnant. The thing is, I actually think calling women who chose the donor sperm route as Single Parents by Choice is, for many, rather inaccurate. Sure, I have had women come in, and are actually excited to do it, some are even quite young, still in their early 30s, but the vast majority are doing it because they feel they have NO OTHER CHOICE. I have had many women who get hysterical as we discuss it because its actually not what they really want - what they want is to have found a life partner, someone to start a family with - before time started running out. They are often scared and heartbroken.
Working with women in this situation has taught me that:
(1) I am pretty damn lucky to have met Adam, and met him when I was young...in fact I was just 25 and he was 23...we were practically still kids!! I chalk it up to chance and luck, frankly.
(2) All this BS in the media accusing women of delaying childbearing for their careers is way off base. Most of these women have not found a partner...or found one and it didn't work out, or the partner decided he didn't want kids.
I find the current state of our society very concerning, and its not because of what women are doing. Its because of men. At least in big cities, there is very much a culture among male professionals to work hard and play hard, and they are the ones that are often delaying settling down and starting a family...by choice! Especially with Internet dating, they just want to play the field until they are getting towards their late 30s or 40s...and then want to find a much younger woman! I worry for my daughters and, to be honest, I will be advising them to freeze their eggs if they aren't settled down by their mid 30s.
In the book, Lehmann-Haupt describes her own experiences with dating and trying to find a mate, and interviews many other women who have taken alternative paths to starting a family. She has also spoken to infertility specialists, and done her homework in terms of the statistics and success rates for various assisted reproductive technologies.
I was very relieved to get to the end of the book and discover, she was, in fact, successful in having her own child. I think this book is very useful and informative for any woman with concerns about her fertility who is considering her options. In fact, I will be recommending this book to my clients considering egg freezing and/or using a sperm donor.
Disclosure: I was sent this book by the publisher, but all the opinions on this blog are my own.