More and more often, women ages forty-plus are enlisting me to assist them in their quest to find a husband, which is just fine and dandy, except for one little snag. They want to have children. I have no idea what they were doing for the last twenty-some-odd years, but often, single women in their 40s have the idea that they still have all the time in the world to settle down and get pregnant.
Unfortunately, my male clients that want a family are generally not open to meeting a woman over thirty-three — especially if they want more than one child. It is understandable that women are waiting longer to have children; after all, many are building careers and enjoying the freedom to travel, pursue friendships and cultivate personal passions. But many women are also in for quite a shock when they come to the realization that they waited too long, and that their eggs are all but dried up.
Many women are under the assumption that just because they are still ovulating, they are fertile. An article on the website The Telegraph states that scientists have discovered the reason why women find it difficult to conceive later in life is "because they have used up 90 percent of their 'ovarian reserve' by the age of 30, and while they may continue to produce eggs throughout their 30s and 40s, the reservoir of potential eggs from which they are taken has shrunk to almost nothing."
Hollywood reinforces the idea that women can conceive easily well into their forties; we constantly hear about celebrities that are getting pregnant and giving birth, as late as their early 50s. But what the media fails to explain is that these celebs are most likely using another woman's eggs! When I bring up the subject of fertility to a forty-plus single woman who has asked me to match her to a man that wants children, her response often goes something like this: "Oh, I am in excellent health, and I look so much younger than my age. I know I am forty-one, but everyone thinks that I'm in my early thirties. I am sure that I am extremely fertile."
The reality is that the amount and the quality of a woman's eggs has absolutely nothing to do with how young she (thinks) she looks, or how fit or healthy she is. Because a woman is born with all of the eggs that she will have in her lifetime, the older she gets the fewer eggs she has left. And the eggs that are left are often not viable.
An article on the website Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine states: "estimates from embryo biopsy reveal that at least 90% of a woman's eggs are genetically abnormal when a woman is over 40. This is explains the increased pregnancy risk over 40. The miscarriage rate is 33% at age 40. Pregnancy over 45 is a very difficult proposition. Women over 45 have less than a 1% chance of getting pregnant using their own eggs. This is because virtually all of their remaining eggs are genetically abnormal. Successful pregnancy over 45 is therefore nearly always the result of egg donation."
Does this mean that there is no hope? No, it doesn't; there are always exceptions to the rule.
But as a matchmaker, I want women to know and educate themselves on the facts that they don't have all the time in the world, and that these miraculously preganant older celebrities have millions of dollars at their disposal, as well as access to the best fertility doctors in the world.
If you are single and want to have a family, become proactive before you get to your mid-thirties and make finding a life partner a priority. That way, you won't find yourself heartbroken at forty-plus when you realize that the egg timer has rung!
More dating coach advice From YourTango: