I don’t really know why, but despite the thousands of years that human beings have been in existence, there seems to have been so little progress made specifically in understanding fertility from both the man’s side and the woman’s. For a long time in society, people only expected to live until their thirties, and then, well, they’d die. Therefore, their prime time to have a child was in their teens. In modern day society, even in more conservative societies, teens giving birth is… no longer really a thing. The earliest you tend to hear of people giving birth is in their early 20s. But when you live in western society where the goal is for men and women to at minimum finish high school, perhaps college or even graduate school, the age to have a first child gets pushed off further and further. I think a few years ago, I read a stat that said that in Silicon Valley, the average woman has her first child at age 37. Wow.
I guess what I am struggling the most with is… why would a process like IVF pretty much be exactly the same today as it was in the 90s and early 2000s, when Michelle Obama conceived both her daughters via this process? That means 20-30 years have passed, and the process is exactly the same. Why is it like this? Have people just stopped prioritizing research on infertility/subfertility… because of the fact that the main onus is on the woman, with endless hormonal injections, transvaginal ultrasounds, and bloodwork, not to mention surgery at the end, plus progesterone supplementation via butt shots, vaginal suppositories, and oral pills? Men don’t have to be inconvenienced (well, financially, but not physically or emotionally) as much as woman do, so let’s just stop research on this…?
The scariest thing to me about all of the lack of progress in this area is not even the above, but rather the complete inability to evaluate oocyte (egg) quality until after an egg retrieval. Science has long made it possible to evaluate sperm count, motility, and morphology (and thus overall sperm quality), a woman’s estrogen, luteinizing hormone, AMH (ovarian reserve) level… but NOT the actual quality of the eggs. Why is this? …You just have to go through a $15-20K IVF procedure to then find out that your egg quality just sucks? Then, what are you supposed to do with this information — Go home and cry your eyes out?
I was researching the interactions of eggs and sperm earlier today, and read a likely bullshit but nevertheless devastating article that puts even more pressure on women (because, as you can tell, ALL the pressure is on women when there are fertility problems, and even without fertility problems, women have the sole responsibility of carrying a baby to full term!): some random study was done that was trying to evaluate how male factor infertility can be solved for during IVF via “healthy eggs.” The study somehow came to the conclusion that if you have a very healthy, high quality egg, and you inject it with a single sub-par sperm (that’s the ICSI process, minus the sub par status), the healthy egg will be able to “heal” the subpar sperm and develop into a healthy embryo that would be ripe for future implantation.
I read this and immediately closed out the tab. You’ve got to be ****ing kidding me, I thought. The woman even has the responsibility of having healthier eggs than her partner’s sperm and has to HEAL ITS DEFICIENCIES….??!!
Well, if that’s the case, why don’t we all just kill ourselves now and be done with it because we, as women, will always have to do all the work in society, and then some, just to make up for men’s laziness, idiocies, and complete deficiencies. This is just a great analogy.