Monday, November 9, 2009

Scary age

My two best friends and I were all single in our mid-to-late twenties, and would often get together for nights out and many bottles of cheap wine in inner west pubs. Inevitably we'd end up lamenting the states of our respective love lives (or lack thereof). It was around this time we discussed the concept of 'scary age' - the age at which being single would change from being a mere annoyance to something more serious. Vaguely aware that one's fertility is said to decline from around age 35, we fixated on 35 as 'scary age'.

It was my birthday in late September. No prizes for guessing how old I turned. And yes, I'm still single. (Those two friends are no longer single - one got married last December, and the other gets married in two weeks.)

It's a tough age to be single. I'm very independent and like things to be just-so, and the thought of introducing a partner into my very busy life at this stage seems daunting. And it's harder to meet someone - that's why I've tried the speed dating, the online dating, the getting-drunk-and-picking-up-dodgy-men, etc. And if I meet someone, they will be all too aware of the whole declining fertility thing too, which is a lot of pressure to put on a new relationship. Even if I met someone today, it'd take a while to build up to being ready to have a child with that person, during which time my fertility would continue to decline. Gah!

I've been single for about 18 months now, which sucks. But I really only have myself to blame - I've been so busy this year that I haven't wanted to be proactive about dating. That'll change soon, hopefully. (I'm also unhappy with the way I look, which is daft, and will also change soon.) Happily, I still have several single female friends, so we can arrange to go out together when the couples are coupling. (Hmmm that sounds dirty - didn't mean it that way! Also, who else loves Coupling [original UK version of course]? I have the DVD box set. /tangent)

I'm currently doing my Obstetrics & Gynaecology rotation. Almost every lecturer and tutor has mentioned the declining fertility from age 35 thing. By the end of a full week of lectures, I was ready to punch the next person who brought it up! Admittedly, most of the lecturers delivered the message with sensitivity, but some were complete wankers about it - the worst thing they can say is, "Don't leave it too late, don't delay having babies so you can have a career", etc. You can't accuse someone of leaving it too late if they're single!! I can't have a baby by myself!

Or can I? Reaching scary age has got me thinking about the other options. There was a great guest post on Mamamia a few weeks ago from this blogger, about using a sperm donor. I think it's something I should consider, or at least have in the back of my mind. On a few drunken occasions this has come up with one of my gay friends, but it's never been seriously discussed, and probably should be at some point. The other thing to consider is freezing my eggs while I'm still fecund (love that word), although my understanding is that that isn't a particularly successful way of conceiving - but I guess the technology continues to develop.

Of course, it would help if I didn't want to have kids. But I do. I don't care about the marriage part so much (life partner = yes; marriage = if they really want to), but kids are important to me. My career is important too, but I'm willing to put it on hold for the sake of having kids.

We finished the yearbook last night (OH HELL YES WE DID), so my life will slowly return to 'normal', if there's such a thing. O&G study takes centre stage for the next month, but so do exercise and social life and everything else. It's time to turn my life around!


Dragonfly said...

I HEART Coupling. Never got into Sex and the City (actually, I seem to be the only woman EVER who doesn't like it), but Coupling is awesome.

We've had the same talk, great for those who already have kids (which quite a few do) but not really for anyone else. I've had quite a few talks from people about "you are losing eggs, by the month!!!" Not helpful when given to single people. AT ALL.

PS. Happy belated birthday.

KT said...

Thanks! I confess I love Sex and the City too - have the box set, watch it often.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Interesting read KT and I can understand what you mean about declining fertility (even if I am married). And yes the word fecund is fun to say as is fecundity! :P

Stephanie said...

Oh boy, go hard go now is my advice if that's what you want. It will get harder on so many levels. I'm 43, single, and realise I'm probably not going to have children now. I'm kind of accepting about it, I think, although that may change when menopause hits (eeek!!). My thoughts are turning increasingly frequently to a gay friend and the possibilities he might be able to help out, but after having my niece for 24 hours this weekend, I realise the full-on commitment it is. Relentless, non-stop commitment. I can see that you might be able to have a tiny bit of your own life if you were in a partnership but being a single parent.... you'd have to be so utterly utterly committed to the child and accepting of the fact that you'd have very little life of your own.
And as you get older, you get more tired too... MUCH more tired!
I looked into the freezing eggs thing but from what I discovered there has been only about one successful birth as a result of that technology in the world...and it's expensive too.
Good luck with your's not an easy time.

KT said...

Thanks for the comment Stephanie, and thanks for sharing your story. Yeah I don't really see freezing my eggs as a realistic option at this point - especially from a financial point of view (and considering the low success rate). You're right, being a single parent would be very difficult - particularly with the career that I've chosen. Ideally I need a partner, so I'd better get myself out there and find one!! Easier said than done of course.