• Tweet (http://twitter NULL.com/share)
  • Delicious
  • SumoMe (http://sumome NULL.com/)
  • Tweet (http://twitter NULL.com/share)
  • Delicious

By Deirdre Fishel, independent filmmaker, writer and director of SPERM DONOR X.

When I look at my life, there are some things I wish I’d done earlier.

I’m now in grad school, so I can teach full time to complement my filmmaking career. But it would’ve been a helluva lot easier doing it without kids.

On the other hand I wish I had gotten a film into Sundance later. I was 32 and, despite my sales rep wanting me to lie that I was 28, I wasn’t ready for the intense pressure of dealing with producers and agents.

But having my twin daughters at 42 was perfect timing.  It wasn’t just that I was able to devote my thirties to my career; but that emotionally I had the time to distance myself from a complex childhood. I felt really ready to devote myself to another human being.

But, as many of us know, good timing is not what you hear when you walk into a fertility clinic at close to 41.  Instead it’s, “What the hell were you thinking waiting so long?  You’re chances have dwindled to nothing!”

As chronicled in my film, Sperm Donor X (http://www NULL.spermdonorx NULL.com/)—despite the fact that I had no actual fertility issues—I was treated as a fertility problem and put onto Clomid.  After only three tries I was put onto 2 cycles of injectibles then IVF.

My story ends amazingly well.  On the sixth try I got pregnant with healthy twin girls.  But, in retrospect, I wonder if part of that success had to do with the calm that came with deciding that would be my last try.  If I didn’t get pregnant that time I would adopt.

What I felt was this really powerful feeling that I would be a mother no matter what. Stress has been proven to reduce chances of pregnancy.  So, I think it’s key to try to de-stress a super stressful situation.

For me, it helped to think about my options. How long could I do this emotionally and financially? Would I do donor egg?  Would I adopt?

Most of the time I was trying, I was dwelling on how crazy I was to have waited so long, fixated on having a fully biological child in a world that was telling me my chances were lessening – which made me feel totally out of control.

Feeling like I would parent, no matter what, put me back in the driver’s seat of my own destiny.  We all know that our percentage chances of getting pregnant in our 40’s are less than in our 20’s or 30’s.   That does not mean we should all be having kids in our 20’s or 30’s.  There are really valid reasons for waiting and it isn’t impossible!

I had my girls at 42, my friend Nina her son at 43, my friend Michele her son at 44.  Not every woman in her 40’s will get pregnant.  Not every woman—regardless of age—will get pregnant, period.  Some will move to donor egg, some will not.

However, feeling good about our choice to have kids later in life—no matter what anyone else says—is the first step, followed by thinking through our options, trying to remain calm and in the moment. After initially stressing, that was my strategy and it worked.

Notes for this blog:

Deirdre Fishel is an independent filmmaker of both dramatic and documentary films. Her documentary, SPERM DONOR X chronicles her and three other diverse women’s journeys to become single mothers via donor sperm.

To learn more about her and her work go to www.spermdonorx.com or www.mindseyeproductions.com.

7 Responses to The Perfect Time: Motherhood In My 40’s

  1. Lylas says:

    I sure appreciate your honesty about distancing yourself from a complex childhood. Until all that history was put in perspective, it was impossible to imagine being a good mom. Having that extra time to put it to rest made all the difference for me.

  2. M Gatlin -PVED (http://www NULL.pved NULL.org) says:

    First if all I think it’s wonderful you had success in conceiving your draughts after age 40!!!

    You know Fertility clinics are screwed no matter how you view it. On one hand there atre moms like you who go on to succeed after several round of Clomid, then injectible drugs and finally IVF. Then there ate those that none of that works and they move on to donor egg.

    The message that the women I talk to on a daily basis say to me: “Why didn’t someone tell me my fertity would begin to decline at 32 and beyond the age of 40 my chances of success dwindle to about 10% and beyond 44-45 like 1-3%.

    Because celebs continue to have babies well beyond their 40’s the general public is receiving the message that it’s easy to have a baby conception wise after 40 when the reality is – its not.

    I think having a baby and becoming a mother after 40 is a beautiful thing but going into a fertility clinic with your eyes wide open and advocating for yourself is prudent.

  3. Lisa says:

    Bravo! As a 44yo woman planning to conceive, your story gives me hope. I am not going to deal with fertility clinics; I have had two failed pregnancies since 41 without the assistance of drugs or IVF, but the same stigma still applies. My most recent miscarriage was only three weeks ago, yet I am hopeful the next one will take. Society can be so cruel, if you’re not Jane Seymour or another over-40 celeb. We are all human; they are not superhuman just because of celebrity status. Keep that in mind, ANYONE trying to conceive after 40. It can happen to YOU! And I wish you all the very best of luck–whatever your choice of conception.

  4. luv4boys says:

    My 4th son was birthed 11 days past my 42nd birthday and though I have had three sons in starting my late twenties through my early thirties, I struggled to have a very very much wanted 4th. I LOVE motherhood at over 40, it is simply the best time..I am fully comfortable in my own skin and though I have been successful in my career – I always felt I had to juggle both and missed the enjoyment of just letting a few balls drop….I was considered a fertility issue too though NONE of my tests indicated it and after 2 failed IUIs and 2 failed IVFs I had my 4th naturally and he is perfect! Simply perfect!

  5. Kathy says:

    I had my boy at age 45, conceived at 44. I too walked into a fertility clinic with my husband after two miscarriages, full of hope to be knocked down with some of the same phrases…”you waited sooo long…you need to consider a donor egg…you should give up.” I had nothing wrong with me except that I was old, so they said.
    It was heart-breaking. I wouldn’t go on Clomid, I didn’t want any intervention. I did however, go on Chinese herbs. I truly believe they helped me conceive. I did have yet another miscarriage. Then conceived just a few months later.
    I think motherhood is a personal choice. No one should be telling someone they think they’re too old.
    I remember being pregnant at a professional function that was previewing the new tv season shows. One was Dr. Oz talking about motherhood over 40. The woman next to me was appalled. She said there was no way a woman could have the energy to devote to a new child at that age. She had her child before she was 20 so now she was free to enjoy herself and pursue her own interests. And here I was 42 and eight weeks pregnant (that one ended soon after). Had she known would she have said that?
    I would love to see your film, Dierdre. I’m sure a lot of us had similar experiences.
    I’m just happy that everything is coming out in the open now. It’s good to share our experiences and our wisdom. And younger women should know it might be more difficult, but it’s not impossible to have your babies later in life.

  6. LeslieC says:

    Getting pg at an older age is a crapshoot. Jane Seymore used donor eggs so, yes, she got pg, but the eggs were not her old eggs – they were much younger eggs. This is the problem – younger women don’t understand this. While the author and some others are extremely lucky and blessed to get – and stay – pg at age 42 or beyond, it is not the norm. The statistics are facts – our bodies use up the best eggs first. By 35 our fertility is in decline. By 40 it has declined dramatically. I was on an egg donor group and MOST of the women were not even in their 40s, they were in their late 30s but had diminished ovarian reserve.

    So people can believe what they want helped them – their attitude, their herbs, etc. – and maybe those things did, but it worries me a little because it sounds like the things I heard for years – just relax and it’ll happen; when you’re not expecting it, it’ll happen. Just try XX and it’ll happen. In reality, if you hit a good egg that’s not chromosomally abnormal after 40 and especially after 42, you are insanely lucky. At a certain point, and for each of us that biology is different, no matter what you do, nothing will help. Young women need to be very conscious of the fertility decline if having biological children is important to them. As someone who is now 48 and on an adoption waiting list after ttcing with my own eggs at 42.10, then with donor eggs for two years, I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I did. It’s important for young women to have the knowledge and information they need to make a good decision about their fertility and family planning. And not for them to think they’ll be that rare, lucky one who is the exception.

  7. carmen says:

    i really needed to read this article, and these stories of inspiration. i have been feeling lost lately as i just miscarried. i’m 41 and we are using donor sperm and iui, my husband had a vasectomy 20 years ago, his first wife had neurofibromatosis and it would have been dangerous for her to get pregnant.
    the good news was i got pregnant on the second try, we were so happy, but then i miscarried just last week.
    i too feel i will be happy with adoption, i know i want to be a mother any way i can. but right now donor insemination is the first step for us. i have to give it at least 4 more tries, then maybe ivf or straight to adoption.
    i know it might not work for me and i need to find a peace with that knowledge while still giving my best effort on this path. it is a difficult balance, but i’m trying to just think of it as my path in life. i knew full well my fertility was declining in my 30’s. i never thought “I’ll just wait until i’m 41 because celebrities have babies in their 40’s…duh.” it is very insulting and demeaning to imply that most women in their 40’s are trying to conceive because they saw a celebrity do it. give me a break.
    i unfortunately i did not have the means or life circumstances to do anything about my fertility until now. I couldn’t couldn’t afford to freeze eggs, didn’t have a life partner, didn’t have any substantial cash in the bank, couldn’t afford sperm or IUI… when i look back at my 20’s and 30’s the only thing i could have done would have been to trick one of my boyfriends, or try to get knocked up in one night stands risking contracting diseases and who knows what! for obvious ethical reasons, none of that was not an option for me.
    although chances of conceiving are much lower, there are many, many women who start their families and have children over 40. it’s not what they planned, it’s a difficult journey, but for many of us it’s just the way our life has worked out and we are doing our best to work with what we have.
    If it’s really important to you to give birth, it’s obviously better not to wait, if you are ready, then do it in your 20’s or early 30’s. but if you can’t, or you didn’t for whatever reason, do not feel bad about it, you are NOT alone. Don’t give up hope and keep trying, that’s what i’m going to do anyway.
    Also remember that motherhood is not just about 9 months and delivering a baby, it’s a lifetime journey of caring, loving and nurturing a child and raising a family. Adoption is a beautiful option.
    also, one more thing, my brother’s girlfriend was 42 when she delivered my beautiful healthy nephew, my brother was 40. AND that was just an accidental pregnancy, they were technically on a break when it happened! now, they got lucky.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *