A dear friend I have made since we both started our 'have a baby' journeys was on the Dr Oz show yesterday, a show I typically never watch. This friend is 45 years old and had written to the show about the plight of older women and what they face when they try to start their families. She was invited to participate in the show. Her story is very touching in that she was pregnant naturally early this year and was forced to terminate the pregnancy due to a very rare complication that had nothing to do with her age or a chromosome defect.
I was very disappointed by this show. The show, instead of presenting a sympathetic view of the difficulties faced by 'older' women trying to conceive, was a forum for the question 'should older women have babies', a totally different aspect of the issue. It is a fact, 'older' women try to have babies and do have babies. The difficulties they face are the same as someone younger but there are additional difficulties that are vastly different.
As for the question, 'should older women have babies', I kept hearing the phrase, 'both sides of the argument are represented', but I heard much more against the issue than for the issue.
I was not impressed with the founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. She came across more as a fire-breathing radical who seemed to believe that if you have not had your children by a certain age, you have lost all rights to motherhood. She kept making reference to 'studies' which she did not name which predicted dire consequences for people who tried to have a baby by artificial means. Clomiphene Citrate is a well vetted medication that has been used for years. Tell me where I can find these studies so I can judge for myself. She did have one comment with which I totally agreed. She alluded to the fact that if you're poor, you don't get a surrogate, you don't get IVF, you get nothing. Unfortunately, it wasn't presented in a light of how expensive infertility treatment is, let's solve the problem (lower the cost, insurance should cover it, etc.) It was presented as being prohibitively expensive, so just don't do it!
Dr. Jain, who has treated older women did state that yes, older women have special issues but they can be dealt with by screening the patient for her state of health, counseling, etc. His arguments, though valid, seemed pallid compared to Jennifer Lahl's. This appeared to be an impression created deliberately by the show. Dr. Jain is a doctor and infertility expert while she apparently does not have these same qualifications. What she does have is the ability to forcefully argue that she is right. Her arguments sounded like demagoguery while his were pedantic.
The show was a sensationalistic presentation of the issue. Yes, the biological clock is a reality and doctors should be talking to their patients about it. That is a medical/health care issue and not one that can be adequately addressed by a show of this type. The show asks the wrong question. The question is not 'should older women have babies'. The reality is, we are having babies, the question is how do we handle/solve the issues involved with that fact.
What did the rest of you think of the show? It actually made my husband angry. He said he hoped other women didn't watch it because it was so ridiculous.
Thanks for this post. Yes I fully agree that the show was biased, but I also have to remember that they made me fully aware it would be a controversial show. I was also suprised to watch the show and see a lot of what was taped that day, was not on the actual show aired, like the 52 yr old with babies from donor eggs...or my handsome man being asked questions by Dr. Oz.
I guess what we expected to see was a Doctor who was going to talk about age and TTC and all the issues that go with trying to have a baby at a later age. But in reality, he is a Doctor and of course he is going to expand on the "medical" realities of what happens at our age. I wished he would have had a little less on about these younger girls who think we shouldn't even be trying at our age, but once again I have to remember that he is going to capitalize on what will sell the show.
I asked my mother how she felt about the show and she said it was good and very informative. She further said if they just did a show on our struggles it be short because we would all have the same exact thing to say.....spent the money, eggs didn't take, had a miscarriage, tried again, how expensive, etc. etc. So I am sort of torn on the final outcome. I agree with Dr. Oz telling all aspects of pregnancy over 40, but it didn't have to have such a negative spin.
My goal in appearing on this show was this: I hope that every woman in America and beyond who saw the show has a reality check on age and fertility. What I said on the show...that never aired was this....I would have never changed anything I did in my life nor would I have dropped having a career to have a baby. The only thing I would have done differently is by age 35 had I known my eggs were dying exponentially, I would have frozen my eggs back at 35 to finally start a family at 45.
I agree with your comments especially on the lady form Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. She kept spouting off studies and such but I have looked into some of those same studies and she wasn't giving all the information. As Dr. Jain did try to tell her at one point that the study on Clomid I believe, did not take other elements into account, as I remember it, they did not rule out other factors which could play a part in contributing to cancer in the study group so the study isn't entirely accurate. But she interrupted him because he didn't use the correct word (I can't remember what he said) and she acted like it was a study so it had to be right. Even though we all know scientific studies are proven invalid all of the time because of outside factors that aren't accounted for. Then everyone clapped for her! I was so frustrated. I wanted to badly to respond to her comments! She also said that 1 in 10 babies born to women over 40 will have chromosomal abnormalities. What she didn't say, I've read those studies too, is that not all chromosomal ab. are Downs Syndrome. Some are very minor and do not cause any problem for the child. She was into scare tactics to get her point across.
1biologist- I can't believe they left out his comments completely! I was disappointed too.
I think it was a good show and alot of good things were said. I just wish I didn't feel like it brought such a negative light to the subject.
Ladies thank you for the update with this episode of Dr Oz. Here in Australia we have not yet had the show aired (well I haven't seen it yet), I have tried to view it online however every site I attempt to open says it is not retrievable.
I am really disappointed to hear that the show was so one sided and really did not take on an objective view as it should. We should all know by now the world is full of intimidating critics, people who continue to tell us what 'they expect socially'.
I say stuff them all, and paddle your own canoe ladies!
I have to say I am more and more disappointed as I reflect on the show. I am in the process of choosing a donor and the show has stressed me out to the point of a migraine. Now my husband is worried about how a pregnancy (potential multiples) will affect my health.
There was a woman on the show who's mom was 40 when she had her and died at age 47. The woman was warning us AMA ttcers that we will die when our children need us! Would she rather her mom never had her? How ungrateful! People die every day at all different ages from accidents or disease. 47 is a TRAGICALLY YOUNG TO DIE, not an average age! Gosh, I'm so irritated with so many things that were said on that show. Plus I'm PMSing, so that doesn't help lol
We gotta stick together ladies... It's a cruel world out there with haters around every corner!
Read your comments on dr oz- did not see the episode- and not going to either! BUT people die at all ages. The fact that she was 47 is tragic- if this show were NOT about motherhood- it would have been sad about how she died so YOUNG but since she had a small child- she was OLD???? Whether she was a Mom or not- and whether her children were 5 or 15 - she died young. They can now do a show encouraging teen pregnancy bc some people could die in their 20's, 30's and 40's.
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