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Hi. Welcome to my "taboo" blog. My name is Steph, and when I first started this, I was still in my thirties. In 2017, I switch decades! I am a Christian, so underlying everything I do and say is the Word of God, and the foundational truths I have learnt over the years. This doesn't mean I'm perfect - I am human. It just means I recognise I need God's help to live this life and try to live out His way, as best I can. So that's me in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I hope you draw strength, hope or encouragement from what you read.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Educate Girls About Infertility?

Reading the paper over the weekend, in my favourite chair with my favourite mug of latte, I was drawn to an article headline, "NHS chief warns women not to wait until 30 to have baby as country faces a fertility timebomb." (Click here to read the full article in the Mail on Sunday)

The story goes that Professor Geeta Nargund has written to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to demand fertility and infertility are included in sex education. She states that women over 30 who have waited and can't have children naturally, or easily, are putting a strain on NHS budget.

Part of the argument is that due to the decline in our bodies beyond the age of 30 (I swear that only a few years ago, this "magic age" was 35....I remember writing about it when I turned 35!), more and more women are struggling to conceive and amidst cries of "but nobody warned me!" are embarking on costly IVF treatments to fund their desire for motherhood. Of course, not all of us are doing that! 

I have two thoughts on this:
1) Are we in danger of penalising heterosexual women over 30 who are trying to live a life holy and pleasing to God, or who are not sleeping around, or who are trying to make the most of their lives while they are single and waiting for Mr Right to wake up and ask her to date/marry her? Ok, so the weekend's article is NOT saying that after this age women shouldn't be allowed to have IVF on the NHS...but will that become the next recommendation? "You were warned at school about how the body declines after 30 and yet still you chose to delay having a family...it's your choice to wait until you're 37, putting yourself and your career first. We will not pay for you to have it all...those days are gone lady. See if your God will help you instead!" How real is this threat? (Click here to read a previous blog about a debate on The Alan Tichmarsh as how, last year) And if that does happen, the chance would be that gay "couples" wouldn't be withheld the free treatment, regardless of their age! I personally wouldn't use IVF, but that doesn't mean I agree with women who want to try this route being told they can't, just because of their age.....although, wait..... It does happen already!

2) I agree. Education should include the reality about the decline of the woman's body from an early age. Not to coerce her into making bad choices just to have a baby..... That would be devastating. But to give her a full understanding of God's plan for the cycle of life. Until this generation, age restrictions on having a baby wasn't such a desperate emphasis, because people were marrying younger. It's only since the 1960s this has changed, since the whole, "Women's lib" thing came in. We have spent so much of our time trying to keep up with the men we were never designed to keep up with, emasculating them in the process, that we have lost sight of the purpose for which we were made. And before I get lynched, our sole purpose isn't for pro-creation.....but the way God made woman, we have to acknowledge and accept that pro-creation, bearing children and raising them etc....rather than be an old-fashioned set back, is actually part of God's design. We can't pretend otherwise any longer.

Should we be warning teenagers about the impact of infertility on our lives when we are older? I think we should definitely be educating them, this is a biblical principle (older women teach the younger women, Titus 2:3-5). But not to scare young women into having babies independently of a healthy marriage relationship (God's plan), or not so that the number of single mothers increases, but so the girls can make healthy choices with all the information they need. 

Would it have made a real difference to my life? I don't know..... I might have ended up marrying someone I didn't really want to be with sooner, just to fulfil my desire for motherhood (that's a whole other blog post about the naivety of church girls!!).

If we look back, in order to look forward, personally, I think Jewish women of old knew. And so I think we are being unfair by holding back the most basic of information due to some misguided notion that if we warn against the age restriction of fertility in women, we will somehow hold them back...... Motherhood, for those who desire it, will only propel our women and girls forward. There's nothing worse than reaching your late 30s and realising that the dream of raising your own children  may never become a reality. 

Father God, I pray you would grant us wisdom.... Especially when speaking to the younger generations. May we somehow be open and real with those younger than us, not to scare them into living out what we would have wanted, but so they can follow closely, the plans You have for their lives. In Jesus name I pray.

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