“Should Women Delay Motherhood” is the topic of conversation for a New York Times “Room For Debate” symposium. A range of perspectives are offered, from the young Ivy League graduate who became pregnant at age twenty-three and has no regrets to an academic who argues that early motherhood serves as a disservice to women’s academic careers. The full debate can be found here.
Among the participants in the seven person forum, only one writer cautions against the risk of overreliance of IVF or other forms of assisted reproduction. In her response titled “Know What You’re Doing If You Decide to Wait,” Miriam Zoll offers the following advice:
Delay — but not for long — if you intend to adopt or foster a child, or if you’re comfortable gambling on expensive fertility treatments, like in-vitro fertilization or egg donation. The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal I.V.F. failure rates as high as 68 to 78 percent in women ages 35 to 40, and 88 to 95 percent among women 40 to 44.
Here at the CBC, we applaud Ms. Zoll’s reminder that women should be fully informed of the high risk of failure and false hopes offered by IVF.
But it’s also important to remind these women of the health risks that accompany egg donation that too often go unmentioned—in particular, the fact that there have been no long term studies on the risks of women that “donate” their eggs and the medical realities of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and other cancers that have been linked to the practice. Such information should be a critical part of any debate on delaying motherhood, and the New York Times is remiss in not including this aspect in the debate.
Should Women Delay Motherhood? That’s a question that every woman will have to decide for herself. But she should do so knowing not only the financial risks and limitations of IVF—but also the health risks that are perpetuated by the fertility industry under the false labels of “science” and “medicine.”