I begin my Sunday mornings the same way for the past 30 years. Shuffling my way to the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee and reading my favorite newspaper. Yes, I said newspaper. One of my favorite sections of that paper, besides the Business and Travel sections, is the Sunday Styles section and my favorite pastime for 30 years is perusing through the engagement and nuptial announcements. I love people and I love to see people happy and fulfilling their dreams, it is the impetus that drove me to the business that I currently own, and marriage is the epitome of that. I enjoy reading how the couples met, where they went to undergrad/grad school, what they do for a living, what their parents do for a living, where they plan to go for their honeymoon and where they will eventually call home. Reading thousands of these announcements over a 30-year period has taught me a great deal about human behavior. However, what really resonates with me is how diverse the couples have become within that 30-year period. Sure, I’ve observed more ethnically mixed couples, couples of Asian and African descent and with the onset of new federal laws here in the US, an increase in LGBT couples getting married. However, what has intrigued me the most is the average age of many of the couples that are beginning their new life together.

Now, more than ever, people are deciding to marry for the first time in their late 20’s to early 30’s. According to the US Census, in 2015, the median age at first marriage, has been the oldest since 1890. Age 27 for women and 29 for men. There could be many reasons for this staggering statistic, however, I believe that the leading cause is the pursuit of professional degrees and the advancement of their respective careers, especially among women. National Center for Education Statistics indicates that women’s attainment of Masters degrees has increased from 60%(1999-2000) to 62.6%(2009-2010) and Doctorate degrees with women have increased 47%(1999-2000) to 53.3%(2009-2010). This renewed focus on professional development, in addition to many industry’s desire to be more inclusive of women, has led to a decline in younger marriages and ultimately, the decline in younger families. It certainly has affected the 3rd Party Reproductive industry, an industry where I have ran my own organization for 7 years. Infertility has run rampant among these couples, primarily because age is an inevitable risk factor. As the CEO of DIVERSITY FERTILITY SERVICES, LLC, a Fertility Services Organization with 2 companies, Diversity Fertility and Oshun Fertility, that focuses on recruiting and matching Egg Donors and Surrogate Mothers for intended parents who cannot conceive via traditional means, as well as helping intended parent explore all of their reproductive options, I have lived with these statistics, and the people behind the numbers are very real. I have noticed that my clients have delayed their aspirations for family building on average of 5-10 years after marriage which means that many of my clients are staring down the barrel of 40 before they even begin the process. Couple that with the fact that many of my clients have been trying for multiple years before they get to me and what you have are individuals that are extremely frustrated with family building. It is unlikely that these statistics will precipitously drop in the very near future. So the solution for this epidemic is in, what I like to call, “The 3 Knows”.

KNOW YOUR FAMILY MEDICAL HISTORY

While it is believed that male factor infertility is not generally hereditary. There are genetic causes of female infertility. It is extremely important to have “courageous conversations” with family members to understand what you may be up against. Conversations with the women in your family who have had problems conceiving may uncover concerns, such as, premature menopause, endometriosis, Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, etc. and you may be at increased risk of the same problems. Upon learning of any problems, you should immediately see your OBGYN or a Reproductive Endocrinologist (Fertility Specialist).

KNOW YOUR MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT

Preventive Reproductive health measures are key. Controlling the controllable like diet, smoking and alcohol intake are a great start on the road to solid reproductive health. While, most people realize this, they often neglect taking care of the mind through meditation and positive thinking, and addressing the needs of our spirituality. Devoting oneself to strengthen all three will go a long way in preserving your reproductive health.

KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

It’s been my experience that clients who fully understand their options after being diagnosed with infertility tend to have less anxiety. Research and due diligence are always helpful. Also professional resources like Reproductive Endocrinologists and Organizations like mine, DIVERSITY FERTILITY SERVICES, can provide great information to help prepare you for what you need to know.

We’ve come a long way in our society when it comes to the roles of men and women in the household. My daughter and son are living in an era where possibilities are boundless for both genders. As the pursuit of happiness seems tied directly to the attainment of professional degrees and climbing the career ladder, we mustn’t lose sight of preserving our reproductive health.

For More information about understanding all of your reproductive options, please contact us at info@oshunfertility.com