How soon is too soon?
(Can I just say, I have yet to meet this mythical too-focused-on-career-and-now-full-of-regret woman? I live in probably the career-woman capital of the world, and in all the time I've spent in RE waiting rooms over the past year, I'd say that most of the women I've seen look like they're around my age--early 30s. Even at Cornell, which is a lot of women's last stop on the ART train, 32 percent of fresh IVF cycles in 2003 were done by women under 35. Finally this is a gross generalization, but I'd say that of the women I've encountered online for whom age may be a factor in their IF, not one has said that she intentionally put off having kids until her 40s because of her career--it seems like the real issue was finding a partner they wanted to parent with. So can we please drop the whole "working women are destroying the children!" crap?)
Anyway, what struck me about this story was the lead anecdote, about a couple in their early 20s (I think she was 24) who sought treatment after TTC for just four months. She ultimately conceived with the help of Clomid. Now, far be it from me to dictate who "deserves" IF treatment or not--certainly there are infertile women of all ages, and perhaps this woman already knew she had an underlying health condition like PCOS or endo and was just being proactive (the story didn't say), but what OB or RE in their right minds gives Clomid to a 24-year-old who's only been TTC for four cycles? (I guess art does imitate life.)
I worry that women who jump the gun on seeking fertility treatment (again, far be it from me to define what that is--certainly, if you have a known health condition that might affect your fertility, there's probably no such thing as too soon, and if you're 25 and have been TTC for a year, you have just as much right to be taken seriously as infertile as a 35 year old) give the rest of us a bad name. It just feeds the assumptions of people like my coworker, who believes that a lot of women seek treatment unnecessarily and just need to be patient.
Then there was this recent study, which took two groups of women with unexplained infertility, one group receiving IUI plus ovarian stimulation, the other receiving no treatment at all. After six months, the researchers found that the ones who didn't undergo treatment were actually slightly more likely to achieve an ongoing pregnancy.
Again, I fear that this study will only give ammunition to the "Just relax!" crowd--when of course the key is that these were all women with unexplained infertility. I don't discount the very real pain of women who experience unexplained infertility, but a lot of the women in this study probably just fell into the statistical fraction of women who take a little longer to conceive naturally. I would hate for someone to see this study and think, "Maybe I just need to wait another year," and delay seeking treatment that they really do need.
Anyway, thinking about all this made me curious: How long did all of you TTC before seeking treatment? Were you actively TTC right away, or did you just stop using birth control for a while, then later started charting etc.? What other factors affected how long you waited? (For example, I already knew I had PCOS, so I actually consulted an RE before going off the pill, and I started charting right away to see if I was ovulating--but I didn't begin treatment until after nearly a year and a half, because I had no IF insurance coverage until then.) And how old were you when you got started? (I was 30.)
And if there's anyone reading who didn't have trouble conceiving, or who hasn't started TTC yet, how long do you think you would wait before seeking treatment?