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When is it too late to get pregnant while followng a paleo diet?

by 465 · March 24, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I've decided very early that I don't want to have children. Many women have told me that I'm going to change my mind someday, since they did. I haven't changed my mind yet, but I'm always a bit afraid of later regretting not having children.

I'm 34 years old and have been paleo for about 4 months now. I know that the age to have a healthy baby has been increasing, but I wonder if a paleo diet could mean the eggs don't go bad so early. I don't know much about the science, and I don't even know if the "eggs going bad" is true or not. Is it? If so, could paleo then make a difference on how soon it happens?

I also don't know whether it's true that women go through menopause at about the same age as their moms did. If that's true, then since my mom entered menopause when she was 42 (which I think is a bit earlier that most women), perhaps I would not be very fertile earlier than most women. Does anyone have any knowledge on that?

I just wish I could postpone thinking about that for 10 or more years...

PS: I do like children. :)

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5 Replies

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773 · March 24, 2012 at 08:17 PM

Like you, I never planned on having children. I worked with kids for years--teaching, daycare, summer camp--I just thought having my own wasn't for me.

Long story short, I ended up having a healthy baby when I was 38 (I just turned 40). My aunt had her youngest at 38, and my grandmother had her when she was 38. All healthy babies delivered by moms who were AMA (advanced maternal age). That term still makes me laugh!

When I was pregnant, one of my tests came back abnormal (AFP). Everyone was freaking out--me, most of all. I went to the specialist and was told that my baby had a higher chance of having Down's, but my chances of having a perfectly healthy baby was something like 97%. That's a high number for someone who is supposedly at high risk for having a DS baby.

All this to say that, although there is a slightly elevated chance of having something go wrong, the risk is nowhere near what "they" say. I have been doing some research in this area and IMO, I believe that a nutrient dense, gluten-free diet does improve your chances of having a successful pregnancy.

And if you choose to pass on having kids, that's cool, too. I have friends who are very happy in their child-free lives.

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2341 · March 24, 2012 at 08:12 PM

Fertility drops off a lot in your 30's, paleo or not paleo. I was never able to get pregnant. But I was not eating paleo either. If only I'd known I was gluten sensitive. I would look at freezing eggs if you think you might want children later.

Adoption is always an incredible option. We adopted a brother and sister (3 and 5) from Russia 10 years ago. We decided that we wouldn't spend thousands on fertility treatment (I was 40 anyway so the chances of getting pregnant were small) when there are hundreds of thousands of kids without parent. And yes adopting slightly older kids meant we had a very fast adoption process and we had an idea about how capable the children were, more of a known quantity intellectually / could tell if they had any developmental issues.

Yes I know that my biological kids would be great, but I don't feel I have to have only bio kids.

Adopting is not without risk, and kids brains don't wire well in an orphanage.

However, despite some behavioural issues, (opositional, attachment disorder) our kids are great; smart, funny, outgoing, interesting, athletic, and have their own areas of talent.

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7185 · March 24, 2012 at 07:30 PM

I don't think the "eggs go bad" so much as your body, as you age, isn't as good as weeding out the bad ones by terminating the pregnancy very early.

I'm in a similar position as you. I'm 30 years old and have never wanted children. I love children, it's just that being a mom has never been one of my life goals. Lots of people have told me that I'd change my mind at age 30, but it hasn't happened, and I doubt it will.

I do suspect that the increased health you'd attain by eating more nutrient dense foods such as on a paleo diet would put your body in a better position to grow a healthy baby, if you decide to have a baby at an older age.

Would you be up for adopting, if you decide you wanted a kid in ten years but felt your body wasn't up for the task? Even better, if you adopt an older child as opposed to an infant, then you know what you're getting into (i.e. you know the kid's personality ahead of time) and the child would be older so that would make up for you being a bit older, if you were worried about being an older parent. Adoption is my plan in case I decide later in life that I want kids. And that way, too, I have the added benefit of knowing that I helped a child in need, since it seems older children have a harder time finding families than infants.

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1540 · March 24, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Of course we respect everyone's life choices. If you don't want kids, that's your moral choice. From an evolutionary perspective, nature has a different answer.

In general, I find many women have still never been told the truth about their fertility. In your 20s, your chance of conception is about 25% a month. Somewhere between 28-33, it declines to about 20-15% per month. At 35, you sink to about 10% a month. At 40, you sink again to about 5% a month. "Estimates from embryo biopsy reveal that at least 90% of a woman’s eggs are genetically abnormal when a woman is over 40."

Even if you go the IVF route, your changes to conception only return you to 10%. By 45, your chances of conception w/o technology fall to 1% a month. Beyond age 45, only a very rare woman can naturally conceive at all - the overwhelming majority will need donor eggs. And their chances of conceiving even then rarely return to 10%.

Dr. Michael Fox, a Florida fertility specialist, has had remarkable success with women over 30 who have issues such as PCOS by placing them on a VLC/ketogenic diet. And by remarkable he means just 4 in 10.

Again, I respect your choices. But don't please engage in magical thinking about your fertility as so many do. I hear many of my colleagues say "I'll just have IVF at 40." So they spend $60K and still can't conceive. Thus if you're uncertain, you should in fact take Melissa's advice and freeze what you can.

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3043 · March 24, 2012 at 08:34 PM

I'm in the same boat as you, Pedrita. I'm 31, never wanted to have children and still don't. All of my life people have told me I will regret this decision, but I haven't wavered. I do love children, but I'm unwilling to bring more into this world unless I can really devote myself to them, and bringing them up well. I have seen too many born into families where they are ignored as the parents pursue their own interests at the expense of family time and parenting. (please note I'm NOT saying parents must lose their individuality or stop pursuing their interests- simply that becoming a parent should be a conscious choice to share your life with your children.)

Adoption has always been an option, and should I change my mind this is my first choice. Why? Because so many children already need a loving home, and if I determine that I'm in a financial and emotional place to provide this I would want to help them first.

All the best to you!

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