For some species, the involvement of males in the reproductive process is entirely optional. While the males may exist, they are not essential to reproduction. Lots of animals can reproduce without male involvement, from the smallest insects to the biggest reptiles. Asexual reproduction comes in many forms too, from basic cell reproduction to complex cloning cycles.
The life cycle of this little starfish is looking bright. I don’t have a partner but I would still like the option of having a baby one day. I met with Dr Rachael Knight about my fertility options. After waiting in the reception area at Melbourne IVF, I ascended the steep stairs and she met me at the top of the stairs with a welcoming smile and a positive approach to an exciting step in my life. She was a breath of fresh air.
I’ve previously heard:
“Have you tried internet dating?” (Duh!)
“37 years and 6 months… don’t get your hopes up”
“Are you dating anyone at the moment? (No) Well, you don’t have long.”
“Awww (to another friend), this is the last baby our group of friends will have”
The blood test results that I had done were in from my doctor and Dr Knight politely and professionally explained that they were good, as she expected. I have the average amount of eggs for someone my age, not too low and not high. It would be less than someone younger but she explained that between 33 and 39 years old is a good time to look at egg freezing.
There’s quite a few steps involved to start this process. It’s important to get an AHM test from your GP. Dr Knight then referred me for another blood test that looks for any serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis. You can choose which ones you test for (which is incredible) but seeing as I may end up considering whether to raise my baby alone, and already have a complex disease with Type 1 diabetes, I said “test them all!” This is approx $400.
Following this blood test, I’ll have an ultrasound. Not just any ultrasound though, the brochure says a virginal ultrasound (gulp) “to measure the endometrial thickness, size and number of follicles in both ovaries” (Pathway of care, Melbourne IVF). Then meeting with a nurse, we will establish counselling and the costs involved with the intent to commence hormone injections in a months time!
Before leaving the appointment, Dr Knight advised me that starting to fall pregnant naturally at this time would be the preference. Egg freezing has only a 50 % success rate. We will aim for 10-20 eggs as they individually only have a 5% chance of fertilisation. They have sperm donors if I was interested in that process. She suggested I might also like to consider getting pregnant at 39 and keeping the eggs frozen for a second baby when I’m then over 40.
I hope that one day I do find an amazing partner. For those of you unsure how it’s going to work out for you, just keep swimming! There’s plenty of fish in the sea and many options available today. Work out what is going to make you happy, and go for it.