04/25/2012 05:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Infertility: An Age-Old Problem

I performed the first successful in-vitro fertilization procedure in Massachusetts, the third in the country, 30 years ago. Although there have been tremendous advances over the past 30 years to give many couples the possibility of having a baby who might otherwise not have been able to have one, one thing hasn't changed: the impact of age. The chances of a woman naturally having a baby after age 35 decline by about 50 percent, and decline by about 90 percent after age 40.

Infertility is defined as one year of attempting conception without success. Some celebrities seem to have babies in their 40s, and it seems simple. But sometimes, they may not disclose that they received an egg from a younger women by a procedure called egg donation. So if having a baby is in your future plans, get started before age becomes an age old problem. If age is a factor, don't wait to be seen. If you're over 35, see an infertility expert if you don't conceive naturally within six months. If you're over 40, be seen after 3 months of unsuccessful trying. Making a baby takes time. See my video on below, "Making A Baby Takes Time."

I wrote this poem early in my career as a tribute to infertility patients and the invisible loss they experience.

Infertility: The Child Who Might Have Been

The simple union of man and wife
In love creates a brand new life
A child to cherish, play with and be
Their link with immortality

What bliss and joy they anticipate
Unless infertility becomes their fate
And buries dreams which die within
As they mourn their child who might have been

© Mache Seibel, MD

Do you know someone who's had infertility or experienced it yourself? Forward this and post any comments you have. Are you or someone know planning a pregnancy soon? You'll find this interactive pregnancy planner and journal helpful; it's called Journal Babies.

Read more here.

For more by Mache Seibel, MD, click here.

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