Marlene Hauser

Fertile Infertility

Fertile Infertility

Hi Everyone

Big and bold: please pre-order, read, review and share MINE, my third novel, with your community! Thank you.

Having just returned from the Oxford Literary Festival, the London Book Fair and the Chipping Norton Literary Festival, I have learned one lesson: connect with your social media community about your novel and ask those in your community to connect with their community about your book, and so on down the line.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, MINE will happily be released on May 28th, which happens to be a favourite day. On May 28th 1956, my brother Bruce, was born, one year and four months after me. Poor, maybe lucky, Mum (her third child by age 26, with one more to go), but certainly jammy for me as I received a fast and forever friend.

MINE of course, while fiction, was inspired by true events, from my life and the lives of others. MINE is about almost “missing the boat,” very nearly missing the opportunity to be a mother. So many women I know bought into the idea that we could have it all: education, career, marriage, children. For many, it has worked out, but for others there seemed to be a lack of understanding about fertility—that it did not go on forever.

A woman’s best chance of a natural pregnancy is in her twenties, like my mum—four in a row. Basic biological facts say conceiving naturally in your twenties and an easy birth are attributed to youth. Clearly this is a tough reality for women, as many are in further education or just getting started on their career in their twenties, and like it or not women have somewhat been sold a bill of goods that they “can get pregnant whenever.” Is it heresy to say this might not be strictly true, or that conceiving might be tougher than expected?

Recently, a young family member who wanted to become a mother made a decision to become one and had her first child: a beautiful, bouncing baby boy. She had a textbook, perfectly natural, conception and delivery. Roughly in her mid-twenties, she had again like many young women a hard decision to make, but I admire her courage when I see her smile replicated in her son! She figured it out: if you want more than one child, do the math. The traditional timeline from meeting a partner, to engagement, marriage, settling in, conceiving (if lucky, a 33% chance per cycle according to—two years of regular sex?), giving birth, settling in, baby number two, etc.… We are talking years. In your twenties, time and biology are still on your side!

So why did I write MINE? I wrote MINE because one day, sitting on a plane, while in my mid-forties I met a woman who was 36. We discussed many things as you do on a long flight. She mentioned her impressive education, her work and the fact that she wasn’t quite ready for kids, had found the right guy, but wanted to put it off for a few more years. I wanted to jump up and shout: “Don’t you know the facts?” The odds of getting pregnant at 36? There’s a 15% chance per cycle according to By 40 it drops to 5%, and by 45 forget a natural pregnancy, maybe even an assisted pregnancy, which some say for a vast majority has a 0% chance.

My fellow traveller said she was considering freezing her eggs. I didn’t want to bark again about drugs and side effects. I didn’t want to say anything about the quality of her partner’s sperm; a recent review of medical literature claims that sperm counts have declined across the world over the last 50 years by more than 50% ( I shared some of my fertility story, and she said, “You’ve got to write about this,” and so I did. The result is MINE, with of course its happy ending.

In recent days, I spoke with a fertility counsellor about MINE, and she nodded, saying not much has changed in 20 years—clearly the technology has improved, but women still erroneously think they can still fall back on technology if they choose to wait. We are still “missing the boat.”

So this May, if a young woman says, “I think I may, I think I might,” maybe give her the benefit of the doubt (and MINE) and perhaps say, “Why not!”


Photo by Natalia Deriabina | iStock