Saw It On Social: Modern Fertility

Mar 4, 2019

Last year, I was at an event, when a woman in her 20s, with three children, asked if Kyle and I were planning to have kids.   When I deflected (because who wants to have this conversation with someone you met barely 20-minutes ago?), she said, “Well, you’d have a geriatric pregnancy now, what do they call it if you wait until 40?”

After I finished burying her body in the backyard, I asked a friend who had children later in life for some advice.  “The only thing I wish I had done sooner is go to the doctor.  If something’s not right, you want to know before, not after six-months of trying.”

Decisions have consequences.  When I decided that I wasn’t going to date for nearly a decade, I knew that putting off dating meant putting off having a family.  Even though it’s very in vogue, I opted out of freezing my eggs due to a combination of cost and lower-than-expected success rates.  So like many career-oriented women, I find myself in my mid-thirties wondering if having children is in the cards for me.

Enter Modern Fertility.  

Like many tech startups, Modern Fertility claims to be disrupting the fertility industry while providing women with knowledge about their reproductive health.  For $159, you can receive an in-home test kit (or opt for the lab visit) that tests eight hormones commonly associated with reproductive health.  It also provides access to online resources and health information.

My Testing Experience

I received my test in early January and held onto it until the third day of my period, when you’re supposed to test.  I also made sure Kyle was here because I have a bone-crushing phobia of needles, and knew I would never be able to prick my finger myself.

Once my finger was pricked, I was expected to fill two rather large sample cards with blood.  This was not as simple as anticipated, and required a lot more blood than I expected.  But once it was done, I packed up the cards in the pre-addressed box and sent them back to Modern Fertility.

Then, I waited.  And waited.  And e-mailed.  And waited.  And e-mailed again.  Waited some more.  Called.  E-mailed.  Waited.  You get the picture.

The company tells you that they’ll have your results back to you in 7-10 business days.  In my case, it was 26.  And it was only after a fifth e-mail, pointing out the previous four e-mails and phone calls, that I got a response saying my test would be ready the next week.

I received my results on a Tuesday.  Modern Fertility scheduled a private, group conference call with a “fertility nurse” for the next day.  This call allows women in that week’s testing group to ask questions anonymously, but I was in a committee hearing and couldn’t participate.  Testers also have the option to schedule a one-on-one consultation and have the results forwarded to their doctor.

So am I happy with my testing experience?  

Well, according to the tests, all of my hormones are “within range,” but every section of the test comes with a depressing caveat about “being over 35” or “because you’re 36.”  It’s essentially their way of saying, “Sure, everything looks normal, but we make no guarantees about how meaningful this information is because you’re past the age when science says you had a good chance of having a healthy pregnancy/kid.”  So while I’m glad I took the test, the results don’t mean much to me in this vacuum.

I think the results will be more meaningful once I can talk to my physician about them more in depth.  However, since I’m not currently trying to get pregnant, they’re not extraordinarily illuminating.

As for the testing process itself, this was easier for me than going to a doctor.  One, because I’m not in the same city as my doctor right now.  Second, because I could avoid a real blood draw, which for me, is worth its weight in gold.  And lastly, I liked the casual way I could take the test at home, send it off, and not have it feel like this overwhelming, official medical test.

Would I recommend Modern Fertility?  

If you’re looking to get an overview of your reproductive health, it’s a convenient way to do that.  It’s also helpful for starting a conversation with your physician about your goals and options.  But don’t go into this test thinking that it’s going to provide you with life-altering clarity.  It is, at its most helpful, a tool.

Also, while I didn’t get any big news from my test, there is no guarantee that your test will be as mundane.  An acquaintance who also took the test discovered that, at 31, her hormone levels suggested she might be entering an early menopause.  You can imagine the impact this has had on her life.  But when I asked her, she was glad that she had the information so she could follow up with her doctor.  So be aware that this can have consequences for your life that you may not have anticipated.

Bottom line, if you’re curious, the Modern Fertility test is a tool to learn more.  Don’t expect too much from it, but be open to the information it can provide you.  And if you hate needles, I highly recommend finding someone to prick your finger for you.

Saw It On Social is a column where I review the products that Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest think I need to buy.  I do not request freebies, and I do not accept them.  Full disclosure, I had talked to Modern Fertility about doing a different kind of sponsored post when they launched, and ultimately decided that it wasn’t right for this type of review.  No money changed hands, and I purchased my test myself.

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  1. JUles says:

    That’s a really fascinating tool for information about fertility. The part about blood on two little sheets of paper made me chuckle a little bit because I’m just entering my IVF protocol to be a a single mom by choice and the very first order of business is a massive blood panel. Like a full vial for every single test and there were over 8. I just remember thinking it seemed excessive considering how small of a sample Law and Order has led me to believe is necessary.

  2. KB says:

    I’m curious about this. Why not just go to your doctor to get the blood tests done (and presumably covered in part by insurance)?

    • Alison says:

      Curious about the same, unless its the quantity of blood that’s the kicker here? Regular doc’s office would probably do vials.

      • Summer says:

        Fertility diagnostics, treatment, and similar are still largely excluded by insurance as “elective.” Having been through IVF, I can attest the costs associated with all the testing prior to even starting the process can be astronomical. We were very very fortunate that we only needed one round to have our daughter, because I’m not sure we could have afforded a second one.

        • Edna Mazur says:

          Seconding this. My insurance considered everything until I had a positive pregnancy test elective (except my husbands $60 sample analysis, that was covered, WFT). Five figures later I have a family, but my doctor wouldn’t even run tests until we had been trying for like six months or a year, and it was all out of pocket.

    • Kate says:

      Many doctors will not order blood tests for hormones/fertility unless you’ve been actively trying to get pregnant. Most fertility-related procedures are considered elective and are not covered by insurance.

      • Belle says:

        I was told that if I went in and my Doctor demurred, I should just lie and say we were trying. I was like, I don’t need to lie. He’ll give me the damn tests or I’ll find a new doctor. Then, I did this instead.

    • Belle says:

      Well, first off, I was trying to avoid a stick with a real needle. When I say I have a phobia, I am not kidding. I “know” it’s all fine, but what I know, and what my body believes are two different things. I often faint, and sometimes throw up or devolve into crying hysterics when I have to have blood drawn for real.

      Second, I’m not in the same city as my regular doctor right now. So I would have had to wait three more months for that.

      Third, like many women in smaller communities, it takes weeks if not over a month to get an appointment for a non-urgent medical issue. So this seemed faster.

      Lastly, I liked the ability to have it in my own home. And I think that will appeal to a lot of people.

      • rex says:

        As someone also currently in Montana (I’ve been in Billings for 5 years now after moving here for work during 2014 midterms), I appreciate the note about smaller communities. My husband and I had to see a reproductive endocrinologist in 2017 and it took a fair amount of time for us to get a referral to begin with and then get an appointment to start being seen.

  3. E says:

    As a woman raised in the south, I still find myself shocked by how much complete strangers will delve into your plans to procreate.. When will this stop being a thing? (Nice sense of humor on it though, Abra). I just always think that for all this person knew, you and Kyle are trying now and are devastated that it’s not working–you never know what someone is going through and the comment wasn’t just rude, it could have been incredibly insensitive. Sheesh.

    • Belle says:

      It will never stop being a thing. People are so rude and intrusive about marriage and kid decisions. They never think anything of it when bringing it up. And no matter how many times we tell people, there are women and men who have REAL fertility issues and have had miscarriages and you are being hurtful, they will not stop.

      I almost never get asked by people close to me. It always seems to be people I barely know.

  4. Kate says:

    This is so interesting. I’m three IVF cycles in at this point so there isn’t really a test that hasn’t been done, but with my experience/perspective, I’d want to know more about the lab that is doing the request. I’ve had my test results fluctuate quite a bit depending on the lab used. Because of this, my current clinic is adamant that all testing go through them. I’d also be worried about the possibility of a false positive coming from a test like.

    From my experience, general physicians and ob/gyns won’t run a fertility panel. You need to go to a reproductive endocrinologist. Others might, but mine wouldn’t.

    For anyone thinking about running a fertility panel, if there is a man in the equation, make sure he gets tested at the same time as you. ‘The more you know…’ applies to both people here even when women endure most of the questioning!

    • Belle says:

      A friend of mine was told when she went in that her doctor wouldn’t test her without testing her husband. He wasn’t going to “waste” her time only to find out it was him later. I think it’s a good policy.

      • Kate says:

        I completely agree! I look forward to the day that women get asked (hounded?) about their plans to procreate at the same rate as men.

        • Belle says:

          They’ve started to bother Kyle almost as much as they bother me. It’s kind of fun. He gets initially uncomfortable, but the thing about it is, any answer he gives is acceptable to 99% of people who ask. Where any answer I give just elicits more questions.

      • LHW says:

        I’d say this is common and I would push for it if readers ever find themselves in this position. It’s a lot easier to check male factor infertility than sonograms, multiple blood draws and the dreaded HSG test {OUCH}.

        I have unexplained infertility, I am well under 35, my levels are perfect, uterus and fallopian tubes are text book and my husband has no issues. Yet, we just finished our second round of IVF. Like freezing your eggs this test is not an insurance policy on how quickly/easily you will get pregnant.

        I was aggressive in wanting to get pregnant when we decided we were ready. My {unsolicited} advice is to learn what timed intercourse actually means, track your ovulation {specifically you c. mucus} and if both of those aren’t yielding a pregnancy in 6 – 8 months, discuss next steps with your doctor. I call BS on waiting a 1 to 2 years. This is science afterall.

        Anyway, not advice for you specifically Belle but maybe someone will find this helpful.

        • Hh says:

          This. This. This.

          Also, good luck with your second round! We have an IVF baby ourselves, so I’ve been there.

  5. Liz says:

    Another vote her for just going to the doctor to have it done.

    Under just about any insurance plan, a consult with a Reproductive Endocrinologist is covered, as is the related bloodwork. (They usually do an ultrasound too to help fill out the picture.) Plus the doctor can give you context on what the results mean. I think every woman should do this at 35 if not yet a mom.

    I went at 35, that prompted freezing my eggs and now I’m working on becoming a single mom by choice at 40. I am SO glad I tested when I did as it showed my egg reserves were below average for my age and I needed to take action.

    I’m curious exactly what test results Modern Fertility sends back. Is it FSH and AMH?

    • Belle says:

      FSH, AMH, Estradiol, Lutenizing Hormone, Thyroid stimulating hormone, free thyroxine, prolactin, and testosterone.

  6. Mercedes says:

    LMAO about “burying her body in the backyard.” Arghhh people are so damn nosy. I’ve found that even once you have a kid, then you get the “When are you going to have another kid?!? You can’t have an only child!” Etc etc. It never ends. So sorry you are having to deal with this.

    • Anna says:

      This. Has. To. STOP. My heart hurts for all the women who get asked about having kids and are dealing with fertility issues. It really isn’t the casual question so many people seem to think it is.

      • Belle says:

        People who haven’t had any trouble conceiving and/or got married at “the right” time never seem to find these questions intrusive. I’m glad you’re the average woman who had the major decisions of your life happen on the calendar that society accepted as normal, but don’t assume that allows you to ask the rest of us why we’re behind.

        • ALH says:

          “Right time” marriage/kids here, still find the questions intrusive (and did when I got them years, too). With age I have grown harder and usually respond with a comment about making a personal choice not to discuss my reproductive habits with anyone other than my partner and doctor. But my guess is that this will never not be a question we get asked.

    • Belle says:

      I’m sorry any of us deal with it. I’m sorry if I ever asked anyone anything like this in the past.

    • Cait says:

      I had two kids 18 months apart and I get all kinds of nosy questions asking if #2 was planned. We really can’t win.

  7. SC says:

    Fertility is so personal, and I’ve had too many friends and relatives struggle with it that I just cringe to even think about asking people when they’re having children. If they want to tell me their plans, they will. If they want to tell me things aren’t going so well, they will.

    All the best to you and Kyle if that is a road you choose to venture down.

  8. KIMBERLY says:

    Gah, I got the question about “when I am going to have kids” all the time at work. Then when i was pregnant, it was you are going to quit now right? Um, no. People are so nosy. I had to explain to a coworker and fellow lawyer how inappropriate the question was not only from a plain manners-perspective but from a legal perspective as well.

    What does this lab do with your medical info? That is the thing that bothers me about a lot of these at home medical tests. Are you selling my info to Facebook? Big pharma? Russia???

    • Belle says:

      I need to go look at the privacy policy for MF. After finding out my period tracker was selling my info, I’m pretty sure everyone is selling my info now.

  9. S says:

    While much of the fertility process isn’t covered, in my experience these blood tests and initial consultations typically are. I have done two diagnostic tests/appointments (one a year+ after the first) and both were fully covered under two different insurance plans. Even if you were to do this mail-in test, then go to your doctor – I would imagine they would want to rely on their own tests and labs.

    Maybe its my aversion to the growing trend of quick DNA tests – but I would have MAJOR privacy concerns with this. The fertility industry is booming and companies would pay lots of $$ for this type of targeted personal information. From your description of the lack of customer service and delay – this company does not seem savvy, reliable, or trustworthy with this type of personal information. While group sessions may highlight questions you weren’t necessarily thinking of – many doctors and clinics provide these for free, of course with the intention of selling you. But $159 seems like a rip off, especially without direct explanation or consultation of your results.

    Exploring fertility is hard and there are a lot of emotional aspects on top of all the physical. But there are a lot of resources and its empowering to learn the information and understand your body. The WaPo did a great video series about a young woman exploring all of this.
    We need more conversation about this. And to remember its incredibly brave to ask these questions and go through these efforts. With such a vulnerable and personal issue, its easy for a company to guarantee a quick, easy solution and take advantage of people.

  10. Chris says:

    Funny coincidence (or is it?!), The Atlantic just published an in-depth piece on how these fertility testing and egg-freezing companies are advertising on social, and the questions this raises — both about the science and reliability, but also the cultural pressures and the sales pitch.

  11. Kay says:

    Kudos to you for taking this test – you may have helped many ladies with this post. If anyone has insurance coverage for this kind of testing on a company-paid plan, those benefits are likely to get pared back in the future. I believe the more people that take advantage of this type of service the more competitively priced and widely available it will become from all providers. I am 54 and I waited too late to get around to fertility issues – I can’t imagine there could be any downside to getting more data early.

  12. Kelly says:

    Another vote for just going straight to your doctor to have this done. This seems like it would create an unnecessary, potentially anxiety-inducing, step that you could just cancel out by seeing your doctor so they would give you the results with some context. I also echo the question of what the labs are doing with this info.

    • Belle says:

      For me, the needle in the arm was the anxiety-inducing step I needed to avoid.

    • pomm says:

      Gently, to you and Liz above, I don’t think we’re voting on Abra’s fertility. I’m sure this was just a phrasing thing, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is someone’s life. It’s nice of her to have shared this, but we don’t get a say. The Truman Show, this is not.

      • Kelly says:

        Good point on the phrasing that I should have considered! I meant it as “women should consider going to their doctor directly” not just Abra, but it was poorly phrased. My heart just hurts for women that get results back like this and don’t have enough context/support from medical professionals to navigate this process (and I speak from years of fertility clinic experience. Sigh.)

  13. Alisha says:

    If anyone has their doctor refuse fertility testing, ask for a thyroid panel instead. It’s usually covered by insurance and includes TSH, T3, free T4 and depending on the lab company, T7. Between that and your standard bloodwork, you’ll have most of the bloodwork you need to discuss fertility except for FSH, estradiol and testosterone

  14. Diane says:

    While “just go to the doctor” may be a great solution for some, I appreciate the review of a product that can be used at home and doesn’t require leaving work to go sit at the doctor’s office for half the day on multiple occasions. It seems that it is directed at women who would like to avoid the hassle of going to the doctor.

  15. Liz says:

    I just had a birthday and all I could do was cry. 39, no guy, no kids, have bern focused on career, and I just feel old. I too have people ask why or if it’s going to happen. Your post was appreciated as I know I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Belle says:

      No matter how many boxes you check: partner, marriage, kids, job, home, etc. there are always people who want to know when you’re checking the next box they imagine you should. I cannot tell you how many times in a week people ask Kyle or I when we’re getting married: WHEN WE WANT TO, AND WHEN IT WORKS FOR US, LAY OFF.

      Even when it is SOOOO hard, you need to trust the timing of your life. As long as you’re putting in the work, what is meant for you will not pass you by. Even when it feels like it’s “working out” for everyone else, and it feels so hard to be patient.

  16. KO says:

    Glad to see your review and appreciate you opening up about this subject.

    I am 36 & always dreamed of a big family. 5 years post divorce, didn’t think this “critical” time would pass so quickly, but I have been enjoying my life & freedom. Freaked out last year & froze my eggs, twice. The 1st round didn’t go well; the 2nd was way better with medication adjustments. It was a lot of work & a lot, lot of money.

    Women deserve more & better information, earlier. If men faced the equivalent of menopause, the medical community would have long ago made sure men knew where they stood fertility-wise….probably every single damn year, & probably covered by insurance for uber accurate lab results. No medical professional ever talked to me about fertility or the concept of being tested in my entire life.

    It’s great MF is out there, but would like to see a world where every annual OBGYN appointment includes info + education on our fertility — from the very start. Why are women in a fertility black box that’s only unlocked when we are trying to have a baby? I call BS that we are only entitled to our fertility status if we promise in earnest to make a baby right now. This needs to change.

    • anna says:

      My OBG asks about family planning at pretty much every annual appointment, and I so appreciate her for it. I have a friend with the same doctor who found it off-putting at first, but really, it’s to open that discussion and make sure we know what we’re getting into. This year (33) I asked her about fertility and if there’s anything I should worry about, and she brought up these tests. Her take was that they’re useless unless you’re actually trying. Basically they tell you where things stand at one point in time, but not where they’ll be when I’m actually ready to try.

      • January says:

        Interesting – I asked my ob-gyn about these tests at a recent visit, and she said the same thing.

      • KO says:

        That’s awesome to hear your OBGYN is having a dialogue, Anna. Yes to this! What I learned leading up to my egg freezings (I considered it for about 3 years prior) is that knowing where you stand year to year is helpful. For example, you might see a drop off from one year to the next — indicating that you’re reaching a critical point where fertility (& egg counts) starts drop off. This is what led to my decision to freeze eggs: my results from 1 year to the next showed a pretty significant drop off happening. So I took action with that knowledge.

        A drop off may happen at age 35-37 on average. But for others, it can happen sooner (or later). Same goes for menopause – there is the average, but women’s bodies are all different. I’ve known a couple of women shocked by early menopause right around age 40. From what I learned through the preservation process, these women may have benefited from annual data on their levels. Low levels and/or a drop off in count would be known much earlier & these women could plan accordingly.

        By insurance company standards, we are left to plan around “average” fertility for all women rather than our own individual status… unless we are trying right now. Knowing that women are trying later & later – especially professional women – I hate the idea that “right now” comes “too late” for women who have been assuming they are within average.

      • Kir says:

        Are you in DC? Would you mind sharing your obgyn contact?

  17. Amanda C says:

    Just a heads up, but once you are pregnant you will be subjected to blood draws and more draws when you deliver the baby! I don’t say this to scare you, but to prepare you. I was really taken by surprise when the nurse came to take blood for me after my baby was born. It was quite a lot, too. I was like, “Did I do enough here today?!” lol. Best of luck to you and let us know if you need help burying those bodies. (Figuratively of course…gotta be careful here on the Internet.)

  18. Lauren says:

    On another topic, I’m always interested in how you found Kyle and got into such a great relationship (it seems!) after not dating for so long. I hadn’t dated for about that long, and I’m struggling, at almost 36, to get anywhere with dating at this point. If you have any advice, I’d love to hear it!

  19. MegaN says:

    My heart hurts for everyone here, and I’ve walked through the pain you’re describing, but I also wish that before women put themselves before the pain and expense and heartache of fertility treatments, they would consider giving a home to one of the 120,000 children currently in the US foster care system and eligible for adoption.

    • JULes says:

      Some people would love to, but the system is designed toward parental reunification. Imagine your heart breaking and watching heart break of a child you loved and intended to give a home to. It is unimaginably cruel.

      “Why don’t you just adopt?” is the flippant question of someone who entirely lacks any self awareness or tact, it’s not your place to speculate why a woman may choose one route to parenthood over another.

      • Megan says:

        I’m sorry that you see it as a flippant response, as I took some pains to avoid exactly that, but I’ve learned that I can’t control how people choose to take things, especially when speaking from a place of pain. I can tell you that there’s nothing remotely flippant about the tens of thousands of American children and the tens of *millions* of children worldwide in need of a stable, loving family. 20,000 children each year age out of the system without ever finding that family, which can have devastating consequences on the entire rest of their lives. I’m sorry you see gentle encouragement to consider whether trying to meet their needs might solve some hurt on both sides as flipppant, and o hope you find the peace you’re looking for.

        • Anna says:

          Everyone knows there are thousands of children who need a home, and I’m sure most women who are dealing with infertility have considered adoption. You don’t know their very personal reasons for choosing one course over another. It comes off as sanctimonious to suggest it, especially when they’re already going through a heart wrenching process. Essentially, it’s making someone who already feels crappy feel even crappier. Why would you want to do that to someone you care about?

          • Kate says:

            Thank you, Anna. Megan, know that women who are going through or have gone through infertility treatments are aware of all possible ways one can add to their family. We don’t need more suggestions, we need people to sit with us, acknowledge the validity of emotions associated with infertility and unwavering support as sort out next steps.

  20. Em says:

    Posts like this are why i love this blog so much. Not only do you provide great suggestions on clothing and beauty products, you tackle issues that we are all facing with grace and openness.

    Thank you for creating this safe space for us all to discuss what we may have been wrestling with solo for a while.

  21. Angie says:

    I had my first and only pregnancy (thus far) at 43, which ended in miscarriage. We’ve been trying for 4 1/2 years. Neither of us have any issues. At this point, I’m just older now. Before that, who knows. We’ve done IVF and every medicine, method, and old wives tale known. Fertility is a mystery. If you can afford IVF, go for it. At least you tried. If you can’t, live your life and when you decide to try, get all of the tests mentioned above, but add Iron. Use the Clear Blue digital ovulation kit (they are the same as all the others, but that smiley face is a great reward. Hey sometimes you celebrate that you’re still dropping eggs!

    Ask your doctor about Geritol (old wives tale that seems to be legit for some), CoQ10 (recommended by my IVF doc), baby aspirin, and Pregnitude. Get your husband tested. Realize getting pregnant on purpose will be a job. Try as long as you can, then try to move forward. I’m currently on cycle #55 – meaning we have tried 55 times to get pregnant. My cut off is when I turn 45. I pray I get my miracle by then. After that, we’re going with the alternative – travel!

    In other news, other options like embryo adoption, etc. Are out there. My doctor has said that the womb is always available. They don’t age! So, if you’re 54 and want to birth a baby, you can! My doc also emphasizes that no one will know except you and your doctor. You can say whatever you want to the rest of the world. Most importantly, find a doctor who supports your journey wholeheartedly. From day one, my current doctor has said, if you want a baby, we’ll get you one. Here are the options. She has been a great support for every decision with facts, options, and prayer. Find that person, because this is hard and you need fighters in your corner, not doubters.

    • Pam says:

      I appreciate the struggles and absolutely respect everyone’s timing and I am also sorry if I come across as nosy.
      I am surrounded by women with huge fertility struggles. Is it really mean to tell people don’t keep postponing or it may become really hard and dominate your life down the road?
      Am I supposed to assume they know the consequence of waiting and my implying that they start young is just making it worse?
      Will you guys burry me in the backyard if I said careers can wait a bit?

      (I am 44, 2 kids and partner at my firm. It was hard for me to get pregnant at 30!)

      • anna says:

        Unless they live under a rock, they know there are consequences to waiting.

      • Angie says:

        Most people aren’t intentionally waiting. They are considering things you may not be privy to – a suitable partner, income/savings, stability, maturity, belief system – children aren’t like getting a new toy. They are a lifetime, expensive commitment. I started trying at 39 because my husband and I married at 39. There is time lost dating, but is it? We needed to date, grow, confirm each other as a partner before having a baby because of age or time. I’d rather end up where I am and know I have a partner, than to have had a baby on my own. Then I’d have society telling me I’m a failure because of that too. No winning! lol It’s the curse of womanhood – limited childbearing years. There is no way to hurry the process except to skip steps and that can leave you with other challenges.

      • Belle says:

        It’s not like you can one day decide, “Okay, I’m not going to put as much effort into my career, and I’ll start trying to get pregnant this year.” You (usually) need a partner for that, financial stability, a job that can support daycare costs, some emotional readiness. Most women don’t sit down one day and say, “I’m going to make decisions that put me in a position to not have children until I’m 40.”

        Please don’t assume that any of the women around you are unaware that focusing on the career is costing them in their personal lives. Just like if they were focusing on their personal life, it would cost them in their career. You can’t say to someone trade this thing that you are totally capable of doing, that is going so well, that you love for something that may not be going well, that’s based a lot on the “luck” of finding someone. You don’t get to tell them what personal decisions they should make. You made the one that was right for you. Assume they’re making the one that is right for them.

        • Kate says:

          I think this is a role people facing infertility can play much better than one who has not (and when I say role, I don’t mean telling people when to start trying, but raising awareness around the subject). While we’re not overtly public about our struggles, my husband and I are both open with friends and those who decide it is their business to ask about our plans for kids about the fact that we are going through IVF and are almost always open to answering questions that come our way.

          Women are fully aware that time is not on their side. What they might not be aware of is who in their circle has had to navigate all that comes with infertility.

          • Belle says:

            I think this is right. As much as people say we need to be more open about our struggles, there’s a line for me of some things are just easier to deal with in private.

  22. Alex says:

    Modern Fertility’s delays, poor customer service, and highlighting the “at-home convenience” made me think of a book I just finished reading about the collapsed blood testing startup Theranos – Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. I usually don’t read non-fiction but it was a page-turner!

    It seems that Modern Fertility is not trying to invent new technology per se, but rather use existing labs and make the testing process more accessible and educational (

    So, not as much about MF, but definitely recommend reading Bad Blood. It has already made me a more educated medical/healthcare technology patient by wanting to ask more questions related to this post about what exactly the company is selling, whether the technology and tests are peer-reviewed, independently validated, etc.

  23. KMD says:

    I wanted to chime in to say I went to my OB for all of these tests when I was 33 and not pregnant after 6 months of timed intercourse. Although the rule was that I was required to wait a year before I could get an infertility workup, my OB was able to code the tests as “pre-conception testing” and get them covered. As it turned out, my numbers came back dismal, and I was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist so much earlier than I would have been otherwise (though all of my work with REs since then has been entirely out-of-pocket, thanks to an “infertility exclusion” in my employer’s health insurance plan, which is so depressing).

    I also wanted to add that, being a Type-A personality, I had asked my GP shortly after I got married at age 29 if there was anything I needed to do to prepare my body to get pregnant in a few years. She blithely said, “Nope, just go off your birth control pill and start taking a prenatal when you’re ready to get pregnant.” Of course, by the time I did that 3 years later I learned for the first time that I had barely any good eggs left, and now, two miscarraiges and a failed IVF cycle later, I am moving to donor eggs at age 35. I am so thrilled science is able to provide us this unique way to have our family. But I will always wonder whether I might have had a different outcome had my GP offered me pre-conception testing at age 29. Perhaps I could have frozen my eggs then.

    I think women need to be educated on the fact that, despite what they see in the media, fertility can be a true challenge as they get older. I applaud companies like this for helping women to get a glimpse into what their reproductive futures may hold.

  24. Carrie says:

    As a practicing OBGYN, I wish more women would recognize that the fertility drop after 35 is largely based off ancient studies.

    • Belle says:

      Someone told me that. That it’s based on some French numbers from the 1600s or something. Is that right?

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