I have to admit, I’ve been following the Kardashians. Not in their day to day life, but I started watching the show a couple of months ago. Now the show has a spot on my dvr. In the last couple of episodes, Khloe started exploring why she has been unable to get pregnant. I believe this happened with a little pushing from Big Sis, Kim, who wanted information about freezing her eggs.
Kim takes Khloe to a doctor’s office which I assume is an RE but they never really say. They just say fertility specialist. I was stuck by a few things that I saw in the episode from both the TTC side and the aging and fertility side. Mind you, I’m not a doctor or any type of medical professional. This is just my opinion on what I saw happen and what I see from my friends in real life and online. Most of this article comes from my belief that the entire Trying to Conceive process is continued to be viewed by society and health professionals as a guilt-ridden, scary ride.
Kim is around 32 (I think) and is concerned about her eggs. The doctor shows her a chart that shows a drastic curve chart for fertility by age. Which of course causes Kim to react because she can visually see that her age is half or maybe less than what someone in their 20’s might have. However, I really feel like this was taken out of context. There are many factors that can affect fertility as women age. In fact, the average age for a first child for an American Woman is 25. Yes, at age 35 you start to be considered a higher risk for Down’s Syndrome and Miscarriages, but it’s at around 39 that women may really struggle to get pregnant (according to medical stats I can find).
There are two things I feel that are not taken into account when discussing fertility and age. First, is how long the person has been on birth control. BCP (birth control pill) really does mess with a cycle and after being on it for many years, it can take a very long time for your cycles to fix itself. I was on BCP for about 15 years. I got pregnant in 8 months of trying. Looking at my varying charts, it could have taken about five months for BCP to work it’s way out of my system. So it’s not that I was having fertility issues, it’s that my cycle took awhile to change back. The second thing to consider is what your cycles were like before you went on BCP. Way back in the day. My friends that have had a more trying time conceiving have almost all had issues with their cycles before BCP. Having irregular periods seem to be a huge indicator for possible fertility issues.
With Kim, none of that is discussed (at least on camera). With the exception of Kris Kardashian discussing with Kim about getting off BCP and letting her body find it’s cycle again. But in the next episode (no idea about amount of time passed) Kim is already giving herself hormones to start the process of freezing her eggs. It seems like such a spontaneous and rushed decision based entirely on the fertility and age argument.
Khloe on the other hand has a different problem. She has been trying for two years and in that time has not been able to get pregnant. A little weird that no one has suggested a specialist to her until now since most women trying, know (or find out online) that after a year of trying, both partners should be tested (more on this later). But Khloe is a busy woman and so is her hubby so who knows if they are even in the same state enough to try. Even in the best conditions, a woman has only a 20% chance of getting pregnant per cycle. Age and other stats can lower that percentage.
From what we saw on the show, I was horrified by how Khloe was treated. Not by her family, but by these medical professionals. In her interviews, she is visibly upset. To the point of not being able to continue the interview when she finds out she hasn’t been ovulating. In other interviews she sounds terrified and uncomfortable with what is happening. Her doctor is telling her what needs to happen next and what tests they are taking, but because she doesn’t look comfortable with it, I would say that she really needed someone to sit down and explain everything to her. This makes me extremely sad because this show is widely watched and it was an opportunity to not make the process seem scary (talks of radiation and catheters), but to put her at ease and help inform others watching that may be going through the same process. Conditions like PCOS know no age boundaries and women are surprised when they are diagnosed, but there are ways positive ways to deal with it and plenty of diagnosed women still get pregnant naturally or otherwise.
Again because it’s reality television I cannot tell if Khloe gave the doctors the green light to give her the most aggressive treatment possible. All I know is that I felt for her. I felt her fear. I felt her confusion. So did millions of female viewers, thousands who might be going through this as well.
In terms of testing, we only saw Khloe’s side. But in reality, the doctor’s should have tested Lamar as well. Making a baby takes two people and while diagnosing, it’s good to test both partners so you get a clear picture as to what the problem or problems may be.
I think this angers me so much because the show had an opportunity to show three women addressing their fertility. While there are some issues they may have to fix, none of it was done in a positive manner. All of it felt threatening, rushed, scary, and guilt ridden. During my TTC process, I could not find other women blogging about trying to get pregnant. Only women posting anonymously on message boards. Because of this, these women have no voice. Products that could help women TTC are not made as effectively as they could be (I have many problems with TTC products). Women are given drugs like Clomid as if it were candy. Whether or not they truly need it. Products are released faulty and tests give false positive results (particularly OPKs), and sometimes it feels like there is an industry focused around fertility only for money instead of really trying to help women in an emotional time. It’s time we fight back and take the guilt and fear out of trying and instead replace that with support and information.