This week is National Fertility Awareness Week, which aims to raise awareness, break down taboos, shatter some of the myths surrounding fertility and ultimately encourage people to #TalkFertility.
How much time would you say you spend thinking about your fertility? It's something us women are conditioned to think about—it's in our genes, and it's undoubtedly something we should be exploring and discussing—but should we all be taking fertility tests in our 20s, even if we're not quite ready for kids yet? We decided to chat it out. Deputy Editor Shannon Peter believes taking the test now, at the age of 25, is the right thing to do. Whereas Social Media Editor Alyss Bowen isn't quite ready.
Keep reading for the pros and cons to taking a fertility test in your 20s.
Alyss Bowen, Social Media Editor: Against
As a 26-year-old, I know that actively going to have a fertility test should be in the back of my mind, but for me, it's something I'm choosing not to do yet.
Women are subjected every single day to information telling us our biological clock is ticking, which in itself is an added pressure. But what if I don't want to know, right in this very moment, if I'm able to have children or not. Ignorance is bliss, right? Call me naive, but the thought of potentially finding out I'm unable to conceive just feels like more pressure. And, if the case is that I'm unable to conceive—that's always going to be the answer. I 100% want children, but finding out in five years rather than now won't change that, and if the results are that I can't, adoption is something I would definitely consider.
I know, I know. Knowledge is power because then you can start thinking about the next steps—and I totally get (and applaud) anyone who wants to start forward planning such a huge decision now. I also know that if I were to go find out, then I could start making active lifestyle changes to ensure that one day I could give birth. But for now, for me anyway, I'm not ready to do that. So I'd rather wait a few more years until I'm mentally prepared for whatever a fertility test does throw at me and my boyfriend. What if it tells us we need to get a move on? I'm not sure I'm ready for that pressure.
Shannon Peter, Deputy Editor: For
I was born a planner. I practically came out of the womb writing lists and thumbing through a Filofax penciling in appointments. And then there’s my crippling aversion to all surprises: It’s not that I don’t like them, but if I know one is coming, I will always do everything in my power to find out what it is. I haven’t been given a gift in my entire 25 years that I hadn’t already hunted out and identified ahead of time myself, much to my friends’ and family’s frustration.
So it’s basically woven into the complexities of my character that I would want to get a fertility test ahead of time. I don’t want children for a good while yet (trust me, buying a flat has been enough adult-ing for one decade), but I’m desperate to know exactly what’s going on with all my pipework down there. I want to know if when the time comes that my boyfriend and I are actually ready to have a child, that I can have one, or if I’ll have any issues to contend with. And if there are problems, knowing ahead of time will give me the chance to mentally prepare myself and plan in the extra costs and timeframe that conceiving might incur.
I completely understand Alyss’s argument that ignorance is bliss, and I’m still not 100% decided I definitely will actually take a test. But what I do know is that this little bit of information, this little bit of forward-planning is kind of like an insurance policy for the future. Knowledge is power, right? And while I’d love to have my own children (I’ve gotta pass these curls on to someone, anyone!), I’m also really keen at exploring the process of adoption, which I guess means if something isn’t quite right, I won’t have exhausted all my options, and that makes the fear of the result a little bit easier to swallow.
Think you want to take a fertility test? Find out more about the test and how to boost your fertility here.