Great things take time, whether that’s starting a family or growing your career. Both endeavors are extremely worthwhile but can be tricky to balance, because they tend to begin at the same time — from a person’s mid-20s to 30s. Thankfully, for people whose reproductive plans run parallel to their career paths, there are many fertility preservation options to help them reach both their personal and professional goals.
Building a career is a longer process than it used to be. Young professionals today have higher educational attainment rates than previous generations, with many attending graduate school in addition to college. These extra years help develop skills and professional connections in one’s field, but it also means a person may not start their first job until well into their 20s. Many are in their 30s before they really gain momentum in their chosen careers.
For those trying to conceive a child, matters become even more difficult. In any competitive field, taking time out of one’s career can be a step back, especially the time for a reasonable parental leave. Technology, especially, permeates most industries and changes so fast that a person can take time off to have a baby and come back to find their field has drastically changed. For these reasons, young professionals are waiting longer to have children, preferring to be fully secure in their careers and positions before taking that much time off.
Thankfully, medical technology exists so no aspiring parent needs to choose between professional achievement and starting a family. Fertility treatments offer unparalleled choice and control for people of all gender identities and domestic situations, at any point in their career.
For women and people assigned female at birth, peak fertility occurs before age 30 and starts to decline around age 31. By age 40, up to half of all women run into problems with infertility because the number and quality of eggs has diminished.
IVF and Egg Freezing
Egg- and embryo-freezing helps preserve viable reproductive cells until a later time, allowing career-focused individuals to decide when they want to commit the time and energy to parenting. Eggs can be fertilized before or after freezing then thawed and implanted via IVF; many fertility clinics can also connect parents with gestational surrogates in cases when there are risks of pregnancy and childbirth that make carrying a baby inadvisable.
Similarly, freezing sperm ensures that the healthiest genetic material is available to parents who have to wait for the right point in their professional journey. Men and people assigned male at birth may not experience much decline in fertility until their 40s, but sperm quality, concentration, and motility still decrease gradually with time beginning by age 35.
How to Financially Plan for Fertility Treatments
Of course, there will always be some obstacles to navigate when having a family and managing a career. Fertility treatments themselves take time away from work and are not typically covered by insurance, so young professionals need to plan ahead. Aspiring parents can look for employers that offer fertility-related benefits, such as generous parental leave and support for IVF treatments. Even if an employee is not looking to have a baby in the immediate future, keeping these considerations in mind ensures that individuals can choose to start their family when they decide the time is right.
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