By Wendy Burch
I was out reporting in the field the other day, covering some sort of crime in the streets of Los Angeles, when a devoted viewer came up to say hello. After asking for an autograph and taking a ‘selfie,’ he turned to me and asked me if I have had any luck in getting pregnant. Now, this may seem like an overly personal, inappropriate question for a strange man to ask your friendly neighborhood television reporter… but not when you know the whole story.
About three years ago I went public with a very personal battle. At the time, I had just turned 42. I had a great, big life… but I didn’t have a little one in it. I had always wanted to have a baby. And I always thought I would have plenty of time. I planned on being like one of those 40-something celebrity mom’s on the cover of People Magazine posing with a newborn and comfortably fitting back into ‘skinny’ jeans… after all, this is Hollywood.
But here’s the real story. About half of women over 40 have fertility problems, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Once you hit 40, you have only about a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant in any single ovulation cycle. By age 43, your chance of pregnancy plummets to 1 or 2 percent… and by the time you hit 45… fuhgeddaboudit. Now, that’s not to say it can’t happen. Someone has to be the one-percenter… and why couldn’t it be me??? (By the way, I also purchase copious amounts of Powerball tickets).
So, I did what came naturally, I decided to report on the fertility challenges facing older women.
I also began doing what was completely unnatural, which included injecting myself with crazy-making amounts of hormones, making regular visits to the fertility clinic and general obsessing about all things ovulation.
Aside from having a whole lot of timely sex with my fiancé, I tried IVF, acupuncture, herbal teas and yoga poses. I even met with a psychic intuitive to clear my chakras. I did have a couple of what they call “chemical pregnancies”… which I refer to as the “cruel jokes”. Essentially, you take an early pregnancy test and it shows a faint positive. Naturally, you get very excited. And then, a few days later Aunt Flow pays a visit. Truth is… a chemical pregnancy is indeed a conception that ends in a very, very early miscarriage. But there should be no misconception. It still feels like a kick in the gut.
So why do I bring this all up know?? Because if all goes well the next few weeks… I will have some good news. And I figure I should be the one to deliver it.
Wendy Burch is a television anchor, reporter and host, as well as founder and chairperson of The Good News Foundation, a non-profit charity dedicated to making a meaningful difference to those in need and at-risk in greater Los Angeles.