A Tough Old Egg

My whole life, I’ve done everything right, and look where it got me.”

- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

The fertility journey of a woman over 40 is a tenacious pursuit, requiring a tremendous amount of fortitude. The mature fertility patient musters up all of the drive and determination of her past decades of achievement, and goes into overdrive to try to reach her goal. She will stop at nothing – researching, studying, consulting doctors of various specialties, taking her temperature, getting her hormones tested and reproductive organs evaluated, taking herbs and supplements, adjusting her diet and lifestyle, reducing stress; and still they say her chances are dismal. Further fueling the purposeful resolve; she rolls up her sleeves, more determined than ever to summon up all the power of women who have ever overcome odds to achieve their goal. Like Thelma & Louise, reaching the end of a desperate journey, they become risk takers, doing things they normally wouldn’t do, and trading hope for courage. They become tough; hardening the exterior to protect themselves from a most terrifying notion – what if the statistics are true?

A recent research of reproductive literature revealed the following quotes:

“As a woman eggs age, their shells become harder, keeping sperm out.”

“Assisted hatching involves the use of laser to thin the zona pellucida (outer shell) of the fertilized egg, prior to transfer into the uterus. It is believed that this outer shell becomes thicker and hardened with aging of the oocyte.”

The follicular fluid of the developing egg contains other markers of stress , too, like hormonal fluctuations, and evidence of low oxygenation. Now, who would expect anything different? Women who are in a state of desperate pursuit send their bodies into a state of mind over matter, and it shows up in the physical – down to the cellular level. The ovaries become a repository for this toughness. During a guided inner meditation, one retreat participant reported:

I visualized my ovaries wearing army helmets. I had put them through a war with my demands of them, never allowing them to recover between cycles, just demanding more, more  more!  I never allowed them a state of receptivity; or allowed them to be rejuvenated or nourished. I demanded action of them, as I had always demanded perfection and overachievement of myself, and they were exhausted. They needed protection. What kind of mother does that? How could this type of attitude that I had perfected my whole life, not be reflected inside?”

As Mary Oliver so eloquently put it in her poem, Wild Geese,

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

Please allow yourself to stop being tough. We teach you many ways to improve ovarian health, but you must be in a state where you allow it to take hold at the cellular level. Allow yourself to drop into the deep, inner nourishment, where nature allows the miraculous. Your inner body reflects the state of your mind. Become receptive, and open to life.