Why a woman's body is not considered her own property.

Our first meeting. The fear and anxiety are so tense they could be plucked like a guitar string. This woman before me is choking on her words as she tells me about her struggles with infertility.

Women experiencing infertility often feel like they don’t have control over their body or ownership.

Women experiencing infertility often feel like they don’t have control over their body or ownership.

At 41, Michelle is at the “fertility cliff”, the juncture where chronological and biological ages meet and fertility declines. The fertility cliff is real and scientist estimate it starts in the mid-thirties for women and the early 40's in males.

Michelle and her husband were together for over 9 years, and she recounts that her husband was not “ready” so they got a late start. This is where the pain of regret lurks...if they had only started the process sooner. 

After a year of “trying” without success, the diagnosis is “unexplained infertility.”

Unexplained infertility is the most frustrating kind of diagnosis because it just describes what a couple is experiencing, but does not offer any solutions for a problem that isn’t a problem.

Her health history indicates that she has been on a form of hormonal birth control since her late teens to manage her irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, and acne. This is the first time she has been off birth control for more than a few months over a couple of decades, and her period is irregular. Added to the list of medications are anti-anxiety medication and prenatal vitamins. 

This is a health history that I encounter all too often when women come to see me for help with improving the outcome of their fertility success. 

I’ve also noticed a growing trend in fear-mongering around fertility or I should say infertility…so much so that young women are being encouraged to start freezing eggs so that they can have some fertility insurance. 

Do you know the Global Fertility Services market investments on Wall Street are benefiting from mostly women’s biology? A commodity being traded with a forecast CAGR of 9.25%.

What sorely sticks out to me as a health practitioner is that from a very young age females/women hand their body’s reproduction over to some other “authority” to be managed, even profited from.

Hormonal birth control is another disturbing issue around women’s reproductive health because birth control drugs are endocrine disruptors (officially categorized by the FDA) and have many health risks. Doctors prescribe them without much thought and women are lulled into taking them for years and even decades. In 2017 the U.S. contraceptive market size was valued at $7.6 billion, and big Pharma is staking a claim. 

The Handmaid’s Tale is an emerging theme that, although fictional, mirrors some disturbing aspects around an area of infertility and surrogacy. 

Perhaps it is from centuries of an unchallenged male-dominated society, that the attitude towards a woman’s body and towards her economic freedom make a woman’s body not rightly her own property. This article does not begin to address so many of the other related societal factors that are pressures on being a woman in our day and age. 

Whether a woman can reproduce or not, is not a reflection of her value. That is reserved for livestock!.  Women’s biology should not be treated like a “cash crop”. 

Women, listen to your body,  question who hand your authority to especially around your fertility, choose health practitioners that will empower you and help you reach your full potential. Take sparingly what you need from the modern world’s medical advances.

You are the author of your destiny.

How we as a society address women’s reproduction is about how we see freedom, for all. This message is for women to be aware that if we don’t make informed and conscious decisions about our health, then we lose ownership of our bodies. 

We can’t go back in time and change Michelle's history. However, there is a lesson here for each woman. Every day you are making choices about your health, and this also applies to your fertility health as well. It is this awareness that gives you full ownership of your body.

As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I help individuals and families such as Michelle and her husband to address and heal any underlying health issues naturally and make informed decisions about their fertility treatments using a holistic perspective. Though they may feel like the universe is working against them, it is important that they be present to their experience and willing to move through this physically, emotionally and spiritually and be at peace with their choices. This is part of the healing process.

Over the past 17+ years, I have helped many couples integrate elements from the ancient healing arts to support and increase their success with having a healthy baby, even when they were told there was no hope.  I have gratitude for the power that Chinese medicine offers and modern research, medical advances and technology that make having a baby possible.