Colette Fitzpatrick: I'm 36. I might need IVF and that's why the Church's stance on it disgusts me
IT IS the single biggest factor when it comes to the chances of getting pregnant; the age of the woman.
While men can procreate pretty much all their lives, that biological clock is ticking and getting louder, breaking into a shrill alarm for women in their 30s.
All women who want to have children are literally on a clock.
Fertility peaks for us in our 20s and begins to decline in the late 20s. At about the age of 35, fertility starts to decline at a much more rapid pace. In any given month, your chances of getting pregnant at 30 are about 20pc. At age 40, your chance of getting pregnant in any given month is just 5pc.
I'm 36 years of age, so statistically speaking if I decided I'd like another baby in a few years time, there's every chance I would end up going down the route of IVF fertility treatment.
It disgusts me that this week the Vatican reacted negatively when Robert Edwards, the man who pioneered IVF, was honoured with the Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine
The Church is opposed to IVF because it involves separating conception from sex between a married couple and the process could result in the destruction of embryos.
Not in Ireland though, where thousands of embryos are held in storage as they are in legal limbo.
I wonder how many IVF babies have been baptised, given all the sacraments and work tirelessly within and for the Church.
I just can't take seriously what a male dominated institution would have to say about anyone's right or desire to have children, if it couldn't happen naturally for them.
The Church's stance on IVF and whether or not I might be morally suspect wouldn't enter my head if I had to undergo fertility treatment to become pregnant.
The only reason I might choose not undergo it is because of the emotional rollercoaster it can be.
I know people who have undergone and are undergoing the treatment. It's more likely than not to fail. It can be desperately invasive, extremely expensive and exert enormous strain and pressure on a relationship.
But such is that baby hunger that many people experience, that millions of men and women have been willing to put themselves through the heartache -- almost four million IVF babies have been little miracles for their parents and brought immeasurable joy to their lives.
This week, I interviewed a woman whose dream came true when she gave birth to a baby, the result of donor sperm and a donor egg from a clinic in Eastern Europe.
At 42 years of age, Ciara (not her real name) decided that her age and the fact that she didn't have a man in her life shouldn't stop her from having a baby.
She had a donor embryo implanted and when she saw the blue line of a pregnancy test that meant positive, that gap in her life was filled and her new life as a mum had begun.
She fell instantly in love with her beautiful baby and that love affair continues daily.
There are millions of childless couples across the world hoping and praying that their IVF treatment will work.
If it does, just like Ciara, when their baby first says 'I love you', those three little words will be as important in their lives as three others -- in vitro fertilistation.