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37 And Single

Contrary to popular belief, fertility does not fall off a cliff after the age of 35, but there is a gradual decline in the chances of a natural pregnancy. Women under 30 have about a 25 per cent chance of getting pregnant naturally each cycle, and that drops to 20 per cent for women over By the time a woman hits 40 it drops to less than five per cent, according to research by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

There are also greater health risks for myself and the embryo if I conceive in my 40s. Fertility options such as IVF are also not as an easy option as one may think. Qualifying for NHS funding is complicated and the costs when paying out of pocket are astronomical. And even if you can afford it, the success of IVF treatment decreases with age. There's Patrice, the non-committal year-old, balding, French lawyer with slippery lips; Barry the as-yet-unseen year-old, hyperactive, jet-set film production worker, with a teenage daughter; and Charles, my utterly gorgeous massage client, of perfect age, perfect body, perfect mind, and perfectly married with perfect children.

The sad truth is, I will probably end up having an unfulfilling affair with Patrice, be disappointed with Barry, and continue to inappropriately fantasise and fall in love with Charles. Must stop negatively predicting. Maybe Patrice and I will become great friends, Barry and I will decide not to meet, and the lovely Charles will turn out to be waiting for his divorce to come through before telling me he has been head over heels in love with me from the moment he took all of his clothes off and lay naked in front of me on my therapy table.

Feeling a bit jaded about the whole blind-dating thing. Repelled and compelled all at the same time. Heavily vetted all of my Soulmates respondees, and selected three possibles.

If I like the sound of a man's voice, if he's under 46 and over 30, says something complimentary about my message, and he sounds sexy, sussed but willing to explore The next two were totally incompatible. Number 97 was from Israel. He wanted a culturally similar specimen, and sounded rather too delighted when I revealed that my grandparents were Jewish. It didn't seem to matter to him that Judaism in my family simply meant enforced male circumcision, a leaning towards egg sandwiches, and a bloody good reason for all following generations to adopt an atheist stance on religion.

Enough already. He also laughed like a semi-domesticated hyena. Number 98 had a rather sexy voice. At 45, Greg had it stacked against him. He was fighting a desperate battle from his opening sentence, "Do you wear skirts? A skirt-and-high-heels sort of leg man. An I-don't-care-where-your-head-is sort of legs man.

No, Greg was a warning against short husky messages. Number 99 left a long, measured message. He started out as a naval pilot, progressed to a stand-up poet, and finally got a job as a languages tutor. He sounded off the wall. He sounded lovely. He sounded old. He sounded horrified when I told him I thought he was He said he was I sounded pleased. I was overjoyed. He said he wanted to meet me. Of course, I agreed.

My lovely young pilot-poet stood before me; a short, pallid, rotund figure, in an ill-fitting nylon-based suit; shoots of hair creased across his shiny temples; scattered teeth battled for position beneath his lips; his beady, brown eyes were keen to connect with mine. We spent an unmemorable hour discussing his upbringing, his best friend, his relationship with his parents.

Then he asked me what I wanted to do next. Shopping, I said, without a thought. Fine, he said. I explained that I was shopping for a massage therapy CD.

This obviously appealed to the poet within the pilot, as he decided to escort me to a cosmic shop where he found me the best Chinese temple muzak I have ever heard. Modern women are more and more successful, accomplished and self-sufficient, which are all extremely positive developments. Yet as both men and women get more comfortable, be it financially or practically, it is also easier for them to form a bubble from which it is difficult to emerge.

It can feel harder to take risks or put themselves out there. The encouragement we feel to stay home or stay safe often comes from our critical inner voice. Have a glass of wine. Watch that show you like.

No one will be attracted to you. We should take action and make an effort to get out into the world, smile, make eye contact and let friends know we are looking for someone. We should try new activities and even try dating diverse people as a means to discover new parts of ourselves and what makes us happy. When we act on rules based on our past, we can create a perpetual cycle of disappointing relationships. A woman I know once dated someone with whom she had amazing chemistry.

Staying open is one of the most important things we can do when looking for a loving partner. Yes, we might get hurt but when we stop taking risks, we reduce our chances of meeting someone we could really have a future with.