Author Topic: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?  (Read 31900 times)

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Location: Midwest
I had my children at 30, 32, and 36, and having the last one later in my thirties was much harder. YMMV, since this could be because I have two other kids to care for, but having a baby to take care of when I am close to forty is rather exhausting. I almost daily think or say, "I'm just too old for this!" Once he gets a little more independent -- he's still less than a year -- I think I will be fine, but caring for young ones is really hard on the body.

One question is: are you willing to drop tens of thousands on fertility measures in your later thirties? If so, I might tend to tell you to wait until you think you are ready. If not, then I would suggest starting now. You might not have to spend that money, but you should be aware that this is a possibility.

I remember reading that primary fertility is higher as a woman ages but not necessarily secondary fertility.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 12:15:04 PM by justajane »

Meggslynn

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 252

No, I wouldn't delay it either way.

You need a lot of energy for kids .... a lot.


Mr. Green

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1993
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
When you say you'll bet "set" by waiting until 38, what kind of assumptions are you making?

If the market were to underperform between now and then, is there any chance you will not be set and regret the decision to wait?

I'm 31 and my wife and I are a couple years out and one thing I remind myself is that all the waiting to save more will mean nothing if we have a child with disabilities that requires additional care. Of course there's no way to ever know if waiting was the definitive cause for something like that but it wouldn't stop me from questioning if we should have begun earlier, were this to happen.

A little faith is required that things will work out if you want kids but aren't financially ready. I'm very analytical and really want to be set before having kids too but I know many things could undo those plans. At a certain point though I'm willing to get on with it because I know the biological clock is a big deal.

However, I will say that I know people who are "retired" and have kids after and there's no comparison between how they age and someone who has kids late but still has to keep a career. One of my big motivators for waiting was seeing how incredible the retired people raising kids act and look because they don't have the demands of a job pulling on their time. But like I said before, at a certain point the the biological clock becomes more important to me because of risk factors.

As others have mentioned, maybe there are ways for the two of you to reduce expenses that would allow some type of happy medium if you want kids.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 02:53:41 PM by wdanner »

sjc0816

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 248
We had our first at 29 and the 2nd at 34.  No way I'd wait until 40.  Wish we'd had #1 &#2 sooner, if so we'd probably have 3.  I wansn't sure even wanted kids.  I was wrong.  Early retirement isn't everything.

Midwest


This is me 100%.  I didn't realize how badly I wanted kids until I actually had them.  Put me out of my comfort zone and definitely threw a wrench in any perfect financial plan we had.  So worth it. 

driftwood

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 346
Had our first kid when my wife was 30, second when she was 32.  The medical issues and risks associated with having children when older (38) is something I can't really speak to. 

From the mustachian side, I am a bit bummed that I didn't really figure this stuff out until last year, which means I'm way behind and I'll probably FIRE twelve years from now.  That means I don't have the same kind of free time with my kids that I'd like, or extra time to help my wife out (SAHM for now).  I'm going through my prime moneymaking years the same time that I have young kids at home.  It's tough to balance both.  When I look at retirement, it'll be when my kids are teenagers and don't need as much time with the parents as they do now.  I can only build from where I'm at, but given the choice I would've loved to FIRE right before having kids.  Then I'd have time for kids and hobbies/side jobs/etc without feeling like I have to sacrifice time with family for security.

Bobberth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
Follow your head and you will get there ok.  Follow your heart and you will get there with a smile on your face.

nora

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
I would definitely delay in your situation. Chances are you won't have any trouble getting pregnant, and your two children will be perfectly healthy. You may as well be optimistic about it. And in the event you can't get pregnant you have said you have other plans so not devastating.

We had our first at 37 and I thought it was very late but the earliest easy situation to do it. Knowing what I know now (easy to get pregnant and healthy baby, and the disruption to other life activities and stress of having a small child -I am not the coper super-mum I thought I would be) I almost wish we delayed longer. And now knowing how easy it was, I am thinking of delaying the second until we retire.

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
If you don't mind (and are absolutely sure you don't mind) if kids don't happen at all, then yes, I'd wait.

I had my kid at 43 (no medical interventions) and did not find the amount of energy necessary to be any extra big deal.  My guess is that they take a fair amount of energy whenever.  It would have been nice not to have to work in my child's early years — working drains more energy than being five years older does.

mskyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 693
If you think you would be happy without kids, I think your plan is fine. I'm 36 (and female) and still haven't decided if I want kids. I know if I wait much longer to decide, the decision will be taken out of my hands. And I'm OK with that.

I know to a lot of people it seems ridiculous to not have a strong opinion one way or the other about such a huge decision, but I *know* that I know how to be really happy without kids - obviously, I've done it my whole adult life so far. I suspect I would also be really happy if I had kid(s), and I know I will miss out on kid-related experiences and joys if I don't have kids, but I have enough friends and relatives with kids of various degrees of difficulty to also know that I'll avoid some really sucky kid-related stuff. I'm confident that either way, I'll have a pretty sweet life.

Also 35 is not a switch; AS A POPULATION, women over 35 have more pregnancy and birth-defect related troubles than women under 35, but plenty of individual women hit the danger zone much earlier or much later.

Spondulix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
I asked my OBGYN if it was a problem to wait til 35 to start trying, and he had no hesitation saying it's fine to wait. He said the risks are not what they were in the past - there is no 35 deadline anymore (like Sol said, technology gets better all the time). He said if we were having this conversation when I was 40, he wouldn't say to wait.

Another aspect that hasn't been brought up: what would you like for your kids in a family sense? Is it important for them to have a relationship with their grandparents? What kinds of activities do you want to be able to do with your kids in their 20s-30s? If your kids wait til 40 to have kids, you could be 80 before you have grandkids. What kind of grandparent will you be?

My parents were born when my grandparents were in their late teens on one side, and 40s on the other. So I had young/active grandparents on one side, and aging ones who couldn't keep up with us on the other (and as a result, I didn't get to know them well). It's obviously not a crucial aspect, but just one to take into consideration.

Krnten

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 103
I wouldn't wait if you know you want kids.  But it sounds like you're still on the fence.  I had my first at 31, first try, zero issues, healthy baby.  Now I'm 33 and have had a couple early miscarriages, including one for a chromosomal issue. Fortunately 3rd try seems to be sticking better. 

Who knows if it's age related?  I wasn't in a position to have kids in my 20s and am glad I didn't.  But I do have friends who are 33, 34, 35 and waiting for the "right time": to get more established in their jobs, until their husbands' jobs get less busy, until they can buy a house or save enough $ or finish a degree or whatever.  I want to warn them - it can get hard!  I have several friends in their mid-late 30s who've already had trouble, and now count myself among them.

There is really no good time to have a kid.  It's always going to mess with your plans, job, social life, freedom, etc.  If you wait, just prepare yourself for some losses.  Odds are you'll eventually have a healthy full term pregnancy, just be prepared for the possibility of a rocky road.  Sorry to be a downer.  This is just my personal experience. 

RootofGood

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1361
  • Age: 39
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Retired at age 33. 5 years in, still loving it!
    • Root of Good
The timing is never perfect, it's never a good time.  I'd say do it sooner rather than later. 

We had a much tougher time in the mid-30's than in the late 20's.  Add in a serious potential chromosomal abnormality, and it really struck home what "1 in 20" vs "1 in 160" odds meant.  We ended up being in the 19 out of 20 without chromosomal abnormalities, but it led to some serious questions about "what if" before the long series of tests where complete (and which led to even more tests which we were very close to opting out of if they had gone any further). 

asauer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 595
  • Location: North Carolina
I'll give my opinion from my "semi-old" mom perspective.  We adopted our kids when we were 34 (the oldest in our friends circle).  Fertility was an issue.  Note that we didn't try when we were super young so we may have had issues then too.  However, being over 32 wasn't in our favor.  I'm glad we immediately started adoption though.  I cannot even imagine doing the diapers, sleepless nights, constant physical demands now that I'm right up on 40. 

Additionally, I'm thinking about their adult lives.  While I want to be an active senior, that's not always a given.  I really want to be there for any potential grandchildren and travel with my kids when they're adults so it was important for us to have kids at a somewhat younger age.

Distshore

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Age: 41
  • Location: New York
I'm 36 and have a newborn.  I probably would have done it younger but I didn't meet and marry my husband until 33.  I was fortunate to get pregnant quite quickly; you can't infer your own fertility from statistics.  When it comes to you, it either happens or it doesn't, and you need fertility treatment.  Then that either works or it doesn't.

I don't see the energy thing as a problem.  If you're fit and healthy you will do fine whether you're 30 or 40.  If I were you, I would wait and see how you feel in a year.  Then in another year.  You can't plan 6 years in advance; and the relative importance of the various factors will shift over time. 

But, if having kids is important to you, please don't put that in cold storage (unless it's frozen embryos!) in the "hope" of a big payout from your company.  I would not swap my newborn son for ALL the money...rather, we'll take him on the journey to FIRE together.

Also, it's not like you turn 35 and suddenly fall off a fertility cliff.  Talk to your OB/GYN about that, not the internet.

nycstash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
I would do some real research about fertility after 35. There are a lot of misconceptions out there. It is true that there is a sharp rise in the risk of birth defects after 35, but it is still a very, very small risk. Similarly, there can be fertility issues, but there is a LOT of fear-mongering that I think is not helpful for women and tends to push them in the direction of "must have babies now or [insert horrible tragedy]".  I just don't think it's worth making precipitous decisions about having a child for the rest of your life, and especially taking care of a child under 5, based on fear mongering.  There is some testing I think you can do about your fertility and you can certainly educate yourself more on the various risks, but the vast majority of women who decide they want a child at the age of 38 end up conceiving and giving birth to healthy children.  The tragic stories stand out because they are tragic and because there is such a pervasive cultural narrative that seems to provide a framework to make sense of/explain/come to terms with/find blame for those tragedies.

In terms of being an older parent and energy: I had a child right before I turned 27 and felt ridiculously young and unprepared.  Mostly broke, dropped out of college to take a job with healthcare, in a marriage that didn't end up sticking, etc, etc. There were lots of non-ideals and there's things she would have had if I had waited. But it was also amazing to be a young mom. I had tons of energy, could thrive on little sleep, incorporated her easily into my life and many, many other things. I ALSO had a child right before I turned 37, which seems older, and that's been great too.  There is definitely a little bit of feeling like I'm going to be old(ish) by the time I'm "done" with parenting - and that feeling of still being young when your kids leave the house is definitely a younger parent bonus. BUT, I feel much more ready. My life is more stable, I'm able to give him more financially and in terms of security and he hasn't had to go through the same ups and downs as my daughter. I'm much more genuinely enthusiastic about family time and staying home and don't feel as frustrated about having to give up nights out on the town and such. He probably gets more of my attention. And I definitely don't find it any harder energy-wise. 38 is hardly old.

I'd say you should take it one day at a time. You don't need to decide now that it's now or 38. It seems like you're not ready and you have other goals (early retirement, fully committing to your job, etc) that are more important to you right now and that's totally fine.  That may or may not change in one or two years. You can just check back with yourself and your husband each year and see where you're at or how you're feeling.  You may decide to have a baby earlier and find a way to make it work. Or you might decide to wait until 38. Or you might hit 38 and realize that having kids really isn't something you want.  You don't need to decide now. You'll be fine.  You shouldn't feel pressure.  I know you've gotten a lot of the opposite answer but I am much more skeptical - and I say that as a very happy younger and older mom who is thrilled with my kids and wouldn't have it any other way. Just because that's what worked for me - or for anyone else - doesn't mean it's right for you. You should be free to make the choices that work for your unique situation.

goodlife

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 188
From your post it seems like working and having kids are mutually exclusive? Why is that? Couldn't you just have kids now, take 2-3 months maternity leave and come back to work and work as planned until 2020? What is the problem with that? I mean, they can't fire you or cut your pay...looks like you are in the UK...I am sure that would be grounds for a (lucrative) lawsuit.

Zamboni

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2513
If you think you want children, and this is the person you'd like to have children with, and you want to have biological children related to you, then don't wait. 

Every additional year you wait at this point decreases your odds of successfully bringing home a healthy baby that is biologically related to you.

Delaying because of your awesome job is just not worth the risk.  It is merely the pathway to regrets.

And yes, I agree with the other posters who said your savings rate needs to go up in any event.




Allie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1829
I can only make recommendations based on my experiences.  I was going to have a kid at 30 and another at 32.  It was my plan and, based on everything I had been indoctrinated with as a teenager related to safe sex practices leading me to believe that semen were super powered impregnating machines, it never occurred to me it wouldn't work out that way.  We started trying at 30.  Casually at first, then planfully, then rigorously.  Eventually, I ended up at the doctor for lots of tests and discussions about the order of medical interventions from least invasive to most invasive.  She chuckled when I asked why this wasn't working as there wasn't a clear cut reason and let me know that, in terms of reproductive years and eggs, I was already old.  We were lucky as the first series of medications worked perfectly and I have had two lovely children without any serious interventions by 35.

By now, most of my friends have also had a couple children, I run in a circle of professional women and most of us waited until close to or after 30 to start having kids.  There are very few who didn't have a hiccup or two along the way...ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, hormone therapies, serious pregnancy complications as they were older, high risk moms. 

I'm not saying this will be your experience or that I don't know women who have had multiple kids after their husbands did little more than sneeze in their direction.  But, if you do happen to have an issue or two, 38 can quickly become 39, 40, 41.  I would recommend you start a couple years earlier and if you are able to become pregnant with a healthy, beautiful baby, just count your blessings.  You may have to work a little longer, but you won't have any regrets if it doesn't go smoothly.

Chuck

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 404
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Northern VA
No, I would never wait that long. I want to see my grandchildren grow up. That means having kids around age 30.

abhe8

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
no, I would not wait. but it sounds like for the op, that waiting is the best option. op, if your husband likes to work, i'm not sure why you are killing yourself and putting off having children so that he can retire early? he likes to work, let him work. you want to be 100% mom, start trying now.

but what I really wanted to put out there are some actual facts on fertility. it decreases LINEARLY every year from its peak at 16, decreases by 2%. every year the % chance of becoming and staying pregnant deceases by 2%. the advanced maternal age designation at age 35 was based on relative risk in the 1980s. at that time, the risk of miscarriage due to amniocentesis was plotted against the risk curve of a child born with down syndrome. the intersection of that graft fell on age 35. however, today, the risk of miscarriage with amnio is much less. and, like some previous posters noted, there are many blood tests and less invasive measures that can detect fetal and chromosomal abnormalities. there is no big leap or spike at age 35. its not a magic switch or turn. its just one year older. but every year older comes with decreased fertility AND increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the child. just fyi. :)

Lyssa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Location: Germany
@ madeup

So and I are contemplating the same question (for different reasons). I don't know if this is an option for you but we decided to go ahead with egg freezing:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/freezing-eggs-has-anybody-done-it/msg596015/#msg596015

I understand that in the US you could choose to freeze embryos as well.

Sunnymo

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 107
One more thing to consider: if after thinking about it you're sure you want children in the future, you could freeze some eggs now as a backup plan in case you do have issues. Sounds like the payout in 2020 would more than cover this sort of procedure.

I would go with what others have suggested and get a full assessment of your fertility (and his!) now to find out where you sit. Premature Ovarian Failure  (early menopause) could otherwise catch you by surprise. A number of issues that can impact on fertility have little or no symptoms.

I would not be freezing eggs (see quote) but embryos. The thaw rates are much better with eggs over embryos and the resulting success rates are better as well. I had an embryo thawed today and it had no problems. When an embryo thaws it can shed a cell and survive, if an egg has issues during thaw there are no 'spare' cells it can afford to lose.

A couple of tips:

* Understand quoted success rates - does a 'success' mean: a positive pregnancy test? a heartbeat at first scan? a live birth? To compare you need the same stats
* Get your legal house in order - we have instructions on record with our solicitor and our fertility clinic that cover who can do what if either dies. This covers frozen embryos, frozen sperm and fast retrieval of fresh sperm from my husband should he die suddenly (you have at most 36 hours after death), here you need a court order and the legal/ethical framework is skinny - having your wishes written down and lodged may be the only thing that saves you.

Remember the old addage 'there is no perfect time to have children' but getting your house in order can help out a lot.

mushroom

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1119
I'm 32 (33 this summer) and currently 36 weeks pregnant with my first child. I married my husband at 29 at the end of residency (i.e. after 4 years of college, 4 years of med school, 3 years of residency, and mostly just a bunch of student loans to show for it :P). When we got married, we were both pretty on the fence about kids. Right after we married, we took a trip around the world for a year, one of the best decisions we ever made despite delaying FIRE. We still talked on and off about the kid thing now and then, but I was very unsure about it until suddenly last year I felt a switch turn on and it just felt right and I knew I wanted to. Luckily got pregnant very easily. I've only been working 2 years as an attending physician, planning to go on 3 months' maternity leave and then go back very part-time while my husband continues full-time until maybe we retire next spring. Our finances are in decent shape, but obviously it would make a lot more financial sense to work longer as an attending, especially after all the no/low pay years of education. Or for me to continue full-time while my husband quit since I make more than he does. Or in retrospect go the nurse/nurse practitioner/physician assistant route to start earning money a lot more quickly. But I think ultimately it's not just about what move will just bring you the most money, but what your priorities are.

So if you knew you really really wanted kids? Just start now and you'll figure out how to make it work one way or another.

On the fence? Go ahead and wait (it sounds like you're not ready yet anyway) and reassess every now and then how you feel at the moment. It's not just now or wait till 38, there's a lot of middle ground in between. Maybe you get really sick of work and want a change anyway in a couple years, or the date when the business finishes moves forward or back, or you start wanting kids with a passion. In any case, working for now at a good job will have put you in better financial shape, and since you are on the Mustache forums, I would really challenge you to think about your assumptions regarding spending and retirement date. If you could just save a little more/cut your spending, maybe you could retire earlier and feel more "set" before starting to have kids at an age before 38, even if the situation as you project it remains exactly the same. Remember our lives are finite and each year is precious - how important is that time to you to spend as you wish vs. having some luxury like, I dunno, fancy clothes or food? The main reason my husband and I are in good shape financially is that our spending rate is low and we sock it all away so we can stop working ASAP to travel long-term and do other things that are important to us.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 03:53:08 AM by mushroom »

Lyssa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Location: Germany
no, I would not wait. but it sounds like for the op, that waiting is the best option. op, if your husband likes to work, i'm not sure why you are killing yourself and putting off having children so that he can retire early? he likes to work, let him work. you want to be 100% mom, start trying now.

but what I really wanted to put out there are some actual facts on fertility. it decreases LINEARLY every year from its peak at 16, decreases by 2%. every year the % chance of becoming and staying pregnant deceases by 2%. the advanced maternal age designation at age 35 was based on relative risk in the 1980s. at that time, the risk of miscarriage due to amniocentesis was plotted against the risk curve of a child born with down syndrome. the intersection of that graft fell on age 35. however, today, the risk of miscarriage with amnio is much less. and, like some previous posters noted, there are many blood tests and less invasive measures that can detect fetal and chromosomal abnormalities. there is no big leap or spike at age 35. its not a magic switch or turn. its just one year older. but every year older comes with decreased fertility AND increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the child. just fyi. :)

I don't know if there is a big leap re the risk of abnormalities at 35 but there is a cliff re chances of both natural conception and IVF chances. For some women the cliff is as early as 32, for some as late as 40, for most it's around 35.

A fertility expert can tell you where you stand by a simple bloodtest and an antral follical count via ultrasound.

Doubleh

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 284
  • Location: London
There's a lot of interesting input here and it sounds like you have some good food for thought. As you're a fellow brit the discussion you recall about data on fertility declining with age being based on centuries old french data probably came from a piece I remember on BBC Radio 4's More or Less programme, or the BBC website article based on it I've linked below.

Couple of key points that may help are below; bottom line is that yes there are more risks as you get older but certainly below 40 it is not as much of a shift as people have been lead to believe. Of course nobody knows what the future holds and if you know for sure you want kids soon you should maybe get on with it, but if you don't feel ready now I wouldn't rush ahead because you fear missing out altogether if you leave it a few years.

Nice [UK Government agency] in 2013: "Over 80% of couples in the general population will conceive within one year if the woman is aged under 40 years and they do not use contraception and have regular sexual intercourse."

But what about the risk of chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down's syndrome? It's possible that this has been overstated too, in James's view.
The chance of any chromosomal abnormality at the age of 20 is one in 500, he says.
That increases to one in 400 at the age of 30, and one in 60-70 at age 40.
"Turning that on its head, it does mean that 59 out of 60 women aged 40 will have no chromosomal problems in their baby at all."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24128176

happy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5574
  • Location: NSW Australia
Lots of good answers that I won't repeat.
Just to add my experience - I started trying @33 and had 2children, one @36 and one @39. Being aware of the increased risks as I got older, I wanted them ASAP, but thats how long it took. Everything tested normal. And we did know what to do ;).

A friend of mine conceived within weeks of trying ( we were all snickering about rabbits). Then she had trouble conceiving again. Ended up doing rounds and rounds of specialists and being told she had premature menopause and chance of further pregnancy was around 7%. They gave up contraception and spontaneously in her 30s she had 2 more boys each several years apart. They assumed that was it, then @43 she had a girl.

My point is that you can't predict how/when its going to be for you. Some people fall straight away and some don't. Your choice is a very personal one that I wouldn't want to influence, but just be aware that you can't just decide "I'll have one at 38, and one at 39/40" with any degree of certainty, and at 38 your fertility is lower so you have even less certainty.

goatmom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 291
Just a different perspective.  My mom had children later in life.  Not by choice but by circumstance.  She was always the oldest mom. She had me at 37 but my younger brother at 45.  It wasn't a big deal when we were young.  But now that she is older and not well it is tougher.  She was never able to really help with the grandchildren and now is lucky if she remembers their names.  I spend a great deal of time taking her to doctor appointments and checking in on her.  I think I would be resentful if I thought she purposefully postponed children so she could FIRE.  Or travel.  Etc.   I would say if at all possible if you are mature and financially stable - it is best to have children younger if that is a choice you can make. I know life has no guarantees, but I would rather be helping take care of my parents when my children were already grown.  Dealing with my mom and my own children is really draining.  Best of luck with your decision.

abhe8

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
no, I would not wait. but it sounds like for the op, that waiting is the best option. op, if your husband likes to work, i'm not sure why you are killing yourself and putting off having children so that he can retire early? he likes to work, let him work. you want to be 100% mom, start trying now.

but what I really wanted to put out there are some actual facts on fertility. it decreases LINEARLY every year from its peak at 16, decreases by 2%. every year the % chance of becoming and staying pregnant deceases by 2%. the advanced maternal age designation at age 35 was based on relative risk in the 1980s. at that time, the risk of miscarriage due to amniocentesis was plotted against the risk curve of a child born with down syndrome. the intersection of that graft fell on age 35. however, today, the risk of miscarriage with amnio is much less. and, like some previous posters noted, there are many blood tests and less invasive measures that can detect fetal and chromosomal abnormalities. there is no big leap or spike at age 35. its not a magic switch or turn. its just one year older. but every year older comes with decreased fertility AND increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the child. just fyi. :)

I don't know if there is a big leap re the risk of abnormalities at 35 but there is a cliff re chances of both natural conception and IVF chances. For some women the cliff is as early as 32, for some as late as 40, for most it's around 35.

A fertility expert can tell you where you stand by a simple bloodtest and an antral follical count via ultrasound.


yes, of course fertility declines. but my point is it is a LINEAR decline, from age 16 onward. the rate decreases by 2% each year. there is not big jump or spike in the decline in fertility at age 35.

Lyssa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Location: Germany
no, I would not wait. but it sounds like for the op, that waiting is the best option. op, if your husband likes to work, i'm not sure why you are killing yourself and putting off having children so that he can retire early? he likes to work, let him work. you want to be 100% mom, start trying now.

but what I really wanted to put out there are some actual facts on fertility. it decreases LINEARLY every year from its peak at 16, decreases by 2%. every year the % chance of becoming and staying pregnant deceases by 2%. the advanced maternal age designation at age 35 was based on relative risk in the 1980s. at that time, the risk of miscarriage due to amniocentesis was plotted against the risk curve of a child born with down syndrome. the intersection of that graft fell on age 35. however, today, the risk of miscarriage with amnio is much less. and, like some previous posters noted, there are many blood tests and less invasive measures that can detect fetal and chromosomal abnormalities. there is no big leap or spike at age 35. its not a magic switch or turn. its just one year older. but every year older comes with decreased fertility AND increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the child. just fyi. :)

I don't know if there is a big leap re the risk of abnormalities at 35 but there is a cliff re chances of both natural conception and IVF chances. For some women the cliff is as early as 32, for some as late as 40, for most it's around 35.

A fertility expert can tell you where you stand by a simple bloodtest and an antral follical count via ultrasound.


yes, of course fertility declines. but my point is it is a LINEAR decline, from age 16 onward. the rate decreases by 2% each year. there is not big jump or spike in the decline in fertility at age 35.

My point was precisely that afaik the decline in fertility is not linear. The chart showing IVF successes that I was presented with just a week ago in a fertility clinic showed a very slow decline from mid twenties to early thirties, than a faster decline taking up speed and a rapid decline past 35. I understand that they tell there late 30ies patients that for them not every year but every months counts.

Lyssa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Location: Germany
Just a different perspective.  My mom had children later in life.  Not by choice but by circumstance.  She was always the oldest mom. She had me at 37 but my younger brother at 45.  It wasn't a big deal when we were young.  But now that she is older and not well it is tougher.  She was never able to really help with the grandchildren and now is lucky if she remembers their names.  I spend a great deal of time taking her to doctor appointments and checking in on her.  I think I would be resentful if I thought she purposefully postponed children so she could FIRE.  Or travel.  Etc.   I would say if at all possible if you are mature and financially stable - it is best to have children younger if that is a choice you can make. I know life has no guarantees, but I would rather be helping take care of my parents when my children were already grown.  Dealing with my mom and my own children is really draining.  Best of luck with your decision.

My parents had children in their twenties and ended up taking care of their parents (and other old relatives) while we were young. Now we're grown and there still is one grandmother and some siblings to care for. You can plan for this even less than for pregnancies.

For me, children are anybody's first obligation. If this is the common understanding there is no need to be resentful. Caring for an elderly person is also much harder than caring for a child because you are not helping somebody to become more and more independent but rather managing a decline and dealing with ever increasing needs. If you start feeling resentment outsource as much as possible, better be a cheerful visitor than a miserable caretaker. I've seen several lifes of people being 'eaten up' by caring for their relatives. It might be slightly less stressfull when it does not pile up on top of raising your kids, however, if you are already 50 or 60 while caring for your parents you may get depressed by the thought that when this is over you are going to be old as well and that this world-trip you've planned is not going to happen anymore... Our increasing life expectancy makes our last years more and more difficult and is a huge challenge to everybody involved, regardless of age.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 09:18:34 AM by Lyssa »

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Location: Midwest
Fertility has been brought up a lot on this thread, but from my reading of the comments (and I may have missed something), Allie is the only person that has brought up miscarriage. Statistically, you are far more likely to experience miscarriage, and this can delay your timeline significantly. This might not be on your radar as much, because I've found that women are pretty shy about discussing their miscarriage(s). I had one between my 2nd and 3rd child at 35, and two years later, I still have only told a handful of people about it.

Let's do a timeline here of how miscarriage can affect when you have a child. I was extremely fortunate and got pregnant four times in the first month of trying. Based on how my OB reacted to this information, I'm guessing this is not the norm. So let's say it takes you 3 months to get pregnant. This would be an good result for someone who doesn't struggle with fertility. Then let's say you miscarry the fetus at 8 weeks - also a very common experience. The miscarriage process can be immediate (w/ DNC) or take a week or more. Most docs recommend that you wait to try again until after your first period post-miscarriage. Some recommend waiting even longer. Your first period can take 4-6 weeks (or even longer if your hormone levels are off). Then let's say you get pregnant after 2 months, and you give birth 9 months later. From start to finish, this is 21 months, maybe even more.

I say this not to fear monger, but to point out how miscarriage often throws a wrench in a couple's timing. And since 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, this should be factored in as well.

Guesl982374

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
Don't delay or if you decide to, then get fertility tested to make sure you aren't shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to have kids.

alwayslearning

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
My DH and I thought about this for a while. We would love to be "financially set" before having kids, but are instead settling for "financially on-track" and having a better chance at having a family.

From what I understand (I don't have kids yet, but are planning to start next year), having a baby only changes your finances as much as you allow it to. Most people in this forum have given light to the idea that kids will impact your finances, but no where near the level the average consumer advertises. I say go for having a family, even if (worst case scenario)it pushes things back a few years.

mrshudson

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 153
if you want kids, have kids.  you will never be fully prepared financially or emotionally.  but that is life, you just gotta roll with it.

This makes perfect sense, except, I want kids, and I also want to be child-free. I'm the guy in the film who loves two women, you know?

I know this is a counter perspective, but I've read that if you wind up having doubts about having kids, you shouldn't. Being emotionally unprepared is not healthy (nor fair) to the child. See, for instance, this article:

http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/preparing-for-pregnancy-emotionally

dunhamjr

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 242
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
  • mustachian in training est. July 14
my wife and i haved kids fairly late.
we both just turned 39 over summer/fall and had out 2nd kid in October as well.

so now here we are approaching 40 and will have a 1 and 3 yo.

we did not purposely wait really.
we didnt meet till almost 30.  we dated for a little longer before living together.  then got married a couple years later.

however it happened.  we did end up having kids later than typical.

if i could do it all over again and reset us to either have met earlier, or had kids sooner in life... and less financially 'set'... i would do so without question.

we are going to turn 50 with a 11 and 13 yo.  (60 means 21 and 23, 70 is 31 and 33)
plausible and nothing wrong with that really.  i just would have done it differently if i had really been set down and talked through the process.
now that i am here... i would really have preferred to have the 11 and 13yr old while i was 40.

our kids will have 'old' parents.  we may not see any grandchildren be born if we are medically unlucky. it will be a feat of timing and nature if we both see our grand kids get to high school/college, since that will really put us up over 70.
if our kids happen to wait a little later in life to have kids we very well may only be around for the first couple of years of their lives.

beyond that.
waiting is a risk for the mother AND kid.  lots more medical complications and birth defect potential in later years.
the female may not even be ABLE to get pregnant at later ages.

unless you are willing to accept the risks of a less than safe pregnancy, the potential of having a child with special needs, not being able to have kids at all, or willing to just adopt.
waiting might not be the best choice.  financial life set or not.

southern granny

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 534
I had my first child at 21, I was 39 when I had my first grand child.  I can tell you for sure you have more energy to deal with children when you are young.  I don't know if I could have handled it in my late 30s.  On the other hand, I have a friend who had her only child when she was 39, and she has done fine.  But she was a stay at home mom.

epipenguin

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
I waited until I was 36 to start trying, mostly because I struggled to meet the right guy. I stopped treatments after multiple IVF cycles and many many thousands of dollars, emotionally shattered and at a very low point. I had good "numbers" as far as FSH levels and other hormones go. But it didn't work. So, while people may say to go and get a workup now, and see if it looks good to wait, the truth is nobody really knows what your fertility is.

I was able to rebuild my vision of my future life and pick myself up. But it was not easy - as you start going along with fertility treatments you become more and more invested in envisioning the outcome. You know, staying positive, hoping, imagining being successful - the self-help books even tell you to do this. When I was left with nothing I was in some senses unable to "see" a future life without children, and had kind of forgotten all the good things that life could bring outside of that. Also I found that there was some grief involved in letting go of the dreams of not just myself but grief for other family members' dreams, like for my dad who would not become a grandfather after all. People are also insensitive in their own ways - they would try to console me and ask if I'd considered adoption, like it'd never even crossed my mind. Of course, inside I was mentally screaming that I consider it every damn day. Adoption is a great choice, but it was not the right choice for me in the end.

Anyway, yeah. NOW I'm ready to go off and live a selfish early retirement life doing stuff I wouldn't have gotten to do if I'd had kids (although I could have retired by now if I hadn't spent so much money on treatments, damn it). NOW I can look forward. But living child free was not my first choice.

RapmasterD

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
  • Location: SF Peninsula
I would do some real research about fertility after 35. There are a lot of misconceptions out there. It is true that there is a sharp rise in the risk of birth defects after 35, but it is still a very, very small risk. Similarly, there can be fertility issues, but there is a LOT of fear-mongering that I think is not helpful for women and tends to push them in the direction of "must have babies now or [insert horrible tragedy]".  I just don't think it's worth making precipitous decisions about having a child for the rest of your life, and especially taking care of a child under 5, based on fear mongering.  There is some testing I think you can do about your fertility and you can certainly educate yourself more on the various risks, but the vast majority of women who decide they want a child at the age of 38 end up conceiving and giving birth to healthy children.  The tragic stories stand out because they are tragic and because there is such a pervasive cultural narrative that seems to provide a framework to make sense of/explain/come to terms with/find blame for those tragedies.

In terms of being an older parent and energy: I had a child right before I turned 27 and felt ridiculously young and unprepared.  Mostly broke, dropped out of college to take a job with healthcare, in a marriage that didn't end up sticking, etc, etc. There were lots of non-ideals and there's things she would have had if I had waited. But it was also amazing to be a young mom. I had tons of energy, could thrive on little sleep, incorporated her easily into my life and many, many other things. I ALSO had a child right before I turned 37, which seems older, and that's been great too.  There is definitely a little bit of feeling like I'm going to be old(ish) by the time I'm "done" with parenting - and that feeling of still being young when your kids leave the house is definitely a younger parent bonus. BUT, I feel much more ready. My life is more stable, I'm able to give him more financially and in terms of security and he hasn't had to go through the same ups and downs as my daughter. I'm much more genuinely enthusiastic about family time and staying home and don't feel as frustrated about having to give up nights out on the town and such. He probably gets more of my attention. And I definitely don't find it any harder energy-wise. 38 is hardly old.

I'd say you should take it one day at a time. You don't need to decide now that it's now or 38. It seems like you're not ready and you have other goals (early retirement, fully committing to your job, etc) that are more important to you right now and that's totally fine.  That may or may not change in one or two years. You can just check back with yourself and your husband each year and see where you're at or how you're feeling.  You may decide to have a baby earlier and find a way to make it work. Or you might decide to wait until 38. Or you might hit 38 and realize that having kids really isn't something you want.  You don't need to decide now. You'll be fine.  You shouldn't feel pressure.  I know you've gotten a lot of the opposite answer but I am much more skeptical - and I say that as a very happy younger and older mom who is thrilled with my kids and wouldn't have it any other way. Just because that's what worked for me - or for anyone else - doesn't mean it's right for you. You should be free to make the choices that work for your unique situation.

Yes. Do the research. And pay a lot of attention to the statistics. You'll find that the increased difficulties in conceiving are based on hard data, and not "fear mongering."

XXOO, the father of a healthy and vibrant 4.5 year old girl who we were amazingly lucky to conceive (my wife was 40) after FIVE miscarriages, a near statistical impossibility.

P.S. Spend time in some of the doctor waiting rooms I've spent many hours in...you'll get long and sad stories...REAL stories.

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Of course if you hang out in the waiting rooms of fertility clinics and doctor's offices you'll get sad stories — the couple who had babies in their late 30s and early 40s without any trouble aren't sitting in those waiting rooms.

Ambergris

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 184
  • Age: 43
...what I really wanted to put out there are some actual facts on fertility. it decreases LINEARLY every year from its peak at 16, ...

I don't mean to pick on you, abhe8, but LOL. Fortunately, "mother nature" has made it so that peak fertility is about your mid twenties; I suspect this has something to do with human babies being hard to raise successfully, and a sort of trade-off between physical strength and coping skills, food gathering productivity in foraging societies and avoiding teh teenage stoopids. The idea of 16 year olds as maximally fertile is terrifying!

Peak fertility declines linearly, as you say, but from about 23-25-ish; once you hit about 35, it declines faster. As other folks have posted, 35 does not involve a precipitous end to fertility.

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
Law changes. You don't know that you or your husband will still have access to your money in retirement account before 55. maybe you'll be FIRE by 38, maybe the money will be not accessible.

Daleth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1201
For me, 38 would be very late. 
In addition to the fertility problems that might delay your ability to get pregnant (and possible secondary infertility making having a 2nd difficult) as well as the potential health problems of the infant due to old eggs

Seconding this. The fact you guys are even considering waiting to start your family until you're 38 means that you--like many or even most people, honestly--are not well informed about female fertility.

Without going into a long explanation, let me just say that the statistics of fertility clinics are organized by age of the woman (because it is the single most critical factor), and the categories are as follows: under 35; 35-37; 38-40; 41-42; and over 42. In other words every woman under 35 is in the same boat, and from age 35 on fertility declines rapidly enough that the age categories are only two years long.

And you can see why if you go here: http://sart.org/frame/detail.aspx?id=3893
Click on "SART National Summary" above the map, and you'll see the average IVF success rates nationwide. The most striking thing is how the success rates (look at "percentage of cycles resulting in live births") drop as women age:
Under 35, 40.1% of IVF cycles result in a baby; at 35-37, it's 31.4%; at 38-40, 21.2%; at 41-42, 11.2%; and above 42, just 4.5%.

I'm 33 and we are currently trying. A number of people in my family have "thought pregnant and got pregnant"- basically as soon as they stopped BC, but that has not been our experience, so I wouldn't say because others in your family easily got pregnant the same will happen for you, especially if you wait until 38. 

My IVF doctor explained to me that having women in your family who went into early menopause or otherwise had fertility problems is an indication that you may have problems, but the reverse is not true because there are too many things other than genes that can interfere with your fertility.

yes, of course fertility declines. but my point is it is a LINEAR decline, from age 16 onward. the rate decreases by 2% each year. there is not big jump or spike in the decline in fertility at age 35.

Wish that were true, but it's not. There is a big jump or spike in fertility problems from age 35 on, as you can see in the IVF success statistics. At the same page linked to above, there's a dropdown menu called "Diagnosis"; if you select "male factor" on that menu, you will see only the data on women who did IVF solely because of male fertility issues. In other words, women whose husbands had such bad sperm quality that they had to do IVF, even though the women had no fertility problems at all. In those women too, you see a massive drop with each successive age group.

As for there being a decrease from 16 onwards, there is a lot of "anecdata" indicating that egg donors 22 and under have lower success rates than egg donors aged 23-30. In other words it appears that, at least as far as modern American women are concerned (and remember we now get our first periods earlier than women used to--it went from 16-17 to 12-13 in a little over a century), the peak years are not the teens but the mid to late twenties.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2015, 02:38:16 PM by Daleth »

Daleth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1201
@ madeup

So and I are contemplating the same question (for different reasons). I don't know if this is an option for you but we decided to go ahead with egg freezing:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/freezing-eggs-has-anybody-done-it/msg596015/#msg596015

I understand that in the US you could choose to freeze embryos as well.

Yes, if you want to spend $25,000 or more, egg freezing or embryo freezing may be good options. (Remember once you freeze them it's not free to move to the next step; you have to pay for each embryo transfer to the tune of $3000+ per attempt, you have to pay $300-$700/year to keep everything frozen, if you just froze eggs you have to pay for the procedures to develop them into embryos, etc.). Also, while IVF is tax deductible like any other medical expense if you're doing it because you have fertility problems, I doubt it's deductible if you're doing it just to postpone childbearing.

And it's hard for me to see that as a good option when the reason for waiting is purely financial. You could have kids now, take that $25k+ and invest it, and be better off--and certain that you won't run into fertility problems due to age.

By the way, Lyssa, since you and your man live in Germany (if I understand correctly) where it's illegal for clinics to freeze embryos, may I suggest that you look into freezing embryos in the Czech Republic? There are world-class clinics there and no legal barriers to freezing embryos. That will give you a better chance of success in the future than freezing eggs will. It's not free, and presumably not covered by German health insurance, but it is dramatically cheaper than doing it in the US.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2015, 02:42:17 PM by Daleth »

Unique User

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 652
  • Location: NC
I had DD 11 months after we sold our restaurant at 32, DH was 40.  It was the right time for us only because earlier we just weren't ready.  Ultimately it's your life decision and only you can know.  Would I have delayed six years if I could have been FI?  Maybe, but who knows. 

NoraLenderbee

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1255
I would say based on what you are asking, worst case wouldn't be infertility, it would be getting pregnant right now.  Think about that and you would have answered your own question.

RunHappy it's interesting you say this... So far the forum answers are very much, 'get on with it!'. Whilst I wrote the question thinking that I was open-minded about which response I got, I am having quite a strong 'No not yet!' reaction, which is very telling.

It's like in Friends when Phoebe tells Rachel she isn't pregnant to see if she's disappointed. The general consensus is to do it now, and I am (surprisingly) disappointed by this. So my question has been answered really. I definitely don't want to have kids I'm not absolutely sure I want to have, if you know what I mean.

Thank you for your input everyone, I love hearing everyone's experiences.

I'm 52, married, without children. Sometimes I regret not having them. I see my niece and nephew grow up, and my brother's joy and pride in them, and I know I'm missing some things. But when I look back at my 20s and 30s, I don't see any time, not one single time, when it would have been a *good* idea to have a baby. Most of the time it would have been a disaster. And I do like my life the way it is.

Perhaps you should think about freezing eggs, discuss it with your spouse, and see what your feelings are when that option is on the table.

RapmasterD

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
  • Location: SF Peninsula
Of course if you hang out in the waiting rooms of fertility clinics and doctor's offices you'll get sad stories — the couple who had babies in their late 30s and early 40s without any trouble aren't sitting in those waiting rooms.

Love your lack of empathy, but not really.

Lyssa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Location: Germany
@ madeup

So and I are contemplating the same question (for different reasons). I don't know if this is an option for you but we decided to go ahead with egg freezing:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/freezing-eggs-has-anybody-done-it/msg596015/#msg596015

I understand that in the US you could choose to freeze embryos as well.

Yes, if you want to spend $25,000 or more, egg freezing or embryo freezing may be good options. (Remember once you freeze them it's not free to move to the next step; you have to pay for each embryo transfer to the tune of $3000+ per attempt, you have to pay $300-$700/year to keep everything frozen, if you just froze eggs you have to pay for the procedures to develop them into embryos, etc.). Also, while IVF is tax deductible like any other medical expense if you're doing it because you have fertility problems, I doubt it's deductible if you're doing it just to postpone childbearing.

And it's hard for me to see that as a good option when the reason for waiting is purely financial. You could have kids now, take that $25k+ and invest it, and be better off--and certain that you won't run into fertility problems due to age.

By the way, Lyssa, since you and your man live in Germany (if I understand correctly) where it's illegal for clinics to freeze embryos, may I suggest that you look into freezing embryos in the Czech Republic? There are world-class clinics there and no legal barriers to freezing embryos. That will give you a better chance of success in the future than freezing eggs will. It's not free, and presumably not covered by German health insurance, but it is dramatically cheaper than doing it in the US.

Thank goodness, it's cheaper in Germany as well. About 2-3k per cycle of freezing. A few hundred per year for storage. Not covered by insurance and not tax deductible.

For the time being we decided to only freeze eggs in order to avoid deciding what should happen to the embryos should we separate or should one of us die before we use them. I also found a doc very experienced in egg freezing because he treated cancer patients for two decades already. If all goes well with the two cycles scheduled for June/July we'll see if we feel good about the outcome or want to further look into additional options.

Like explained in the egg freezing discussion, we're not only doing it to be FI before we have children but for emotional/health reasons. However, I admit that being FI at 36/37 and having children in the next few years sounds just perfect for me. I realize it might not work out this way or maybe not at all.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 12:54:35 AM by Lyssa »

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Location: Midwest
Does freezing eggs have any adverse health effects? I remember reading an article that detailed the dark underside of egg donation for young women looking to make a buck in their early twenties. They mentioned hormones and the possibility of infertility problems later in life.

fb132

  • Guest
I would say no, but then again, don't listen to me, I hate kids.

Merrie

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 465
  • Location: Midwest
There is also the question of pregnancy complications, which increase over 35 as well.

Personally I chose to not wait even when it might have made more sense. I had my daughter right after graduation--I was 8 1/2 months pregnant at graduation. We could have waited a year or two and gotten our financial house in order, but we didn't, and as I look back I regret not paying off the student loans before we bought the house but I don't regret having our daughter when we did. This last year I watched several friends in their late thirties go through a lot of pregnancy issues--gestational diabetes, hypertension, pre-eclampsia. Anecdotal, but it made me glad I hadn't waited. Also my husband is 5 years older than me and he said as he's gotten older it's been harder to get up with a baby. We hope for one more (maybe) and are currently 37 and 32 with our kids being 3 1/2 and 14 months old. I don't think I'd want to be pregnant past 35 if I could help it.

I think in the case of the OP there are multiple different options, too. It's rarely a choice between only two things. Have a kid at 33 or at 38? What about waiting one or two years? Husband retiring at 55 or 68? How about cutting back on some expenses to change those dates? You quitting work versus not? How about working part-time at some point? etc.