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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 08:18:21 AM

Title: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 08:18:21 AM
I’m an active forum member, but I’ve created a burner account for this question due to information about my job I do not wish to have tied to my regular username. Hope that’s ok.


I am 32. My husband and I think we would like kids, but not yet.

I work for a business that I helped to start. The business has a guaranteed workload until I turn 38 years old, at high profit levels. At that point the business will close, as we have fulfilled our obligations to our clients, and the boss wants to retire. (Nothing is ‘guaranteed’, I know, but I can only work with the very good facts I have at this time, so that’s what I’m doing).

If I stick it out until I am 38 I will have funded our retirement accounts such that we can retire comfortably at 55 without me having to ever work again.

There is a significant possibly of a payout for all the years I put into the business. Obviously it is not guaranteed, and I wouldn’t want to take it for granted, but the boss has always said he would ‘see us right’ at the end. I would guess around £100k (and it's an educated guess because I look after all the finances and have 10 year's experience dealing with this guy). I mention this because I would hate to leave to have kids at 37 and not get this ‘golden goodbye’.

Assuming I didn’t get a final payout, my husband would be 40 when I ‘retired’ and he would have to work until he was 55. This is based on his current salary, with no pay increases, which is unlikely, but I like to be cautious.

Should we get a payout, it would pay off our mortgage. This would give us a surplus yearly income of £10k, and we would be spending about £19k in retirement, so for each year two years he worked my husband could retire about a year earlier.

The issue with all of this is my biological clock. Having kids is never guaranteed, you can’t just order them up and 9 months later they appear. And, the later you leave it, the harder it may become. Also, there is increased risk of problems with the pregnancy or the health of the child.

Also, we would ideally like 2 kids. If all went perfectly to plan I suppose that would mean delivering one at age 38 the day after the company closes (ha!)  and one at age 39/40, which sounds very late to me. But, things like this rarely go as planned, and, of course, we have no data points as to how easy (or hard) we might find it to conceive. (Does family history have any bearing? If so, that would help, as we have parents, brothers and cousins who conceived LITERALLY on their first attempt).

Mustacians, with your collective experience, is it worth delaying kids so that 1) i never have to work again and 2) my husband can join me in retirement after 15 years (or 10 if I get a pay off)?

If I gave up work now to have kids we would have 8 years of retirement funded and my husband would have to work until he was 68 whilst finding some way to meet the shortfall of £4400 from age 68 until 8 years before death. Presumably that would mean me going back to work for much lower pay (I would not wish to be involved in starting another company during the heavy child-rearing years, plus I was in the right place at the right time with this one. The original idea and impetus was not mine).

Me going back to work is not ideal because while my husband really enjoys working, I hate it, plus my earnings at present are ridiculous for what I do, due to being involved in setting the company up. I would be very very lucky to earn half of what I do now, for twice the hours elsewhere, and that's without taking into account childcare, or a potential break in employment to wait until these (imaginary) kids are in school. Taking a career break and staying this involved (read: big salary + bonuses) in my current company isn't looking likely (and I don't want to debate the justice/injustice of that. This company has treated me amazingly).

Thanks for sharing your collective wisdom.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: benjenn on March 31, 2015, 08:30:47 AM
I don't want to answer your question from the perspective of your early retirement situation but from a mom's perspective instead.  I had my first at 28 and my second at 30... 10 years earlier than you're considering.  While I think there are some benefits in being an older parent (everyone in my family considered 28 to be an older parent!), there are some definite drawbacks.  Right now, I'm 50... so I have a 22 year old and a 20 year old.  I can't imagine having a 12 year old and a 10 year old at this age.  THOSE are the years with the most work in my opinion.

My mom was 37 when she had me and 39 when she had my brother.  She was always the oldest parent at any of our functions.  And she died when she was only 57... I was 19, brother was 17.

Everyone is different, of course, and there's no right or wrong time to have children really.  I just know that for me, I think having them closer to 30  is way better than waiting. 
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Bob W on March 31, 2015, 08:31:40 AM
You could delay.  Our last kid was at age 49 for me and 43 for wife.   We were definitely unset. 

Kids are very expensive and generally a roadblock to serious Mustachians.   Were I to do it over I would be very much more set before kiddos.  Remember though that the aging thing effects both men and women with the chances of several issues including Down Syndrome increasing significantly each year. 

One very positive upside is the correlation between age of last child and life extension.   It appears that having a child after 40 correlates with 5 years extra life in general.   

By the way,  I'll be 70 at my sons 21st birthday party!
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: I'm a red panda on March 31, 2015, 08:31:52 AM
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, I also worry about my energy levels to be able to parent, not only the children when they are infants, but when they are teens.   


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. 

I am happy we are financially sound, and glad I didn't do this at 22, but I wish I had done it at 26 or 28... 
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: yandz on March 31, 2015, 08:36:20 AM
When I am making decisions like this, I like to look at the "worst care scenario" and see how I feel about that.  You seem to be grappling with even the "if all goes according to plan" scenario.  Now let's say it doesn't.  Let's say you can't get pregnant when you retire - or that you have complications (a risk with any pregnancy, though). How does that make you feel? Is adoption an option for you? If you spend 2 years trying and now you are trying to adopt at 40, is that considered acceptable with agencies (I really don't know the answer to this)?

When you think through those situations, can you see the same level of contentment as if everything does go according to plan? Or do you start feeling sad about it?  I would say if you are not comfortable with these cases, you should not put it off.  If you ARE comfortable, than yeah, I am all for a "put in the work up front" approach.

This coming from someone who does not plan to have kids, so grain of salt, but in general, I try to look at my ability to deal with the less ideal scenario to make these decisions even if I hope for the ideal one.  Regrets stay minimal.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 08:37:53 AM

One very positive upside is the correlation between age of last child and life extension.   It appears that having a child after 40 correlates with 5 years extra life in general.   

By the way,  I'll be 70 at my sons 21st birthday party!

Oh no, I'd have to fund more years of retirement! Kidding. My parents had me later in life and they always act much younger and are fitter than my friends' parents, they think having us late kept them young. Certainly when I was teenager all parents were 'ancient' to me and I remember being surprised by a friend's mother turning 40 when mine were already in their 50s and I had assumed that she was too.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 08:39:27 AM

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. 

I am happy we are financially sound, and glad I didn't do this at 22, but I wish I had done it at 26 or 28...

So sorry to hear you are having trouble, I hope things work out for you soon.

I thought it likely the case that family history is more anecdotal than anything, thanks for chiming in.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 08:45:07 AM
When I am making decisions like this, I like to look at the "worst care scenario" and see how I feel about that.  You seem to be grappling with even the "if all goes according to plan" scenario.  Now let's say it doesn't.  Let's say you can't get pregnant when you retire - or that you have complications (a risk with any pregnancy, though). How does that make you feel? Is adoption an option for you? If you spend 2 years trying and now you are trying to adopt at 40, is that considered acceptable with agencies (I really don't know the answer to this)?

When you think through those situations, can you see the same level of contentment as if everything does go according to plan? Or do you start feeling sad about it?  I would say if you are not comfortable with these cases, you should not put it off.  If you ARE comfortable, than yeah, I am all for a "put in the work up front" approach.

This coming from someone who does not plan to have kids, so grain of salt, but in general, I try to look at my ability to deal with the less ideal scenario to make these decisions even if I hope for the ideal one.  Regrets stay minimal.

This is a great exercise, thank you.

You might have noticed I said 'we think we want kids'. If I was absolutely of the 'I must have babies or my life is meaningless!' mindset, I wouldn't delay.

Honestly, if we couldn't have kids, but we were financially set, I'm sure there would be a period of mourning for what might have been. But I am confident I could live a happy and productive life. 

Adoption probably wouldn't be for us, I would probably take it as permission to live a very selfish and extravagant (in a MMM way) life. But fostering would certainly be something I would consider, which would give me a sense of serving others and perhaps scratch a parenting itch. Fostering is fine at any age where I am.

So, yeah, if we couldn't have kids it wouldn't be the end of the world. I guess the variable is having a child with a severe disability, and although this can happen at any age, it is more likely the longer I leave it. I have no idea how I would feel about that, because I think it's something you have to experience to know your reaction.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: GizmoTX on March 31, 2015, 08:46:16 AM
It depends on how badly you want children. Family history helps, but only if they too produced a child at the age you are contemplating. As you noted, there's no guarantee.

We started at age 39 -- it then took 5 years of fertility treatments, ultimately IVF, & at least $50K for DS. There were some minor congenital problems that he needed surgery for, but fortunately nothing to impair his intelligence. We attempted a second child for 2 years & then gave up. I will say that having DS has been worth it far beyond our expectations, & he's 21 now. I would counsel my earlier self to begin sooner.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on March 31, 2015, 08:51:22 AM
Expert parent here :)

Just a few things were going through my head when I see 'first' and '38'.  For whatever reason, 35 years of age sticks in my mind as the age where the female begins to move in to a danger zone in terms of likelihood of birth defects like down syndrome go up (You'll have to do more research on this, here's a start:  http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20140203/babies-born-to-moms-over-35-may-have-lower-risk-for-certain-birth-defects).  I can also vouch for the fact that most bodies seems a lot less able to bounce back at close to 40 vs. close to 30, and pregnancy can be serious business, but you have to be the judge on your health, genetics, etc.  Just trying to point out that there are things that may trump financial considerations, given that you seem to be in reasonable, non-hair-on-fire shape.  FI earlier is surely sweet, but there might be trade-offs.  Plenty of people have happy, healthy families later in life, but IMHO, I agree with others that it will be nice to send the kids off to college and be done with the physical and time-consuming side of parenting young children before 50 (we had ours at 29 and 31).

Just my 2 cents, and I'm definitely NOT an expert parent :)
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: SuperSecretName on March 31, 2015, 08:51:45 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: teacherwithamustache on March 31, 2015, 08:53:55 AM
I would talk to boss about telecommuting.   If it is a family atmosphere tell him you want to have a family and doing both with the job hours is not going to be possible. See if you can reach some sort of middle ground.
 Either you just started your path to FIRE or some other type of hardship but....  I dont see how this change is going to drastically change your FIRE situation.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: fartface on March 31, 2015, 08:54:10 AM
No, I would not delay.

I had my children at ages 27 - 28 - 29. Yep, all three before age 30.

I stayed home with them for six years (3 years of that maternity leave).

You can always find another job, and this job has to give you family leave benefits by law. 

In the end it didn't delay our FIRE plans all that much. DH FIRE'd at age 43. I'll go a little longer 47 - 49; however, it's still a very ER and well worth it to have had my children sooner rather than later. Also, this gives him about six years to be the "stay at home parent" and that's great for my three girls to see.

Good luck to you!
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on March 31, 2015, 08:57:17 AM
No, absolutely not.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 08:58:00 AM
I would talk to boss about telecommuting.   If it is a family atmosphere tell him you want to have a family and doing both with the job hours is not going to be possible. See if you can reach some sort of middle ground.
 Either you just started your path to FIRE or some other type of hardship but....  I dont see how this change is going to drastically change your FIRE situation.

It would drastically change my FIRE situation as I outlined above:

Having kids now = me going back to work for a lot less pay (this company will cease in 2020 regardless of my decision, so my high-earning years are limited), and simply funding a basic retirement for my husband and I from age 68.

Waiting = me never having to work again, and my husband retiring at 55 at the latest.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 08:58:38 AM
I would counsel my earlier self to begin sooner.

Thank you. It seems this is recurring theme that I need to take to heart.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 09:02:42 AM
No, I would not delay.

I had my children at ages 27 - 28 - 29. Yep, all three before age 30.

I stayed home with them for six years (3 years of that maternity leave).

You can always find another job, and this job has to give you family leave benefits by law. 

In the end it didn't delay our FIRE plans all that much. DH FIRE'd at age 43. I'll go a little longer 47 - 49; however, it's still a very ER and well worth it to have had my children sooner rather than later. Also, this gives him about six years to be the "stay at home parent" and that's great for my three girls to see.

Good luck to you!

Thanks fartface. I can always find another job, but not one with these benefits (without going through the whole risky start up thing again). I know what is required by law... but this job has always exceeded what was due to me in every way, and the type of business it is (built on personal relationship etc) would not be conducive to a long period of leave (and I would not want to take a maternity leave of less than, say, 6 months at a minimum). I would want to look after the company by handing over to someone new and permanent, the same way the company has always looked after me. I guess if I did that there may still be a chance of a 'golden goodbye'. But a traditional leave isn't something I'm considering as this has never been a traditional arrangement.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 09:04:10 AM
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?
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: SuperSecretName on March 31, 2015, 09:07:49 AM
I have a doctor friend who was talking to some of my peers (early 30s).  beyond age 35, women are considered something like advanced maternal age or whatever.  There are many increased risks with pregnancy at that age.

you will no doubt love the kid when it comes.

life is what happens while you are making other plans.  go knock some boots.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: dramaman on March 31, 2015, 09:09:20 AM
We delayed trying to have kids until our early thirties and between some initial fertility problems and two miscarriages, it wasn't until our mid thirties that we finally succeeded. My daughters are 8 and 7 and my wife was able to 'retire' last fall. I'm hoping that we will be at full FI in about five more years.

If I had to do it over again, we'd have started trying to have a family a few years earlier. Fertility does decrease significantly from late twenties and beyond. I'd like to have another child, but our second daughter was a 26 week preemie and there is no way my wife is willing to even consider another pregnancy.

[edited - I meant to say fertility decreases, not increases]
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: RunHappy on March 31, 2015, 09:14:59 AM
I'm 38 and pregnant.  So far the pregnancy is going well, but 38 is still considered "high risk".  With my age we were expecting to have to try for a long time before conceiving...NOPE!  first "try", so everyone is different.

There are pros and cons with having children at a later age.  My parents had my younger brother when they were 42 and never regretted it, said it "kept them young".

For kids I would say there is no real "right" time, have them in the time you want and enjoy them, but timing isn't something you can control.

While I knew I wanted kids, I also knew I was prepared to live a long and happy life child-free.  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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: yandz on March 31, 2015, 09:15:59 AM
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?

A bit outside what you are asking for advice on, but when I was feeling 50/50 about kids, I read a book called "Two is Enough" and it really helped me work through thoughts and feelings on the matter.  Survey data and interviews with a load of couples who decided not to have kids for various reasons.  You will find yourself relating or not relating in ways that are very clarifying.  Just something to bring into your decision making process.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 09:19:12 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on March 31, 2015, 09:22:27 AM
You definitely don't want yourself in a situation where you strongly resent your child (though I think everybody has inklings of that sometimes). Those are by far the worst parents I know.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: KCM5 on March 31, 2015, 09:28:54 AM
Have you considered taking a short maternity leave (in the UK I'm sure 3 months would be considered short) and your husband leaving work to take care of the child(ren) for a couple of years? Or would that be too much of an interruption as well?

I don't think delaying until 38 is a terrible idea since you're not completely set on having kids. And it's only 5 more years.

One thing to consider: is the 2020 timeline certain? Or could it be pushed back by a couple of years. That might change your caluclations - starting to try at 40 sounds more daunting than starting to try at 37/38.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: sol on March 31, 2015, 09:32:50 AM
We had a child when my wife was 40.  One perspectives I haven't seen mentioned yet...

Many of the concerns mentioned above about the health of the child can be mitigated now.  Genetic testing has come a loooong way in the past 10 years, and virtually all of the age-related potential complications can now be tested for early in the first trimester.  Most of the time when these tests find a problem the pregnancy is doomed all by itself and you'll miscarry.  Some of the time the problem will result in a live birth but with a life expectancy measured in days.  And some of the time, like with Down's Syndrome, the problem will result in a viable live birth but will require lifelong care that you will not always be able to provide, and usually that person ends up in some kind of assisted living facility or group home, at considerable expense.

You should probably think about what decisions you would make if you were notified of any of those types of problems in your first trimester.  Nobody wants to have an abortion, but if it were my body I would probably opt to abort a fetus that I knew would suffer horribly and then die young, because that horrible decision might allow you to raise a healthy child instead.  A healthy child that you might not be able to have if you devote two more years of your biological clock time to a pregnancy and then traumatic death of a child with serious medical problems.  And don't even get me started on the emotional trauma.

In our case it wasn't an issue because our daughter turned out perfectly, but we spent a lot of time reading about the possible diagnoses from our genetic testing, and then talking about what we thought we would do if the news was bad.  At least be aware that these tests do exist now, so it's not like you'd be going into this thing totally blind.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 09:38:16 AM
Have you considered taking a short maternity leave (in the UK I'm sure 3 months would be considered short) and your husband leaving work to take care of the child(ren) for a couple of years? Or would that be too much of an interruption as well?

I don't think delaying until 38 is a terrible idea since you're not completely set on having kids. And it's only 5 more years.

One thing to consider: is the 2020 timeline certain? Or could it be pushed back by a couple of years. That might change your caluclations - starting to try at 40 sounds more daunting than starting to try at 37/38.

I have considered that - I'm in the UK too and it is possible to 'give' my husband some of my leave. It just seems silly for me to go back when I dislike working, and him to not work when he likes working.

I'm very much an 'all or nothing' character. If I decide to become a mother I would prefer to stay at home and immerse myself in that full-time (and I'm not saying that that is better than going back to work, it is just that that is what I would like).

2020 is definite, as far as the future ever can be.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Alchemilla on March 31, 2015, 09:44:17 AM
I had mine at 31, 35 and 39.

Had I started ten years earlier I should probably have four or even five.

I would not delay because once you start trying, it can become an all consuming issue ifit doesn't happen easily.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: madeup on March 31, 2015, 09:45:22 AM
We had a child when my wife was 40.  One perspectives I haven't seen mentioned yet...


Thanks for the perspective Sol. I have considered these decisions, and my husband and I are happy that we agree on what we do if given news early on in a pregnancy. I have also read more and about fertility rate data being rather out of date. One thing I read (and I haven't looked it up, but I must) is that the study on fertility rates rapidly decreasing after 35 is based on French data from before contraception (really, that's what I read! As I said, I have not verified), and that contraception obviously makes a huge difference. 100 years ago, if you had not conceived by 35 you likely were not sexually active, or infertile. I have not conceived by age 32, but I have been actively preventing pregnancy the whole time. So that data may be kind of self-selecting - if before contraception you hadn't had a child by 35, after the age of 35 you were unlikely to be successful.

More research is needed, I will get on it.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: scrubbyfish on March 31, 2015, 10:02:39 AM
I would neither delay til I'm set nor start parenting when I'm poor. I would go for a hybrid of these: starting to parent while "reasonably set up". To me, that means: emergency savings, income from passive or super flexible/part time sources, excellent habits of frugality/living on less than income/financial wisdom, and a couple of spare relatives or else enough income to pay for parenting help. None of those is specific to FIRE.

I was gearing up to adopt locally, so had lots of my ducks in a row when I became pregnant -surprise!- in my early 30s. Parenting has had a funny impact on my finances -inspiring me in advance to get them together, then costing me lots when he had disabilities, then making me money, then costing me again, and so on.

I'm very glad I waited til early 30s because I (personally) needed the extra time to mature, heal, develop before I could parent somewhat well. But it was only parenting that told/showed me what else I needed to do to keep up with this vocation, so I'm really glad I went for it before I and my life became "perfect".

Anyway, I think it's really cool that the theme in the responses is giving you the information YOU need :)
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: dramaman on March 31, 2015, 10:21:47 AM
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 already shared my experiences. I would just dispel any illusion that this is a decision in which you have control over the outcome. You could decide to have children sooner and find you have fertility issues that take years to resolve. Or you could get easily pregnant and find a baby to be an unbearable financial and personal burden. Or not. You could decide to wait and find that you and your husband easily get all the children you want. Or none at all.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: SilveradoBojangles on March 31, 2015, 10:22:03 AM
I have no perspective on the now or later -- I am 33 and dealing with a similar (though less stark) issue, so I don't know what is right. But my advice is to go get a full fertility work up. Knowing your hormone levels and egg reserves will allow you to make a more informed decision on whether your fertility is likely to take a nose dive at 35 (or sooner), or whether you can probably wait.

Also, thinking about the "best of both worlds" -- what if you had a kid in a few years (but before 38), took a short maternity leave, and went back to work for this same company? They wouldn't fire you, i assume? I know it may not be ideal, but you would know that after 38 you would get to be home with your kid (if that is what you want). Is that a possibility?
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: dramaman on March 31, 2015, 10:26:41 AM
I have no perspective on the now or later -- I am 33 and dealing with a similar (though less stark) issue, so I don't know what is right. But my advice is to go get a full fertility work up. Knowing your hormone levels and egg reserves will allow you to make a more informed decision on whether your fertility is likely to take a nose dive at 35 (or sooner), or whether you can probably wait.

Yes, the more you know up front the better and then discuss the options with your doctor, whose medical opinion I'd trust way more than any of our anecdotal stories.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: ltt on March 31, 2015, 10:29:54 AM
I would not delay.  Statistically speaking, fertility starts declining rapidly at age 35.  There is a very small chance of getting pregnant in any given month by the time you are 40.   I know, I know, there are women that do it, but again, we talking about statistics.  Also, the risk for a miscarriage and the risk of birth defects is higher as you get older.  We have several children--bio and adopted.  I had my first at age 34; one of our bio children does have a disability.  If you are on birth control pills, it may take a while for the pill to come out of your system--that will take time; it may take time to get pregnant.  All of that should be figured in.  If you have any type of fertility treatment, the doctor will tell you if you have enough eggs.   
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: charis on March 31, 2015, 10:36:43 AM
I have no perspective on the now or later -- I am 33 and dealing with a similar (though less stark) issue, so I don't know what is right. But my advice is to go get a full fertility work up. Knowing your hormone levels and egg reserves will allow you to make a more informed decision on whether your fertility is likely to take a nose dive at 35 (or sooner), or whether you can probably wait.

Also, thinking about the "best of both worlds" -- what if you had a kid in a few years (but before 38), took a short maternity leave, and went back to work for this same company? They wouldn't fire you, i assume? I know it may not be ideal, but you would know that after 38 you would get to be home with your kid (if that is what you want). Is that a possibility?

Can you get a full fertility work up covered by insurance without demonstrated infertility? Not in the US.  That could be very expensive.

I'd say that your question is very all or nothing because you are saying that you have to drop out of the workforce once you have a baby.

My one question:  Are you ok with ending up with no business payout and no children?

If you and your husband are both on the fence about kids to begin with,  I would probably wait, but be comfortable with the worst case scenario, whatever that is for you.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: HazelStone on March 31, 2015, 10:39:57 AM

Also, we would ideally like 2 kids. If all went perfectly to plan I suppose that would mean delivering one at age 38 the day after the company closes (ha!)  and one at age 39/40, which sounds very late to me. But, things like this rarely go as planned, and, of course, we have no data points as to how easy (or hard) we might find it to conceive. (Does family history have any bearing? If so, that would help, as we have parents, brothers and cousins who conceived LITERALLY on their first attempt).

I am from a "small Catholic family." My female relatives, their husbands so much as have a dirty thought, they get pregnant. Me, I get to pay for the gyno's new Benz. I'll spare you the specifics there. I am 34, I went off birth control last winter, and we are still trying. I've gone through evaluation at a fertility clinic. There are still a couple of things to check out with me still, but Sweetie's side of it tests out as fine. Your family might not have problems, but YOU might. I have aunts who had babies in their 40's, but those were happy surprises, not specifically attempted. Most women in their late 30's, the odds just aren't that great. It's also harder bouncing back from a pregnancy when you're older.

The attitude I've gotten from the fertility clinic is basically, "We don't want you to worry yet, but we're very glad to see you here now rather than at 36-37-38+."

If you want kids, and you aren't worrying about where your next mortgage payment is coming from, I advise *against* waiting. My SIL planned her first when she was still in residency. There's rarely any "easy" or "convenient" time to have them. Having kids will always involve tradeoffs on other things. Bear in mind that while you think you might be "set" a few years from now, you might not be after all.

We did the genetic screenings, and a comprehensive screen cost us $100/person. Since we are of ethnicities known for a couple of the nastier genetic disorders, we took the precaution.  We found ourselves both carriers for some little-known mild condition easily treatable...nothing on the order of Tay-Sachs or CF.  There's no reason NOT to do the screening these days.

"Now you know! And knowing is half the battle!"
"Thanks, Duke!"
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: merula on March 31, 2015, 10:40:32 AM
Here's what I don't understand. You're 32 now, and presumably your husband is a similar age or you probably would have mentioned it. If you didn't have your job, your husband would be working until 68, which means 36 working years. Assuming that you have no savings right now, that translates to saving about 20% of your income. Is there any way you can increase that to get both? Have kids when it's less likely to be a major issue and keep working for this job?

I would like to second the suggestion to consider a stay-at-home dad. My maternity leaves were 6 weeks with my first and 8ish with my second. (With the second I did midday half days for 2 weeks after I came back, 10-3, it worked really well to ease back into working.) This is short even by US standards (at least at my company), but it didn't feel like it was that big of a deal because I missed work and I didn't worry about the kids because they were with Dad.

But, also, if you're not totally and completely sure you want children, I would probably wait or not have them at all. I was super 100% sure I wanted kids, and most days they're great, but there are still tough days. It's impossible to describe how thoroughly your life will change.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: DecD on March 31, 2015, 10:44:06 AM
I didn't choose to wait- I had my kids at age 30 and 34.  Part of the reason we started when we did was that my sister had a hysterectomy at age 32.  I was worried about waiting too long.

However, I'm now 37.  I can in fact picture having another kid now.  We don't plan to.  But it's not an outrageous idea.  I don't feel ancient!  It's something we haven't completely closed the door on (though that door is nearly ready to be shut!)

With my second child, I thought I wanted to take an extended (1-year) maternity leave.  Three months in, I was ready to start working again.  I got a quarter-time position, which was perfect for us.  I went back full time when he was a year.  So that's a possible compromise- what if you have kids in 3 or 4 years time and go to part-time with your job?  It might be a good compromise.

It sounds like you are not yet ready to have kids in any case.  Luckily, you don't have to make the decision today.  You can simply point out "I am not ready to have kids this year.  Let's revisit this question a year or two from now" and then re-assess.  Maybe you'll be ready in 3 years.  If you are, go for it.  If not, keep on stashing the salary.

Good luck and enjoy that good position you've got!
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: ysette9 on March 31, 2015, 10:58:42 AM
You have received a lot of advice, but ultimately I think it comes down to some soul-searching on what your regrets might be later on in life. We struggled with fertility (two 2nd trimester losses in a row and then trouble getting pregnant the third time) and what drove me through all of it was not wanting to look back later in life with regret. I knew that we could live a happy and fulfilled life just the two of us, but I never wanted to spend my time thinking "if only". I'd advise thinking long and hard about that. If the business doesn't work out, how will you feel? If it does work out and you don't end up having (or being able to have) kids, how will you feel?

For my own part, we started as soon as I turned 30 and it wasn't until almost 33 that my lovely daughter arrived. My mother had no problem getting pregnant. Her younger sister had my cousin at 37. I had no worries and got pregnant pretty quickly. Then things went seriously downhill. I ended up giving birth to a low birth weight preemie who is now thankfully very strong and healthy. My point is: never count on things like fertility. We are mostly all of the personality type to plan and chart and track and otherwise get most things in life in our control. Having kids is just not like that. It was a big lesson for me in letting go of the things I could not control. Mother Nature can be surprisingly fickle at times!
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: forummm on March 31, 2015, 11:07:20 AM
I wouldn't wait until I was 'set'. Life is complicated, so you'll have to make your own decisions. But it gets harder the longer you wait. You're already on a good trajectory. You can work with kids too. It's not easy, but millions of people do it.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: ABC123 on March 31, 2015, 11:18:11 AM
I had my kids at 31 and 33.  I'm 37 now.  For me, having a baby now would be tough.  And in a few years, even tougher.  But everyone is different.  When it comes to kids, there are no absolutes.  You could get pregnant right away.  You could not get pregnant at all.  You could get pregnant and have a child with issues that cause a lot of extra work for you.  It's incredibly hard to try to make plans for something that is so hard to plan for.  I don't know how much you are having to put into your job right now.  Is it something where you are working 80 hours a week, traveling the globe, and getting emails in the middle of the night?  If so, yeah I wouldn't want to add a baby to that.  But if it is your more typical job, I would probably go ahead and start the baby process within the next few years. You could have one earlier on, short mat. leave, and then be a working mom.  And then you could wait till later to try for number 2 and do the whole SAHM thing.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: KCM5 on March 31, 2015, 11:23:57 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on March 31, 2015, 11:25:23 AM
On the testing - it's worth noting that those abnormality tests do have false positives. We did the math on my wife's pregnancy at 25 and decided it made no sense to get tested, because a false positive seemed more likely than a true positive.

On the other hand, my mother was 39 when pregnant with me and got a full amniocentesis, which also makes sense to me. Math and personal feelings have a big impact here.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: jrhampt on March 31, 2015, 11:32:21 AM
Absolutely I would wait.  I was very ambivalent about whether or not to have kids, as you seem to be also.  In my early thirties, I realized that by my late thirties (I am now 37), we would be in a really good position financially if we did decide to have kids.  And if we didn't, I really love our life just as it is.  We still love our life just as it is, so I am still in no rush to have kids now, if ever.  Financially we are in great shape now, probably closing in on FI within the next two years, and physically I am in great shape as well and don't think (aside from waning fertility) that I would have trouble going through a pregnancy and raising a child if we did decide to go that way.  And regarding birth defects, I would absolutely go through the genetic testing and decide to terminate the pregnancy if it came to that.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: boarder42 on March 31, 2015, 11:35:47 AM
isnt 35 the year it starts to become unhealthy ?
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: jeromedawg on March 31, 2015, 11:40:02 AM
We're expecting our first in August. I'm 34 and wish I would have started much earlier. My wife is 28 and we married about 5 years ago; at 23 there were a lot of experiences and travel she wanted so that's kinda what we did (Tahiti for honeymoon, Maui, Europe, Asia) - she never really got to vacation growing up with her family so she was pretty sad about this. To expose her more we did all that and more and I think in the past half-year she finally felt "settled" The other part of it was just spending those years to figure each other out and get to know each other better (we had only known each other and dated for about a year and a half before getting married so a lot of stuff to figure out). I guess for the guys it's not as *big* of a deal to wait as much as it is for the ladies... as others have mentioned, there are certain risks of birth defects and complications the older you get. I'd say 38 is borderline pushing it. The earlier you can start the better, it seems... but that's a whole different topic and discussion (how "early" is good to start having kids). I think there has to be a balance but if you wait too long you can't get those years back, and with the increase of complications/defects, it's just too risky to keep pushing it back. The other thing is, for many people it can take longer to conceive than expected (or some who are less fortunate may never be able to conceive) - it's never a good thing to presume that you will have a child at "age X" only to find out that it took over a year or longer to finally conceive.

Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: charis on March 31, 2015, 11:53:29 AM
isnt 35 the year it starts to become unhealthy ?

"it"?
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: tweezers on March 31, 2015, 11:57:22 AM
I had my children at 35 and 37 with a miscarriage in between.  I was/am healthy, and so are they.  If I could have had them earlier I would have because I would love a third child (we got married when I was 34).  I was ambivalent about children until I met my husband, and they are the best thing I've ever accomplished.  It sounds like you're uncertain....the essay below is a nice perspective on kids/no kids.  I also found it helpful not think about what my life would look like now with or without children, but what my family looks like in 20 years.  Good luck.

http://therumpus.net/2011/04/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-71-the-ghost-ship-that-didnt-carry-us/
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: I'm a red panda on March 31, 2015, 11:58:53 AM
isnt 35 the year it starts to become unhealthy ?

35 is the year that is generally marked as the dividing line of high risk.
It is when infertility of the woman becomes much more likely and also when the risk of birth defects is higher for the baby.

However, women have had healthy babies very late in life, so it is really just a matter of statistics.  Whether "it" is carrying a baby, having one, or the actual baby- it could be healthy or unhealthy at any age.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Midwest on March 31, 2015, 12:04:27 PM
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
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: justajane on March 31, 2015, 12:13:31 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Meggslynn on March 31, 2015, 01:04:30 PM

No, I wouldn't delay it either way.

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

Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Mr. Green on March 31, 2015, 02:47:54 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: sjc0816 on March 31, 2015, 02:48:38 PM
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. 
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: driftwood on March 31, 2015, 03:00:34 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Bobberth on March 31, 2015, 03:07:08 PM
Follow your head and you will get there ok.  Follow your heart and you will get there with a smile on your face.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: nora on March 31, 2015, 03:20:18 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Argyle on March 31, 2015, 03:30:05 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: mskyle on March 31, 2015, 04:39:24 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Spondulix on March 31, 2015, 05:22:37 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Krnten on March 31, 2015, 06:44:52 PM
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. 
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: RootofGood on March 31, 2015, 06:51:08 PM
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). 
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: asauer on March 31, 2015, 06:56:43 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Distshore on March 31, 2015, 07:37:47 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: nycstash on March 31, 2015, 08:46:24 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: goodlife on March 31, 2015, 09:06:16 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Zamboni on March 31, 2015, 09:33:01 PM
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.



Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Allie on March 31, 2015, 09:36:40 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Chuck on March 31, 2015, 11:07:51 PM
No, I would never wait that long. I want to see my grandchildren grow up. That means having kids around age 30.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: abhe8 on March 31, 2015, 11:32:58 PM
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. :)
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on March 31, 2015, 11:56:31 PM
@ 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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Sunnymo on April 01, 2015, 03:14:42 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: mushroom on April 01, 2015, 03:49:35 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 01, 2015, 04:04:05 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Doubleh on April 01, 2015, 05:01:52 AM
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
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: happy on April 01, 2015, 05:21:55 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: goatmom on April 01, 2015, 05:44:39 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: abhe8 on April 01, 2015, 06:06:31 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 01, 2015, 07:17:55 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 01, 2015, 07:33:35 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: justajane on April 01, 2015, 08:36:10 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Guesl982374 on April 01, 2015, 11:20:34 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: alwayslearning on April 01, 2015, 11:37:13 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: mrshudson on April 01, 2015, 11:57:41 AM
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
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: dunhamjr on April 01, 2015, 12:57:01 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: southern granny on April 01, 2015, 04:49:39 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: epipenguin on April 01, 2015, 09:08:47 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: RapmasterD on April 01, 2015, 09:19:50 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Argyle on April 02, 2015, 12:07:38 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Ambergris on April 02, 2015, 01:24:51 PM
...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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Grog on April 02, 2015, 01:59:17 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Daleth on April 02, 2015, 02:23:05 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Daleth on April 02, 2015, 02:32:11 PM
@ 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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Unique User on April 02, 2015, 03:54:02 PM
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. 
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: NoraLenderbee on April 02, 2015, 04:15:12 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: RapmasterD on April 02, 2015, 09:33:06 PM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 03, 2015, 12:52:57 AM
@ 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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: justajane on April 03, 2015, 05:46:08 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: fb132 on April 03, 2015, 05:50:15 AM
I would say no, but then again, don't listen to me, I hate kids.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Merrie on April 03, 2015, 06:31:35 AM
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.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: catccc on April 03, 2015, 07:08:59 AM
I personally would not.  But I had kids at 29 & 31.  I'm 35 now and it is still possible for me to be 'set' at 40, if things go really well.  So for me in this scenario, being set at 38 v. 40 isn't a great prize for trading having kids at 38 & 40 instead of 29 & 31.

Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 03, 2015, 08:31:48 AM
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.

This largely depends on what protocol is used, i.e. the dosage of hormones and the benefit-risk calculation. My prescription is a lot lower than the one for fertility issues. The German fertiprotekt network recommends avoiding the risk of hyperstimulation in elective freezing. Only for cancer patients who urgently need to start chemo, running the risk of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrom could be worth the benefit of being done in one cycle.

I don't know how egg donors are treated in the US.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Daleth on April 04, 2015, 06:06:02 PM
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.

To my knowledge there is zero evidence that fertility drugs (such as those used by egg donors, which are the same as those used by women doing IVF or women freezing their eggs) cause any fertility problems whatsoever. There are a lot of sensationalistic "dark side of ___" (insert neutral or good thing here) articles written by people with an agenda.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: MrsPete on April 04, 2015, 08:05:41 PM
Go ahead and have a baby now.  I don't personally know a single person who is sorry for having had children, but I do know people who are sorry that they didn't. 

Waiting 'til you're 38 is risky.  I personally would not take the risk of missing out on children; however, I think that if I'd ended up having only one child, I could've been happy with that. 

Plan on working those last couple years while being a mom.  Very do-able, especially with only one child. 

You'll be set to retire about the time your child starts school. 

If you have kids at 33-35, you'll be in something of a sweet spot:  You've had time to save and establish yourself, yet you're not considered "geriatric" by the OB/GYN.  You can expect to conceive without medical intervention, and you can expect to live to see your grandchildren. 
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: kiwigirls on April 05, 2015, 02:35:50 AM
Which do you fear most -FIRE & no children or children & having to work another decade??  You already know the answer and you just need to give yourself the space and the quiet to listen for it.   If you want kids you need to start. You can work the rest out -SAHH, nanny & return to work or stay at home with them and add 10years to FIRE.  If kids are a nice to have rather than a need to have then keep working and try when you are retired..
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 05, 2015, 07:01:04 AM
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.

To my knowledge there is zero evidence that fertility drugs (such as those used by egg donors, which are the same as those used by women doing IVF or women freezing their eggs) cause any fertility problems whatsoever. There are a lot of sensationalistic "dark side of ___" (insert neutral or good thing here) articles written by people with an agenda.

+1

A lot of people just can't stand the thought of women not only deciding if and what contraceptives they want to use but now also at what age they would like to have children.

A pretty good indicator of this thinking is an undercurrent of 'implications for the whole of society' thrown in the mix when discussing risks for individuals. My favourite being: 'while not experimental anymore egg freezing is still not going to work in most cases because this and that risk - and would someone please stop to think what legions of children born to 40-something mothers will mean for our society!?!' Ugh? I thought it was not going to work anyway?

The only real risk I'm aware of is hyperstimulation, severe cases of which can cause permanent damage. But like already stated above this largely depends on dosage and an individual assessment of risks and benefits.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Daleth on April 05, 2015, 10:08:17 AM
A lot of people just can't stand the thought of women not only deciding if and what contraceptives they want to use but now also at what age they would like to have children.

I think you've hit the nail on the head. (English idiom meaning you have pointed out precisely what the issue is.)

A pretty good indicator of this thinking is an undercurrent of 'implications for the whole of society' thrown in the mix when discussing risks for individuals. My favourite being: 'while not experimental anymore egg freezing is still not going to work in most cases because this and that risk - and would someone please stop to think what legions of children born to 40-something mothers will mean for our society!?!' Ugh? I thought it was not going to work anyway?

I know!! And I can only imagine it's much worse in Germany, since people are not even allowed to adopt over the age of 40 there, and there are so many odd restrictions on fertility treatments (such as that you can't freeze embryos--which makes IVF exponentially less likely to work).

The only real risk I'm aware of is hyperstimulation, severe cases of which can cause permanent damage. But like already stated above this largely depends on dosage and an individual assessment of risks and benefits.

Right, and as long as the clinic/doctor is monitoring you correctly--in other words, getting blood tests AT LEAST every 3 days to check estrogen levels, and more frequently if levels are high--hyperstimulation can be identified when it starts, and effectively prevented in most cases.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Cookie78 on April 05, 2015, 10:19:41 AM
Go ahead and have a baby now.  I don't personally know a single person who is sorry for having had children, but I do know people who are sorry that they didn't. 

This is interesting to me because my experience and advice is the opposite. I know a few people who regretted having children, but who can't admit that to very many people, and none who regretted not having children.

madeup's gut reaction to everyone saying 'go ahead now' is to feel 'no, not yet' and I think that speaks volumes.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: scrubbyfish on April 05, 2015, 10:52:57 AM
Go ahead and have a baby now.  I don't personally know a single person who is sorry for having had children, but I do know people who are sorry that they didn't. 

This is interesting to me because my experience and advice is the opposite. I know a few people who regretted having children, but who can't admit that to very many people, and none who regretted not having children.

+1.

I know several people who regretted it enough to subsequently just walk away from parenting, or abandon their children for lengths of time, etc. (And by abandon, I do NOT mean "place for adoption", or "collapse in post-partum distress", or "arrange child care to get a break". I mean just literally change their minds and walk away in favour of "freedom". Guys and gals.)
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: merula on April 05, 2015, 02:00:26 PM
I think you've hit the nail on the head. (English idiom meaning you have pointed out precisely what the issue is.)

As it turns out, that idiom is the exact same in German (den Nagel auf den Kopf treffen).
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Daleth on April 05, 2015, 02:28:06 PM
I think you've hit the nail on the head. (English idiom meaning you have pointed out precisely what the issue is.)

As it turns out, that idiom is the exact same in German (den Nagel auf den Kopf treffen).

Cool! That almost never happens.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: NearlyThere on April 05, 2015, 02:35:40 PM
There is a significant possibly of a payout for all the years I put into the business. Obviously it is not guaranteed, and I wouldn’t want to take it for granted, but the boss has always said he would ‘see us right’ at the end. I would guess around £100k (and it's an educated guess because I look after all the finances and have 10 year's experience dealing with this guy). I mention this because I would hate to leave to have kids at 37 and not get this ‘golden goodbye’.

Can I suggest you get this in writing. I've seen so many similar deals end up in nothing. When in writing its binding.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: RetiredAt63 on April 05, 2015, 05:58:26 PM
Just thought I would toss my $.05 $0.25 (it got long) in here.  DH and I were not emotionally ready until well into our 30's.  Tried, got pregnant, miscarried - the early miscarriage rate is more like 1/3, so not unexpected.  When that happened it was amazing how many women I knew told me they had also had a miscarriage and not to be thrown off by it.  Anyway, a few months later we started trying again - DD was born just after my 39th birthday.  No problems, but I did notice that women who give birth at a younger age did seem to recover faster.  However, women of my mother's and grandmother's generations had babies well into their 40's, they just were not first babies.  Plus I had friends who were the youngest in their families by at least 10 years - oops babies, they were called then - the start of menopause gave people a false sense of security ;-)

A few biological thoughts - women can have babies with chromosomal abnormalities at any age, your eggs have been sitting there almost ready to go since before you were born.  Yes the odds go up with age, but they are never zero.  The time to think about what you would do if there were chromosomal abnormalities is before you get pregnant, not while the doctor is asking you if you want an amniocentesis.  In my province, at my age, they assumed I would want to know, but would not have done the amnio if I had said that I would never abort, no matter what the genetic situation.  And there are abnormalities a lot nastier than Down's.  The other biological issue is your SO, men also have reproductive issues, and genetic reproductive issues, as they age. So you would both need a through physical to see if there are issues.  I have known couples who were infertile in their late 20's, so again you don't have to be in your 30's to have problems.

So the take-away message here is to figure out what is right for you and your SO.  Not that that is easy, so good luck.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: MrsPete on April 08, 2015, 05:32:43 AM
A lot of people just can't stand the thought of women not only deciding if and what contraceptives they want to use but now also at what age they would like to have children.
Nope, can't relate to that idea at all.
I know several people who regretted it enough to subsequently just walk away from parenting, or abandon their children for lengths of time, etc. (And by abandon, I do NOT mean "place for adoption", or "collapse in post-partum distress", or "arrange child care to get a break". I mean just literally change their minds and walk away in favour of "freedom". Guys and gals.)
Yeah, I know a few people who've walked away from their families, but they've it to get out of their current situations.  One went on to have more children with another man.  One went to a man who already had his own children.  Obviously, this never works out well for anyone involved; people who walk away from their responsibilities aren't likely to suddenly become loyal partners and responsible parents in a new situation.

Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 08, 2015, 06:34:21 AM
A lot of people just can't stand the thought of women not only deciding if and what contraceptives they want to use but now also at what age they would like to have children.

I think you've hit the nail on the head. (English idiom meaning you have pointed out precisely what the issue is.)

A pretty good indicator of this thinking is an undercurrent of 'implications for the whole of society' thrown in the mix when discussing risks for individuals. My favourite being: 'while not experimental anymore egg freezing is still not going to work in most cases because this and that risk - and would someone please stop to think what legions of children born to 40-something mothers will mean for our society!?!' Ugh? I thought it was not going to work anyway?

I know!! And I can only imagine it's much worse in Germany, since people are not even allowed to adopt over the age of 40 there, and there are so many odd restrictions on fertility treatments (such as that you can't freeze embryos--which makes IVF exponentially less likely to work).


Well, there is no prohibition to adopt over 40, you just won't be seriously considered by a state agency because they prefer young(er) couples and they have enough of those willing to adopt. You can adopt through a NGO from a foreign country.

The restrictions on fertility treatments are plain crazy. And I just don't get it. We're so secular otherwise, but re reproductive issues there are all sorts of restrictions, mandatory consultations and nonsense gremiums staffed with representatives of our two big churches and a few token scientists.

My doc has been prosecuted a few years ago (intentionally so on his part) because he performed PGD despite a provision in the Embryo Protection Act which at the time being was understood as a prohibition of PGD. He was discharged because the Federal Court was not willing to imprisson people on the basis of such an opaque wording and the judges also reminded the parliament that they were being 'inconsistent' when not allowing a woman to choose to test an embryo for fatal conditions pre-implantation while allowing her to abort a fetus even past the first trimester for the exact same condition. I think that criticism was worded rather politely.

And I'm glad to be treated by a doc willing to risk his freedom and livelihood for his patients.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 08, 2015, 06:50:21 AM
A lot of people just can't stand the thought of women not only deciding if and what contraceptives they want to use but now also at what age they would like to have children.
Nope, can't relate to that idea at all.

To the idea I've described or to my observation as such?

If it's the latter I'ld be interested in a link to any mainstream media discussing elective freezing where neither the articles explains 'concerns' apart from individual risk assessment nor a strong (and loud) minority of the comments blame 'stupid career women', 'feminist lunatics/radicals/facists' etc and urges young women to listen to their true calling and become young mothers. More academic critics won't make a fool of themselves in this manner but point out the need for regulation because you know, this women-folk and their doctors just can be trusted with important decisions.

Once familiar with the points being made, compare those with the discussion around birth control pills in the 50ies and try to find a difference. Then try to find a publication from the 90ies calling for the regulation of and restrictions on the use of viagra in order to prevent all those crazy seniors from fathering children in their 70ies.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: mrsggrowsveg on April 08, 2015, 07:35:15 AM
I personally did not want to delay.  My mother was over 40 when she had my sister and me.  There were good and bad things about having an older mother.  The best part was that my parents always had the means to support our dreams.  They also had time to spend traveling and enjoying life together as a couple in their younger years.  My parents are still very healthy and active so that wasn't an issue.  The bad parts were that my parents were old enough that they couldn't really connect with us in many ways.  Also, my grandparents were deceased by the time I was born and my cousins were all much older.  I really wish I could have been closer to grandparents and cousins.  In your case, there isn't a huge time difference between now and the time you are considering so it may not make much difference.

I know one concern is birth defects and potential health complications.  I think that if the mother is truly healthy and starts taking vitamins that include a good folate before conception the risk wouldn't be much higher.  At 25, I had a pregnancy that ended late due to severe complications from a chromosomal abnormality.  My specialist doctor told me that most of the similar cases he sees are people who are low risk. 

You could have kids now and work for a while before staying home.  I went back to work quickly after my son's birth.  We had an excellent daycare close to my work that I felt very comfortable with.  Working at that time will allow me to stay home with him in the future when we are more financially secure.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: scrubbyfish on April 08, 2015, 08:39:13 AM
Yeah, I know a few people who've walked away from their families, but they've it to get out of their current situations.  One went on to have more children with another man.  One went to a man who already had his own children.  Obviously, this never works out well for anyone involved; people who walk away from their responsibilities aren't likely to suddenly become loyal partners and responsible parents in a new situation.

Interesting. Yeah, to me it doesn't sound (off hand) that these ones regretted having children/decided they didn't want to parent. It sounds like these ones wanted children, but not their spouse.

The ones I'm pondering made kids and either immediately or down the line said, "I don't want to parent," and decided not to. Some did it in random moments (disappearing in the nights to play, not picking them up from child care, etc), and some did it completely (never to be seen by their child again). But the ones I witnessed in subsequent years didn't go parent anyone else, either.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 08, 2015, 09:03:22 AM
Yeah, I know a few people who've walked away from their families, but they've it to get out of their current situations.  One went on to have more children with another man.  One went to a man who already had his own children.  Obviously, this never works out well for anyone involved; people who walk away from their responsibilities aren't likely to suddenly become loyal partners and responsible parents in a new situation.

Interesting. Yeah, to me it doesn't sound (off hand) that these ones regretted having children/decided they didn't want to parent. It sounds like these ones wanted children, but not their spouse.

The ones I'm pondering made kids and either immediately or down the line said, "I don't want to parent," and decided not to. Some did it in random moments (disappearing in the nights to play, not picking them up from child care, etc), and some did it completely (never to be seen by their child again). But the ones I witnessed in subsequent years didn't go parent anyone else, either.

I only know a few cases of real neglect caused by having children but not wanting them. I do however vividly remember a group of young mothers with now adult children sitting together after some family event, calling their former selves 'stupid' for having children in their early 20ies only because it was what everybody did. All of them good mothers and all laughing at their 'stupidity' while not hiding the fact that their statements were not entirely made in jest. They felt they missed out on important experiences which they now see their children take part in. Most importantly they did not feel like they really made a choice but just did what was expected from them.

No doubt that conversation would have come to a quick end if somebody would have thrown in a question along the lines of 'So you would prefer a university diploma and a year in Paris over your kids?!?'. Luckily, no one said such a thing and I listened very closely to what the regrets of those women were.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: partgypsy on April 08, 2015, 09:08:57 AM
Which do you fear most -FIRE & no children or children & having to work another decade??  You already know the answer and you just need to give yourself the space and the quiet to listen for it.   If you want kids you need to start. You can work the rest out -SAHH, nanny & return to work or stay at home with them and add 10years to FIRE.  If kids are a nice to have rather than a need to have then keep working and try when you are retired..

Agree. I would only wait, if you are really OK if it doesn't happen for you (child-free).
I also agree it's a good idea to get a fertility workup. There is some hormone that goes up closer to the end of fertility. It is highly individual. I had a colleage at 35 or 36, attempted for a number of years and was not able to have children. Having children is about having to make sacrifices and accomodations. If your employer is thinking you should delay children until you are no longer working, imo that is unreasonable. There are a lot of women out there who have challenging jobs and children, seek them out. 
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: wintersun on April 08, 2015, 10:15:08 AM
I am over 50 and always wanted kids, but it was not to be.  I thought I would grieve for the rest of my life but lately I am feeling great relief not to be dealing with a teen or with adult kids.  So many of my friends are dealing with adult kids still at home, with mental health issues, with paying for their kids, with addiction issues.

I no longer have regret, instead it seems as though it has been a gift not to have kids.  It has given me time to do other things and connect with other people's children.

Also,  I am the child of much older parents and loved how grounded they were.  They were reliable, steady and patient.  My mother stayed at home and was available for us.  Then my father retired when I was a teen and we were all at home together which was super cool.  However, at age 10 I found it embarrassing having people ask if my parents were my grandparents. 

I do envy people their grandparents.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: MrsPete on April 08, 2015, 03:17:58 PM
A lot of people just can't stand the thought of women not only deciding if and what contraceptives they want to use but now also at what age they would like to have children.
Nope, can't relate to that idea at all.

To the idea I've described or to my observation as such?
I mean I have never felt that anyone really cared whether I used contraceptives /what type of contraceptives I used, and I have never felt that people outside my family /circle of friends really cared whether I had children /what age I had children. 

If anything, I think quite the opposite is true.  In the past, having a baby as a teen or unwed mother was considered BAD -- today it's just another choice.  Same-sex couples adopting is no longer a taboo.  Blended families are just as common as traditional nuclear families.  Working mothers used to be judged harshly, but that's a thing of the past.  We're in a more "anything goes" society these days. 



Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Daleth on April 09, 2015, 07:02:23 AM
More academic critics won't make a fool of themselves in this manner but point out the need for regulation because you know, this women-folk and their doctors just can be trusted with important decisions.

High five! You are so so right!

Once familiar with the points being made, compare those with the discussion around birth control pills in the 50ies and try to find a difference. Then try to find a publication from the 90ies calling for the regulation of and restrictions on the use of viagra in order to prevent all those crazy seniors from fathering children in their 70ies.

Haha! Absolutely!! You're so right AGAIN! Love it. :)
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Daleth on April 09, 2015, 07:06:45 AM
Well, there is no prohibition to adopt over 40, you just won't be seriously considered by a state agency because they prefer young(er) couples and they have enough of those willing to adopt. You can adopt through a NGO from a foreign country.

Oh, I have a German friend who was looking into adoption and told me that. Maybe she was misinformed by the state agency.

The restrictions on fertility treatments are plain crazy. And I just don't get it. We're so secular otherwise, but re reproductive issues there are all sorts of restrictions, mandatory consultations and nonsense gremiums staffed with representatives of our two big churches and a few token scientists.

My doc has been prosecuted a few years ago (intentionally so on his part) because he performed PGD despite a provision in the Embryo Protection Act which at the time being was understood as a prohibition of PGD. ... And I'm glad to be treated by a doc willing to risk his freedom and livelihood for his patients.

Your doctor sounds amazing. It's so sad that IVF technology is basically outlawed in Germany. I know technically IVF is allowed, but if you can't freeze embryos, you might as well not do IVF--the chances of success are orders of magnitude lower if you are only allowed to stimulate patients enough to get a couple of embryos, are only allowed to put in one or two embryos at a time and are not allowed to freeze embryos for later attempts. This basically means poor and working-class people in Germany cannot do IVF, or rather, are very very unlikely to have children through IVF. Whereas wealthier people will just hop on a train to the Czech Republic and pay 3000 Euros or whatever to do IVF properly.
Title: Re: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?
Post by: Lyssa on April 09, 2015, 09:17:38 AM
Well, there is no prohibition to adopt over 40, you just won't be seriously considered by a state agency because they prefer young(er) couples and they have enough of those willing to adopt. You can adopt through a NGO from a foreign country.

Oh, I have a German friend who was looking into adoption and told me that. Maybe she was misinformed by the state agency.

The restrictions on fertility treatments are plain crazy. And I just don't get it. We're so secular otherwise, but re reproductive issues there are all sorts of restrictions, mandatory consultations and nonsense gremiums staffed with representatives of our two big churches and a few token scientists.

My doc has been prosecuted a few years ago (intentionally so on his part) because he performed PGD despite a provision in the Embryo Protection Act which at the time being was understood as a prohibition of PGD. ... And I'm glad to be treated by a doc willing to risk his freedom and livelihood for his patients.

Your doctor sounds amazing. It's so sad that IVF technology is basically outlawed in Germany. I know technically IVF is allowed, but if you can't freeze embryos, you might as well not do IVF--the chances of success are orders of magnitude lower if you are only allowed to stimulate patients enough to get a couple of embryos, are only allowed to put in one or two embryos at a time and are not allowed to freeze embryos for later attempts. This basically means poor and working-class people in Germany cannot do IVF, or rather, are very very unlikely to have children through IVF. Whereas wealthier people will just hop on a train to the Czech Republic and pay 3000 Euros or whatever to do IVF properly.

Right. And to top this off our Krankenkasse only pays half for each of the first three attempts and only for married couples. The latter is not a joke. It's almost embarrasing to put this all in writing. No wonder that infertile German couples are welcomed with a mixture of business sense and pity in clinics in other European countries.