Author Topic: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?  (Read 4687 times)

domo

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Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« on: May 10, 2016, 02:42:25 PM »
Putting off having kids by a few years could be worth it. We're 30 and 35. We're in great health, engaged to be married later this year, and at good points in our careers. We're socking away at least 30% (sometimes more) of our gross income. If we keep this up, we can hit FIRE in less than a decade. Neither of us really wants kids at this point. It feels like we're just getting started with our adult lives. But the simple biological fact is we can't wait until we feel like having kids. Should we "freeze our assets", so to speak? haha. Prices for the procedure vary greatly and I don't know how much (if any) insurance will cover. According to some Google results I just skimmed through, it costs between $10,000 to $15,000 and $500 a year thereafter. Considering the cost of childcare and lost wages, it seems like a bargain. Has anyone done this?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 02:44:35 PM by domo »

thd7t

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 02:48:19 PM »
According to news stories that came out when Facebook started offering it as a benefit, embryo freezing is effective about 20% of the time.
I will tell you that kids take a lot of energy and being young makes it less taxing.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 02:56:32 PM »
Who is 30 and who is 35? If the "she" part of the relationship is 35, then yeah, it's probably worth considering. If the "she" is 30, then you have a little (little!) time to coast and see if you still want to in a few years.

You say neither of you want kids... is that "not right now" or "probably not ever, but we're not 100% sure, so just in case..."

bobechs

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 03:18:02 PM »

I will tell you that kids take a lot of energy and being young makes it less taxing.


But as frozen embryos, viable or not, they are even waaaay less taxing.

domo

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 03:41:11 PM »
I am 30, he is 35. I don't know if I want kids, but I do know that I don't want them in the next five years. We could be ready to FIRE in 5 years if we really buckled down and nothing catastrophic happens. We're training for a marathon, we want to travel, I want to start a business, he eventually wants to run an ultra marathon. We spent our 20s figuring out who we wanted to be and we are just now making headway into becoming those people. We started dating in college when I was 19 and he was 24. We've come a long way since then. I used to think that I'd never want kids, but my mom passed away about a year ago and it shook me. He used to want to have kids "someday", but as he's gotten older he's very happy with his life and he doesn't want things to change. This would help get us out from under the dreaded ticking clock.
As for the math, it's 30% viability. That's why they transfer multiples. Sometimes you get a good batch and end up with triplets.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 03:47:39 PM »
Okay, thanks for the additional information. At 30, I don't think this is an urgent situation. You could wait a few years, the decide whether to freeze. That'll give you more time to consider whether you want kids at all. If it's a definite "no" by that point, then no loss. If it's a "yes, but later" or a "still not sure, but want the option," then potentially freeze.

JustTrying

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2016, 11:04:33 PM »
I agree with PP. This is NOT urgent. You really can't predict how easy or hard it will be to get pregnant, but in general if you are healthy (like active people like you usually are), you're more likely to have success trying to conceive in 5 years when you're 35 than many other 35-year-olds. PLUS if you're not sure you want kids, it's definitely a huge waste of money. With the prices you're quoting, you can adopt if you decide you want children later on and have trouble conceiving!

(I should admit that I think adoption is just about the coolest thing ever, so my opinion is probably a bit biased!)

muckety_muck

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2016, 03:07:08 AM »
Well.. 40 is the new 25, at least in big cities... and fertility clinics are just about as common as churches these days...

If you're 30 now, and want to wait until 35-37 to start a family I think that is completely normal in this generation. You might get pregnant the first try, you might try for a year and then seek fertility testing/treatment. That's the terrible thing about it, is that most people just don't know if your body is fertile or not until you get serious about trying... You may want to hit up the OB/midwife office a year or 6 mos before you are ready to start trying, jsut to make sure everything is in order. Never too early to start prenatal vitamins. Gives you great hair & nails!

If you were facing cancer treatments, yes I would freeze embryos. Outside of that, at this age you are probably ok.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2016, 06:33:19 AM »
This may be controversial but…to me, if you are 30 and are not sure you want kids, and you definitely know you certainly don’t want them in the near future (5 years), AND your husband likes his life as is and doesn't want change (aka kids)....then it sounds like you guys just don’t want kids. I’d be hesitant to blow money freezing embryos given that neither of you sound like you actually want children. It would be different if you said "we really want children, but the next few years just are not a good time for us."

 Are you sure you actually want them or are you afraid you'll regret not having them when you are too old to have them? I have a lot of friends in this situation - they are afraid of missing out. If they have kids they'll "miss out" on all the cool stuff they want to do when young. But they are also afraid they'll do all those cool things and then be 50 and will have "missed out" on kids and traditional family life. It's a tough call, but it is important to know if you are stuck in that analysis paralysis before you shell out big bucks to freeze embryos for kiddos you might not even want.

FYI - I don't believe having kids and pursuing your life goals are mutually exclusive. It can make it harder, or slow your progress a bit, but there are parents all across the globe enjoying cool careers, working out, and traveling with kids in tow. Totally possible if you put your mind to it. One friend has a 1 year old and is a marathon runner. One friend is currently pregnant and traveling the world with her husband (literally hopping continents). We just had a baby in the fall and have 2 international trips coming up (one with baby, one without), and spend our weekends hiking with baby strapped on tight. Totally do-able.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 06:43:11 AM by little_brown_dog »

smella

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2016, 09:41:57 AM »
Many women have no trouble conceiving for the first time at 35-37.  Many women do.   I think it would be much more cost effective to spend a little time figuring out what the current state of your fertility is...do you have regular periods? any pain, PCOS?  Get a basic thyroid panel and a physical exam.   Spend $10 on LH urine strips and figure out if you're ovulating.    Compared to the cost of the retrieval & storage half of IVF (about 10k) these things are almost free.

Ceridwen

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2016, 11:05:11 AM »
Here's what I would do (and note that this is based on information gathered on various pregnancy forums, not medical data or training).

You: Read the book "Taking charge of your fertility" and start tracking your cycles using fertilityfriend.com (free!). If your cycles seem regular and you can confirm ovulation in each cycle, chances are you're in pretty good shape to get pregnant.  Note, this obviously cannot measure important factors like the viability of your eggs or your ability to sustain a pregnancy, but it can give you a general idea about your fertility.

Him: Get sperm analyzed to see if there are any underlying issues with volume or motility. This is as low-cost as it gets in terms of fertility testing.

If your cycles seem normal and so does his sperm, I would hold off on freezing embryos, at least for the time being.

domo

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2016, 11:43:35 AM »
Is there a way to test fertility without going off of birth control?

goatmom

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2016, 11:59:11 AM »
You can get your FSH and your AMH measured.  They will give you ballpark idea of where you stand.  Is there a difference in success between 30 and 35?  If there isn't, I would wait.  Fertility treatments are very stressful on your body and your marriage.  I wouldn't do it unless I was pretty sure I wanted kids.  Best of luck!

I'm a red panda

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2016, 12:03:32 PM »
Spend $10 on LH urine strips and figure out if you're ovulating. 

Just a note OPK won't actually tell you if you are ovulating. I have a regularly timed LH surge each month (and therefore, a line on my OPK)- but temping charts and some workups by a RE have shown that I don't actually ovulate.

goatmom

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2016, 12:13:15 PM »
Also - don't spend 10 dollars.  You can order them off ebay for very cheap.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2016, 12:30:38 PM »
Also - don't spend 10 dollars.  You can order them off ebay for very cheap.

Haha- I figured $10 was about right, because mine cost $12.99 on amazon.
For 50 of them (plus 10 HCG tests and prime shipping). 

Does anyone buy OPKs as singles?  I know people get pregnancy tests that way for way too much money, but I didn't know it existed that way for these.

Cognitive Miser

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2016, 02:18:12 PM »
Is there a way to test fertility without going off of birth control?

I'm not a medical professional, but after reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility, I'd say no.  You need to know what your body does naturally without hormonal intervention.  But if you are training for a marathon... well, results may vary.  Endurance athletics are well-known for suppressing fertility.  So it may be your BC that is causing you to have a monthly period and NOT what your body would do naturally given your level of athletic commitment.

Read the book!  It's wonderfully enlightening.

CindyBS

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2016, 03:20:25 PM »
I am a little concerned I do not see anywhere in your post the possible emotional toll.  I have not done IVF myself, but from what I understand the harvesting process involves injecting massive amounts of hormones which can be very stressful.  Then what if you wait a long time and it takes multiple cycles to conceive?  IVF pregnancies are more likely to be multiples - which is not only stressful, but are more high risk, and are riskier to the babies.   I'm pretty sure IVF babies are also slightly more likely to have a disability.  I have had high risk pregnancies and have a child with a congenital disability, neither of which I even gave a thought to before planning my first pregnancy.  I personally would not choose a route that increases the likelihood of either of these.

I'm not saying you should NOT freeze embryos, but these aspects should really be taken into consideration.

Pigeon

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2016, 04:12:03 PM »
Check with your insurance provider but I would seriously doubt this would be covered by insurance. Why should it be? Many couples with legitimate fertility issues have trouble getting much covered.

I think this is a terrible idea on so many levels. IVF is intrusive, expensive, time consuming, stressful  and not without serious health risk. Should your relationship end, you will have an unnecessary complication of having frozen embryos.

The timing is seldom perfect for having children for anyone.

And the "just adopt!" suggestion make me crazy. I have two children through adoption and am a huge fan of adoption. But easy it is not. Private adoption is expensive, highly competitive and uncertain. International adoption is expensive, takes forever, and nearly impossible these days. Public domestic adoption is risky in that children are likely to be older and have psychological and developmental issues.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2016, 04:25:37 PM »
Just another thought. The costs you quote only seem to be for egg freezing. IVF is pretty expensive and often needs multiple rounds, and may not work at all.

Chrissy

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2016, 06:34:07 PM »
Putting off having kids by a few years could be worth it. We're 30 and 35. We're in great health, engaged to be married later this year, and at good points in our careers. We're socking away at least 30% (sometimes more) of our gross income. If we keep this up, we can hit FIRE in less than a decade. Neither of us really wants kids at this point. It feels like we're just getting started with our adult lives. But the simple biological fact is we can't wait until we feel like having kids. Should we "freeze our assets", so to speak? haha. Prices for the procedure vary greatly and I don't know how much (if any) insurance will cover. According to some Google results I just skimmed through, it costs between $10,000 to $15,000 and $500 a year thereafter. Considering the cost of childcare and lost wages, it seems like a bargain. Has anyone done this?

Yes, we did this, and for the same reasons, also while engaged.  We were on the same page, however, about eventually becoming parents.  I don't regret doing IVF, but I wouldn't have had I known my egg yield would be so low.  But, of course, you can't know UNTIL you do it, so that's the catch!  And, all along the way, you can't make decisions about the process/follicles/eggs/embyos until THE MOMENT because nature happens in real time.  It was unexpectedly nerve-wracking.  I flew through the process, BTW, with no complications or really any symptoms.  I was able to do all the shots, no problem, except the ones after the transfer that promote pregnancy.  They're in the glutes, and I just wasn't coordinated enough, so my husband had to administer them.

Insurance paid for my ovarian monitoring: ~$2,000.  Medications:  ~$8,000, which I was told is the high end of the range.  Results:  only THREE eggs(!!!) which resulted in 3 embryos, ymmv.  One fresh transfer (not in the original plan, long story), which resulted in our daughter, and 2 frozen embryos.  Total cost was ~$22,000, and we paid ~$20,000

Future costs:  $4,000 for each subsequent transfer.  And, there are yearly storage fees... I think $750/yr. 

My husband is WAY cheaper than I am, he was against IVF all the way through, and the whole thing took a turn for us right at the end.  But, here we are a year later, I just told him about your post, asking him what he would say to you... "Yes, definitely.  If they have the resources to save themselves from regret, they should do it."  We love our daughter, she's amazing, and we're very happy being parents.

Our clinic had a 50% success rate for fresh transfers, and 80% for frozen.  Remember, the vast majority of people who utilize IVF are INFERTILE, so think about what that does to the statistics of rates of pregnancy, complications, unhealthy children, etc.  Statistics do not exist for fertile couples utilizing IVF, and I'll just leave it at that.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 06:37:01 PM by Chrissy »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2016, 08:14:33 AM »
Our clinic had a 50% success rate for fresh transfers, and 80% for frozen. 

What metric did your clinic use to measure success?  (I've seen some say pregnancy, some say pregnancy with heartbeat, others say live birth, and others say baby leaves hospital and go home.)

smella

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2016, 08:29:24 AM »
Also - don't spend 10 dollars.  You can order them off ebay for very cheap.

word-- my wife and i spent 6 months tracking my cycles before doing AI at home, so i bought a 200 pack for $10 on amazon. I nearly fainted the first time I saw those 7-digital-strips-for-30-bucks at the drugstore. You gotta be kidding me!
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 08:34:35 AM by smella »

smella

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2016, 08:32:41 AM »
Spend $10 on LH urine strips and figure out if you're ovulating. 

Just a note OPK won't actually tell you if you are ovulating. I have a regularly timed LH surge each month (and therefore, a line on my OPK)- but temping charts and some workups by a RE have shown that I don't actually ovulate.

Great point- when I was tracking cycles and doing frozen inseminations, I used the LH strips in conjunction with charting Basal Body Temp, so I confirmed ovulation with the massive temp spike.  I'm guessing OP doesn't want to put in the effort of tracking temperature which can be a pain.  Also I must admit it didn't even occur to me that she's on hormonal birth control when I made those suggestions---- chalk that up to my lesbian myopia!

Chrissy

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2016, 01:29:21 PM »
Our clinic had a 50% success rate for fresh transfers, and 80% for frozen. 

What metric did your clinic use to measure success?  (I've seen some say pregnancy, some say pregnancy with heartbeat, others say live birth, and others say baby leaves hospital and go home.)

Live birth.  PM me if you want their info.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2016, 07:31:00 AM »
Maybe we're all making a big deal out of nothing here. I mean, this woman in India just gave birth to her first child at age 72.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/world/72-year-old-woman-gives-birth-her-first-child/nrMLX/

SMH.


farmerj

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2016, 09:48:38 AM »
Quote
this woman in India just gave birth to her first child at age 72.

Donor egg, not her own.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2016, 10:18:28 AM »
You can make big changes in your thinking about children.  When we got married, my husband accepted that I  didn`t ever want to have children.  I wanted to spend my life with him and we would travel and work.  I hated hanging around children and didn`t get why people even wanted to hold a baby.
Forward in time three years.  My grandmother died. She was a farmer with a grade eight education - she had always pushed me to achieve more than her.  She had made sure all her children had a post secondary education and wanted her grandchildren to have easy jobs (where you dressed nicely and didn`t get dirty or smelly).  But at her death I met so many people who talked about her achievements.  She built a world of friends and family.  Family and strangers told me continuous stories and fond recollections about the way she loved.  A couple of months after her death I had a dream about her and could feel in my shoulders one of her bear hugs. I turned on a dime and announced that I wanted to have a baby at dinner that night.  Hubby said great, lets get started.  Nine months later my son was born.  I ended up having a daughter three years later.  I love children and babies smell so good, and wish I had more.   I babysit my nieces and nephews (both my brothers have twins through an IVF journey) and have a great time with babies. 
You can grow and change with different events in your life.

MrsGreenPear

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2016, 04:18:13 PM »
I'd definitely look into doing basic fertility testing first - a sperm analysis for him and AMH (will give you an idea of your egg reserve) and other basic bloodwork. As someone who has gone through 2 full rounds of IVF and 3 transfers in the past year, it's a grueling process on many levels. Most people freeze eggs for future use, not embryos, but I suppose embryos are possible. IVF pregnancies are not higher risk and there is no evidence that babies born via IVF have any more problems that those not. Many clinics are starting to recommend single embryo transfers as well to limit to chances of multiples. IVF actually has a lower risk of multiples than other fertility treatments like IUI because they will limit the number you can transfer based on age, quality of embryos, etc. The costs will vary dramatically based on the clinic and those costs don't include the medications or the costs associated with a future frozen transfer. Often they also don't include monitoring costs for the many visits for bloodwork and transvaginal u/s every couple of days either. Also, not all cycles will end up with embryos strong enough to freeze - the national average is something like 25% of cycles make frozen embryos (granted, these number are coming from couples with an infertility diagnosis). I think that's why people who aren't immediately trying to get pregnant freeze eggs for future IVF use. Just some thoughts.... Best of luck with your decision!

TrMama

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2016, 04:51:05 PM »
This may be controversial butÖto me, if you are 30 and are not sure you want kids, and you definitely know you certainly donít want them in the near future (5 years), AND your husband likes his life as is and doesn't want change (aka kids)....then it sounds like you guys just donít want kids. Iíd be hesitant to blow money freezing embryos given that neither of you sound like you actually want children. It would be different if you said "we really want children, but the next few years just are not a good time for us."

 Are you sure you actually want them or are you afraid you'll regret not having them when you are too old to have them? I have a lot of friends in this situation - they are afraid of missing out. If they have kids they'll "miss out" on all the cool stuff they want to do when young. But they are also afraid they'll do all those cool things and then be 50 and will have "missed out" on kids and traditional family life. It's a tough call, but it is important to know if you are stuck in that analysis paralysis before you shell out big bucks to freeze embryos for kiddos you might not even want.

FYI - I don't believe having kids and pursuing your life goals are mutually exclusive. It can make it harder, or slow your progress a bit, but there are parents all across the globe enjoying cool careers, working out, and traveling with kids in tow. Totally possible if you put your mind to it. One friend has a 1 year old and is a marathon runner. One friend is currently pregnant and traveling the world with her husband (literally hopping continents). We just had a baby in the fall and have 2 international trips coming up (one with baby, one without), and spend our weekends hiking with baby strapped on tight. Totally do-able.

I have the same opinion. If you've been together for over 10 years and you still can't decide whether you want children or not, then I think you already have your answer. Kids have a huge impact on your lives. If you're not really jonesing for that kind of change, then just own your decision not to have them.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2016, 12:32:11 AM »
This may be controversial butÖto me, if you are 30 and are not sure you want kids, and you definitely know you certainly donít want them in the near future (5 years), AND your husband likes his life as is and doesn't want change (aka kids)....then it sounds like you guys just donít want kids. Iíd be hesitant to blow money freezing embryos given that neither of you sound like you actually want children. It would be different if you said "we really want children, but the next few years just are not a good time for us."

I think this is a line of thought worth considering.
This is like insurance. We can argue about the most cost-effective type of insurance, or we can check whether we actually need insurance at all in that situation.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2016, 07:46:19 AM »

I have the same opinion. If you've been together for over 10 years and you still can't decide whether you want children or not, then I think you already have your answer. Kids have a huge impact on your lives. If you're not really jonesing for that kind of change, then just own your decision not to have them.

I disagree. My husband and I have been married almost 12 years and together for 16. We are just now getting to having kids.  I want kids SO MUCH. I cannot imagine my life without them. He just wasn't ready before, even if I was.

I am, however, possibly going to have to realize that my body might not be able to do this anymore.  They tell us the last pregnancy was a likely a fluke condition (the defect is not present in our DNA), but they don't know for sure that it won't be repeated. Might be that all the good eggs are already gone. (I'm 34.)
« Last Edit: May 18, 2016, 08:02:04 AM by iowajes »

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Re: Thinking about freezing embryos...is it cost effective?
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2016, 07:48:24 AM »

I have the same opinion. If you've been together for over 10 years and you still can't decide whether you want children or not, then I think you already have your answer. Kids have a huge impact on your lives. If you're not really jonesing for that kind of change, then just own your decision not to have them.

I disagree. My husband and I have been married almost 12 years and together for 16. We are just now having kids.  I want kids SO MUCH. I cannot imagine my life without them. He just wasn't ready before, even if I was.

I am, however, possibly going to have to realize that my body might not be able to do this anymore.  They tell us the last pregnancy was a likely a fluke condition (the defect is not present in our DNA), but they don't know for sure that it won't be repeated. Might be that all the good eggs are already gone. (I'm 34.)

I had my first at 34 and my second at 37.  Fortunately we had no issues with fertility.  ( Much to my husband's disappointment we only had to practice unprotected sex about three times)  Both my brothers had huge problems to overcome to get their delightful babies.  But they did and the two sets of boy-girl twins are super fun.   Best of luck with what ever happens.