Is love in the hand worth more than motherhood in the bush?
December 6, 2012 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend in Eastern Europe: I am 45 years old and have been in an online relationship for the past two years with a man in Puerto Rico whom I met on a dating website. I want to marry him and have a child with him.

He is an academic in his early 50s, and has a teenage daughter from his first marriage. Ee are on Skype daily for long periods. We share all the minutiae of our day and consult each other on all our decisions, big and small. We are incredibly compatible in every way, and very much in love.

We’ve taken a few trips together, he came to visit me and met my family. I planned to visit him but my visa application was rejected (the reason given was I don’t have a strong case that I would return home). Instead we went on vacation to the Dominican Republic and stayed at his uncle's house.

We’ve been talking about our life together for a long time now, he even picked out baby names. The plan was for me to sell my business and move to Puerto Rico permanently as soon as we both were ready to take the plunge.

I told him a year ago that I was ready. He, on the other hand, needed more time. He would say we would make our decision the next time we met, and then the next time.

Now he says I need to stay a month with him to try it out before we can be sure. He is concerned that I will find it hard to adjust to the more modest living conditions in his country. He also says he feels a lot of pressure to have a baby. He says the baby issue is like the sword of Damocles hanging over his head. He says he doesn’t want another child after all. He says he just wants to be with me alone, have time together as a couple, that it would make no sense to dive into parenthood when we haven't been together alone for much at all.

I made it clear motherhood was really important to me. I love him, and it would break my heart to leave him but I do want a child and my time is running out. I’ve invested not just my heart and soul but quite possibly the last of my childbearing years into this relationship. I am upset that he made me believe for a long time that a child was an option. I am even considering 'accidentally' getting pregnant when I next see him.

Thinking rationally, the likelihood that I would meet someone else that I will love and get along with the way I do him seems slim. Raising a child on my own is also not something I can or want to do.

I need to decide if I should stay or move on.

I was supposed to visit for the holidays but have financial issues at the moment so I’ve postponed my trip. He can’t lend me money for the airline ticket as he is trying to sell his house and buy a condo.

Help me think this through.
posted by Dragonness to Human Relations (44 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
A lot of things to think about, but this much seems clear: If you don't want to raise a child alone, do not get pregnant "accidentally" by a man who lives thousands of miles away. Especially not one who doesn't the spare cash to lend you money for a plane ticket, because he's definitely not going to have money for a kid.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:19 AM on December 6, 2012 [20 favorites]


It sounds to me like there are just too many obstacles (different countries, his reluctance to commit, his not wanting children) to move forward. Love conquers a lot, but it doesn't conquer all, unfortunately.
posted by xingcat at 8:21 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


He says he doesn’t want another child after all.

I do want a child and my time is running out.

From where I sit, things are pretty clear. He doesn't want kids and he's at an age where, generally, people don't get that "oh shit it turns out I do want kids" they get in their 20s and 30s. Also he has a kid, so he knows the ropes.

I am even considering 'accidentally' getting pregnant when I next see him.

This is completely and utterly morally bankrupt. This is a bad thing that bad people do. Do not do this. If you want to be a single mother, that is a perfectly okay thing and something you can accomplish. Except you don't. Do not involve an unwilling partner because, among all the ethical issues, you live on different continents and good luck trying to get him involved if he doesn't want to be. Which he has made clear he doesn't.
posted by griphus at 8:23 AM on December 6, 2012 [37 favorites]


Only once in my life have I seen a LDR work out that was started long distance. And they were very good friends in person for years before getting together.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:24 AM on December 6, 2012


I love him, and it would break my heart to leave him but I do want a child and my time is running out. I’ve invested not just my heart and soul but quite possibly the last of my childbearing years into this relationship. I am upset that he made me believe for a long time that a child was an option. I am even considering 'accidentally' getting pregnant when I next see him.

Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's moral. Also, I posit that the fastest way to get somebody to get somebody to stop loving you is to trick them into a huge and life-changing commitment that they have expressed stated that they are not ready for. Your friend might want to consider that. A former coworker of mine did this to her BF and while he did marry her to help raise the child, he ended up cheating on her constantly. Is that what your friend wants?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:25 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't get the whole thing about "pressure on him to have another child". He's in his early 50's and already has a teenage daughter! Who are these people?! What do they expect, a male heir?!! That seems very strange.

Also, no offense, but at both of your ages are you two really prepared to raise a child? They are a LOT of work! That's why most people have them in their 20's...
posted by Hanuman1960 at 8:25 AM on December 6, 2012


At 45 your chances of getting pregnant are not very good. If having a child is so important then check out artificial insemination as soon as possible. If that means the end of the relationship with this man, then so be it. I can totally understand that someone in their fifties does not want another child, and you should too.
posted by mareli at 8:28 AM on December 6, 2012 [27 favorites]


I am even considering 'accidentally' getting pregnant when I next see him.

This is an unbelievably disgusting thing to do.
posted by elizardbits at 8:37 AM on December 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


I am even considering 'accidentally' getting pregnant when I next see him = you don't genuinely love and respect this person; the relationship is a write-off and bringing a child into the picture would be the worst possible choice to make here. You shouldn't marry this guy even if you drop the reproduction ideas; marriage should involve a mutual 'I want to make this person's life better,' which is, given that line of thought there, not going on here. If you dislike him enough to consider that I don't even understand why you would want to be in a relationship with him; this is all very odd and unhealthy stuff.
posted by kmennie at 8:38 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you are so desperate to have a child that you're thinking of tricking someone into getting you pregnant, that's what you need to focus on right now, not this relationship. You say you can't afford to be a single mother, but if you get pregnant by subterfuge and expect this man to stay and parent the child with you, you're deluding yourself. This is an absolutely crazy thing to consider. Do not do this. Just no.
posted by something something at 8:38 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I need to decide if I should stay or move on.

Move on. Holy Christ, move on.

Your friend has baby fever and this dude is stringing her along. She's considering getting knocked up on purpose even though he's expressly stated he doesn't want to have kids with her and she's certain she doesn't want to raise kids alone and doesn't expect she'll meet anyone else anytime soon.

This is a shitsplosion waiting to happen.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:42 AM on December 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


>I don't get the whole thing about "pressure on him to have another child". He's in his early 50's and already has a teenage daughter! Who are these people?! What do they expect, a male heir?!! That seems very strange.

He feels pressure from my friend to have a child he doesn't want.
posted by Dragonness at 8:42 AM on December 6, 2012


Look, if you're 45 and wanting to get pregnant, but this man you've been with for 2 years 'can't' be with you over the price of a plane ticket, then yes - you very, very much need to move on.

I understand the desperation to have a baby, I really do. But what you're proposing is 100% not acceptable.

Edit: Or, what FAMOUS MONSTER said.
posted by Salamander at 8:45 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Dragonness, does your friend understand that the chances of her being able to conceive a baby at her age without reproductive technology is extremely slim?
posted by crankylex at 8:49 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


>Dragonness, does your friend understand that the chances of her being able to conceive a baby at her age without reproductive technology is extremely slim?

Possibly not. It's a very good point.

Everyone's perspective is very helpful, but I'd especially find it useful to hear from women who understand why my friend is considering such a desperate measure at her age.
posted by Dragonness at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2012


First of all, "accidentally" getting pregnant is repugnant, especially when the other party has explicitly said he doesn't want another child.

Break up with him and stop speaking to him now. Do you need a house to fall on you? The man doesn't want a baby, doesn't want to get married and is perfectly happy with the relationship as it is.

Your friend is desperately grasping at straws on this one. She may not be in love so much as she's deseprate to be married and pregnant. It easy to get wrapped up in the romance and limerace of a long distance relationship, especially when money and visas and things make the relationship complicated.

It feels passionate, like Romeo and Juliet, forbidden and exciting. But we're not a couple of teenagers here. We're grown folks. And grown folks do the responsible thing.

Your friend may have passed the age at which it's possible to become pregnant easily. Your friend may have to start all over with another relationship, in another country.

But what is 100% crystal clear is that the relationship your friend has with this man in Puerto Rico is over.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am totally shocked at the "accidently get pregnant" thing. I know that some people do it, I just have never heard of anyone having the gall to admit to it. He has said outright that he does not want more children. Doing it anyway by lying is just... disgusting. You'd be making a (very selfish) decision that would impact his life forever. There is no circumstance where I would think that would be okay. That is not something you do to someone you love. Jesus Christ, seriously... He is in his fifities, he's already a parent to a teenager, he knows what it involves and the amount of work it takes. He gets to say that it isn't something he's willing to do again, and to go against that is unbelievably disrespectful.

It isn't very different than if a man sabotaged a woman's contraceptive and got her pregnant against her wishes, and I can't think of anyone who would ever be okay with that either.

It is crystal clear that she is in the relationship to have a baby, not because of him and her feelings for him. She needs to be honest with herself and break up. If she wants a baby so badly, tell her to save her money on moving and plane tickets and instead go to a fertility clinic and to try to get pregnant on her own.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:06 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Dragonness, does your friend understand that the chances of her being able to conceive a baby at her age without reproductive technology is extremely slim?

Possibly not. It's a very good point.


Seriously? I have no advice regarding the relationship but I'm concerned over the possible lack of knowledge about the complications of having a baby at older age. I'm not trying to scare your friend but fertility issue is not the biggest issue. There are elevated risks of miscarriage and baby with chromosomal problems such as Down syndrome.

I wish the best for your friend.
posted by 7life at 9:39 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's very little chance of getting pregnant at 45 from the sex you have over a month's vacation. It's really hard to get pregnant at 45.

That said, I know people who had their first child at 45. But it took some work (fertility treatments in all but two instances) and as others have said, you have to be educated about the increased risks of birth defects. In this situation, the risk would be additionally increased by advanced paternal age.

If this lady wants to give birth to a biological child, her best bet is to give up on this non-relationship with a guy who doesn't sound that into her anyway, and to get into fertility treatment using donated sperm from a young man.

I hope she doesn't, though, to be honest, because it sounds like her decision-making skills aren't good. Also, it just seems weird that she doesn't seem to grasp basic information like that Puerto Rico is part of the US, and that 43 (when she started this relationship) is already "overtime" for most women's reproductive systems.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:50 AM on December 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


If she were younger, I would say tell him. Say "I love you and want to spend my life with you, but having a baby is a priority for me and if you don't want to have one then we're breaking up."

However, her chances of having a baby at 45 (from her own eggs, at least) are incredibly slim.

I'm afraid this might be one of those situations where her hopes and her understanding of her situation don't up with reality. She loves this guy, but they've never had a relationship together in either of their homelands; he said he was ready to name the baby and now he doesn't want to have one; she is 45 and thinking she can "accidentally" get pregnant on a vacation trip. I think the best thing now for her is to try and get a realistic grasp on her situation.

For one thing, she could go to a doctor and get checked out and see how much time she has left for childbearing, if any (google "antral follicle count" for a way they could check on her ovarian reserve). For another, is this guy real or is he a mirage? If he is real, what's up with his backpedaling on the parenthood and relationship issues? She should say "Hey Boyfriend, what's going to make you ready for me to come to Puerto Rico? Precisely what conditions, and precisely what day? Because I am not willing to wait indefinitely; I am only willing to wait (x amount of time)." (His plan to "try it out for a month" sounds very rational, really, and if she has the money to do that I'd say go out there and try it ASAP.)

Then, having evaluated both her fertility and her relationship, she might find that she has a shot at both biological parenthood and marriage, or she might find that she doesn't have a good shot at either. Either way she will have a better, more realistic vantage point from which to make this decision.
posted by feets at 9:54 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


If he says tomorrow "Oh, let's get married as soon as possible!" it would be likely to take at least six months for her K-1 visa to come through. There is pretty much no way this scenario works with her biological clock.

Not that I think he's going to say that, anyway.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:59 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everyone's perspective is very helpful, but I'd especially find it useful to hear from women who understand why my friend is considering such a desperate measure at her age.

What are you / she looking for here? Someone to say her plan is a good and plausible one?


I understand she wants children, but honestly she was on the tail end of her fertility when she started dating him. She hardly wasted her fertile years with him.

Her plan to trick him into being a father is a BAD PLAN. Its bad because it is immoral, its bad because biology says it is hardly assured, its bad because even if she is successful what does she think will happen? She'll tell him she is pregnant and he will all of a sudden want to raise another human being? That is not how real life works.

She should end it now and perhaps look into dating someone ready to start a family either via fertility treatments or adoption.
posted by Julnyes at 10:31 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


>"Everyone's perspective is very helpful, but I'd especially find it useful to hear from women who understand why my friend is considering such a desperate measure at her age."

What are you / she looking for here? Someone to say her plan is a good and plausible one?


It felt like a lot of people were chastizing her without an understanding for the way her thoughts are influenced by her biological situation. It looks to me like she can't think straight any more because she is desperate. She is not a bad person.

What I and she are looking for are ways to figure out if (a) she should give up on the idea of a baby and just pursue this relationship, or (b) if she should leave him regardless, or (c) if she should stay with him and try to talk him into having a baby anyway, or (d) if she should try to meet someone else willing to raise a child with her.
posted by Dragonness at 10:43 AM on December 6, 2012


a - only if she's really ready to not trick/coerce this dude into having a kid with her
b- maybe
c - no no no no no no no no
d - maybe
posted by elizardbits at 10:51 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


...if she should stay with him and try to talk him into having a baby anyway...

I would like to challenge your friend to find just one unmarried, 50-year-old man with a teenage child who has been recently talked into having a baby he did not want by someone who lives in a different hemisphere.
posted by griphus at 10:56 AM on December 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


If she wants a biological child, she should get into fertility treatment now and use donor sperm from a young man. That is the best strategy for having a biological child at age 45.

There is no way she and Puerto Rico dude are going to conceive together unless he does a complete turnaround and flies to her country to do fertility treatment with her, like, now. And even then, the chances of conception, and of conceiving a healthy child, are diminished by his age.

There is no "wait and see" or "wait to find another guy" option at age 45. Your friend needs to go to a fertility specialist and get the facts on a) how likely it is for her to conceive at all at this point, and b) if she does have a decent chance of conceiving, what treatments are advised to boost the odds.

As for the relationship, it doesn't sound promising to me, but she knows the guy and we don't. If she does decide to choose the relationship over parenting, she needs to meet with a good immigration attorney who is experienced in managing immigration to the US from her country and get the facts on the timetable, necessary documentation, costs, etc.

Here's what troubles me about your friend: her plans are unrealistic and ill-informed. You can't just "oops" a pregnancy at age 45 (and of course you shouldn't do it at any age, but that's almost a moot point because accidental first pregnancy at age 45 is so incredibly unlikely to happen). She says she doesn't want to be a single parent, but if her stupid and cruel plan to trick Puerto Rico Dude into impregnating her actually worked, he would most likely end the relationship. And the immigration stuff is nuts, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:58 AM on December 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


[Mod here, OP please do not turn this into a discussion on the topic. You have asked your question, people are giving you answers, please do not threadsit]
posted by jessamyn at 11:10 AM on December 6, 2012


Her first step should be to see a fertility specialist. Her chances of conceiving might be zero, or close to zero, which would take the whole issue of having a biological child off the table anyway.

Facts really help in making difficult decisions. Can you encourage her to do that, so she can start from a place of information?
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:14 AM on December 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Based upon the update, here are my thoughts:

a. No, because she doesn't want the relationship to stay the same and the man in the scenario is perfectly content for it to be as it is.

b. Yes, because he has pretty much said he's not that keen to be married.

c. No, at 50 it's not likely she'll be able to change his mind. I'm 50 and the thought of having a baby creeps me right the fuck out.

d. Yeah, good luck with that. Not too many guys out there in their 40's are going to want to either start a relationship with a 45 year old woman with the intention of starting a family. Let's get real, not to many men in their 40s are intersted in starting a relationship with a 45 year-old woman-full stop.

Enough already. Your friend needs to face the fact that this relationship has run it's course. She needs to disengage, and plan the rest of her life.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:20 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have a lot of sympathy for your friend. It is very VERY hard to realize that your time to have a biological child is running out -- that it is finite. She doesn't sound like a bad person to me. She sounds desperately unhappy, and desperately unhappy people make bad choices.

If she wants a child -- biological or otherwise (since he doesn't seem to want a baby period) --- she is running out of time. Not "I better get on this in a few years" out of time. Like, literally GO TO A SPECIALIST NOW out of time. She simply doesn't have time to talk this dude into this, nor to find another person and build a relationship with him and have a baby. It SUCKS, but that is the reality of the situation. He is 50. He KNOWS she doesn't have any more time to mull this over. The fact that he picked out baby names but didn't get on the horse (so to speak) to me means that he was just sort humoring her at the time. Not maliciously, neccessarily -- maybe he's incredibly conflict adverse. It doesn't really matter, because either way, he's not on board.

I think this is going to come down to Kid or Dude, and sadly she needs to decide which she wants more yesterday. If I were her, I'd tell him that I want to have a baby, ask him pointblank if he's in, and go to the doctor with or without him. I suspect it's going to be without. And that's okay. But if she wants a kid, she needs to get going now and make that, not this relationship, her priority. Ask her how she would feel if she decides not to pursue having children and then he breaks up with her in five years anyway.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:25 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Look at this practically. Even if you somehow miraculously get pregnant (with his consent!!), you will be raising the child alone, since your visa application was rejected (you can't come live with him), and since he is buying a condo (likely won't move from PR, especially since he's been wishy washy about having a child in the first place - I would not trust an online relationship enough to know whether this man would be there for me as my child's father). If this is not something you want to do alone, then don't get pregnant.

As others are suggesting: Go to the doctor, find out where you stand with your fertility. You might not be able to get pregnant at all, and this will become a different question altogether. If you can get pregnant, see my first paragraph.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 12:25 PM on December 6, 2012


She should leave the relationship. This guy isn't that into her. If she wants a child, she should start working with a fertility clinic. Like, pronto.

But I don't know, this whole situation strikes me as very, very odd. Your friend is in her forties and is thinking that she wants to "oops pregnancy" someone? I think she may need to seek therapy if she is so emotionally swept away that she would even consider getting accidentally pregnant as an option. All of the people I know who have "oops'd" someone were teenagers or college students, this is not something an emotionally mature and stable woman does.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 12:32 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know someone who "oops'd" a pregnancy they wanted that their partner didn't, when they were in their late thirties. The baby was born with downs syndrome. She's lovely spirited girl, now in her 20's, but she's mostly non-verbal and will never be able to manage on her own.

Your friend needs to take a good solid look at the risks and decide what she could live with, and what she actually wants. At 45 I would be approaching fertility with both fingers crossed and my eyes wide open, the fact that your friend isn't is one hell of a red alarm. Honestly, with your friend's bad decision making and desperation, I'm not sure her having a baby would be all that great for the kid. She's not thinking in terms of what a baby needs (an involved father instead of a resentful one, for starters), just her own wants and desires.

Also, being pregnant, giving birth, then taking care of a baby in a strange country with little to no safety net of close friends and family is one hell of a bag of stress, has she considered that? I know people who have done that, it's crazy scary, especially when there are language barriers.
posted by Dynex at 1:02 PM on December 6, 2012


It felt like a lot of people were chastizing her without an understanding for the way her thoughts are influenced by her biological situation.

Her "biological situation" isn't an acceptable excuse for planning to trick a man into impregnating her.
posted by elizardbits at 1:19 PM on December 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think you have to be realistic about what's going on. Time isn't running out to find someone to have a child with; time was running out ten years ago. Even if you meet Mr Right Now today it will take at least some time to get to know each other, to make sure you're compatible, and to decide to have a child. So it may well be too late already. It seems to me that your options are twofold. First, decide to raise a child by yourself. And you say that's not an option. Second, recognize that it's probably too late to safely have a biological child with a partner.

That sucks if it's something you've wanted for a long time but time doesn't always cooperate with us.
posted by Justinian at 1:24 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm 48. I know six women who had their first biological child at age 45 or later (the oldest was 47). As I said upthread, all but two needed intensive fertility treatment to conceive.

I also know three women who have shared with me that they tried to conceive around that age, went through several rounds of fertility treatment, and had to make their peace with that not happening. I am sure there are other women I know who had that experience and haven't chosen to share it.

My impatience with your friend doesn't come from my lack of understanding of the pressure of women's fertility windows, Dragonness. It comes from what I see as your friend's lack of understanding of it (at least based on the admittedly limited information that can be shared in a post here), and her seeming unwillingness to inform herself.

The women I'm talking about above, all but one, had devoted partners/husbands/wives who were eager to join them in parenting. (The one friend who tried to be a single mum and didn't succeed had a strong network of friends eager to help her and her potential child). They were well informed on the risks and probabilities and it was still a grueling and difficult process, that put a strain on most of the relationships, no matter how solid.

Maybe, in addition to talking with professionals, your friend should talk to women who conceived and given birth in their 40s to get a better sense of the challenges these women have faced.

I'm sorry to be so threadsitty here, but this hits a nerve for me because of what some of my closest friends have gone through in the quest to become mothers.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:53 PM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


It sounds like they can't legally live together anyway, can they? If her visa was rejected the first time, what's to make her think it'll be approved this time? And it certainly doesn't sound like he's about to move to be with her.

She needs to give up on this guy and find some other way to have the family she wants.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:55 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


First off, I do completely understand freaking out at age 45 when you suddenly realize that you probably will not have a child. I did it and I already have two kids. One of my best friends did it - she freaked out, was miserable for a bit, considered "oopsing" her boyfriend, who is adamantly against having a child and then came to her senses. She's looking at fostering and/or adopting now - and moving the boyfriend out of the picture. So I get that panic and I think a lot of women our age do. I guess part of me will always wish I had had another child but I didn't and eventually you have to let go of that dream. I wish your friend the best in that one; it's a difficult dream to let go of, but it is very, very possible and she'll be okay.

Second off, it is not at all impossible to have a child naturally at age 45. My mother did it in the 1960s, for gods sake, as have several other women I know or know of. 45 is not 85 and my gynecologist is adamant about me, at 49, using birth control for, yes, birth control. If you're still menstruating, it is possible that you can still get pregnant. Not likely, but for heaven's sakes, it happens. Every month - and I do mean month, not year - the chances are getting slimmer.

However, just because it's possible doesn't mean it's a good idea. It's true that the risk of Downs goes up but even without that risk, having a baby is hard, hard work and raising a child is incredibly difficult and doing all of this on a limited or even nonexistent budget is so hard that I think, having done it myself in my 20s, it's best attempted by younger people. You just don't have the physical or emotional resilience in your 40s that you do in your 20s or early 30s and that resilience does not return. Staying up all night, night after night, with a baby or sick child is one thing when you're 28 and quite another when you're 48. And doing it all alone is even rougher, and if she's going to do it, she's going to do it alone. That is the only way your friend is going to have a baby, period, full stop and if the baby is all important, than she needs to accept that. She doesn't have time to find a partner. Maybe she can find one after the baby, maybe not, but romance has to go to the very bottom of her priority list if she really wants a child.

All of which is just to say that she's going to have to make some serious choices: first, that man or a baby. She can't have both. The relationship might yet work out (although I also am cynical and gloomy about long distance relationships ever working, let alone all the other drama here) but no, he is not ever going to want a baby and she needs to respect that.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:26 PM on December 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am even considering 'accidentally' getting pregnant when I next see him.

I understand the biological imperative, I do. But your friend really needs to not do this. There are so many children who are born to parents who cannot or will not give them the love and support they need. So much suffering, and it can be prevented, your friend can prevent it! A great deal of suffering in the world cannot be anticipated or prevented. Suffering happens. But the suffering of a child whose father does not want it can be anticipated, it's a story told a million times over, and it can be prevented.

What your friend is considering doing is not fair to the child she will presumably love. Please, ask her to please not do this. It is not about her need for a child. It is about a child's need for its parents.
posted by headnsouth at 3:14 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since everyone above is just saying things like "it's very unlikely" your friend will naturally get pregnant, I just wanted to clarify that with some statistics:

- Women over the age of 45 have a less than 5% chance of conceiving naturally.
- Women over the age of 44 have a 50% chance of miscarriage.
- Even with IVF, the chance of a live birth over the age of 45 is less than 2%

The risk of genetic problems, on the other hand, is not quite as dire. At 45 you have a 3.5% chance of having a child with Down Syndrome. Of course there are other possible genetic issues too and I haven't looked up the stats for those. But I'm guessing that they similarly are hugely more likely than if you were in your 20s, but still well under 10%.

I echo people above who suggest your friend should get checked out by a specialist (ovarian reserve) etc, and then make her decision based on whether there is any chance she will be able to get pregnant anyway. If there is basically zero chance, she might feel better about waiting longer for this guy to come around to moving in together and getting married.
posted by lollusc at 4:05 PM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Google search results for 'age of father baby health'.

Dragoness' friend: please stop thinking about what YOU want (baby), what HE wants (companionship), and think about the unspoken voice in the room- your unborn child, and what would be best for him/her.
posted by invisible ink at 4:52 PM on December 6, 2012


She wants to have a child as part of a loving, committed, intimate relationship. That isn't going to happen here. So the best thing to do is to end this relationship and look for that relationship.

I've been thinking about this question all day, and biology is cruel, and this is a crappy choice to have to make, but life is hard and tough shit, y'know? If you get knocked up, he's still not going to give you what you want in the relationship in terms of partnership and child-rearing, etc. And you're not going to be happy with him if he denies you that. This is a deal-breaker, so stop wasting your time where you can't strike a deal.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:44 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tell her to print this page out and ask him what he thinks about it after he reads it.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:27 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


It felt like a lot of people were chastizing her without an understanding for the way her thoughts are influenced by her biological situation. It looks to me like she can't think straight any more because she is desperate. She is not a bad person.

I believe she's probably not a bad person. Baby fever desperation may be a reason why she's being incredibly naive/irrational/ill-informed but it's not a good excuse to go forward with any of her plans.

(a) she should give up on the idea of a baby and just pursue this relationship - If she decides that this relationship is more important to her than a baby then sure. But if she does, she needs to firmly give up the idea of having a baby because there's a chance this relationship won't work out anyway and then she'll be relationship-less and baby-less.

(b) if she should leave him regardless - If she feels that she wants a baby more than she wants to be with him then yes and pronto.

(c) if she should stay with him and try to talk him into having a baby anyway - Probably not, she's just wasting her precious time and it doesn't sound like he'll change his mind. DEFINATELY do not try and get accidentally pregnant, that is just beyond awful.

(d) if she should try to meet someone else willing to raise a child with her - She could try but it'll probably be hard if she's prioritising BABY as the main reason to meet anyone. Most people want to know they are in a relationship with someone because the other person wants to be with them, not because they can provide a baby. So, for that goal she's probably also going to need some backup plans as well (like fertility treatments, sperm donors, etc as others have mentioned above) and prepare for being a single parent (not to be negative, but just to be prepared and realistic).
posted by like_neon at 1:56 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


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