It's not a good time to have a baby, but I am worried this might be my only chance...
December 7, 2011 6:38 PM   Subscribe

I want to have a baby. It is not the right time to have a baby. Rationally, I understand this. But emotionally, I am freaking out because of my age and feeling like I may not have other chances. How to best reconcile this?

The short version: I turn 35 next summer. Intellectually, I knew that after 35 a woman's fertility declines. But that was all a theoretical concept to me because I was not in a relationship and there was no potential father who could actually make any of this a possibility.

Now, there is. And I am blissfully happy. But there are some complications.

1) He is in the process of finalizing a divorce. So leaving time for that, and then leaving time for us to live together first, then get married, then BE married, then have a baby and I am looking at being 36 years old before it's 'convenient' to even start trying!

2) I am currently in a job where it will likely be time for me to move on when my contract is up in June. So, if I get a new job, I would have to be working there for a certain length of time to be able to qualify for maternity benefits if I leave to have a baby. So, again, we're looking at a year from now before it's 'safe' to try. And I am just panicking because that feels really long to wait...

3) The boyfriend has a chronic health issue that, while manageable, would likely disqualify him from adopting. So, I feel like if we don't have a baby---now---I might never get to be a mother and that was just devastating.

It took me a long LONG time to meet the right guy. And now that I did, and there is a potential father for the hypothetical baby, I feel like my biological clock is making me a little crazy. I *know* that in a perfect world, it would make sense to wait just a little longer because of reasons 1 and 2. But my age, combined with the potential issue around adoption, just has me thinking 'screw being practical, have a baby NOW and then just deal with it.'

Advice? Anecdotes that might help me in this situation? Reassure me that it really isn't too late for me? I am so confused.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (49 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think there's a huge drop in fertility between 35 and 36.

Your boyfriend is still in the process of getting a divorce. You've never lived together. A MILLION things could happen.

If you're very, very concerned about your fertility, get a workup and take charge.

And maybe investigate adopting as a single mother.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:45 PM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]

1) He is in the process of finalizing a divorce. So leaving time for that, and then leaving time for us to live together first, then get married, then BE married, then have a baby and I am looking at being 36 years old before it's 'convenient' to even start trying!

If you don't abandon this kind of thinking, he'll be gone in two months. If this is what you're conscious of projecting upon the situation, then the bits you're unconscious of are probably incredibly obvious to others, including him. The baby thing is a gun you're holding to his head as well as yours -- it puts unfair gravity upon every single decision and situation in your relationship.
posted by hermitosis at 6:46 PM on December 7, 2011 [14 favorites]

I got pregnant by my married lover when I was 41. I decided to keep the baby. He moved in with me when I was three months pregnant. It took another three years for his divorce to become final. He got fired two months after he moved in with me. I was working part-time at a temporary research job. I had the baby. The kid is in college now. BOY am I GLAD I HAD HIM!!!!

The thing is, at 41 1/2 , I KNEW it was almost definitely my last chance to have a biological child, so it was an easier decision. You have TOO many options, too many possibilities to play with and bets to hedge.

I say, just start trying now. It may take a while for you to become pregnant anyway, and at that point you'll have the maternity benefits. As long as you and the boyfriend are both into it and love each other, you can make it work. Other people do. You can too.
posted by DMelanogaster at 6:47 PM on December 7, 2011 [13 favorites]

It's not too late for you. Likely. There aren't guarantees, as much as I'd like to give them. But I can tell you this: I was told I couldn't have babies until it was confirmed I was pregnant at almost-39. We had a largely uneventful pregnancy, she was delivered healthy and whole, and she's now a happy and brilliant 15mo old. All of this after thinking it was all over already.

I have several friends and associates with similar stories. Many had resigned themselves, because doing it right was more important than doing it, then, suddenly, they were mamas.

If you were to go to a fertility specialist and get your system checked with an eye to predicting future fertility, that could help you balance things a bit more (or accept realities as they are). There are also adoption scenarios where your fella's health situation might not be the dealbreaker you think it is. I'd talk to an adoption attorney. The pros are there to help you figure out your situation and how much potential exists (and, if there isn't much, to advise you on how to increase that potential).

In the meantime, working to get your ducks in a row mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, and with regards to living space would be a superb distraction and go far in establishing the best foundation for any future children.
posted by batmonkey at 6:48 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

You so have nothing to worry about. The key ingredient in the baby-makin' plans-- your boyfriend-- is in place, so everything else is just about pacing (much better than the more uncertain, theoretical situation you were in just a few years ago, right?). And #1 and #2 above amount to the same delay, since they both make a year from now sound optimal. Waiting a year to begin trying is totally reasonable. You'll only be 36, which is still well within range.

If you're truly worried about the possibility of declining fertility, and since adoption won't be an option, you could have some eggs frozen. That keeps IVF open to you.
posted by ms.codex at 6:48 PM on December 7, 2011

If he wants to have a baby with you, go for it. The problems you listed are not requirements. Plenty of people have kids without being married to the kids dad -- if you and he are ready, don't worry about anything else.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:50 PM on December 7, 2011

oh, now that I"ve read these other comments, I realize it wasn't clear that the boyfriend is as into having a baby now as you are. So I'm revising my opinion. Maybe you should wait a year. But I would not ever feel sanguine that I would be able to become pregnant in my late thirties. Maybe it'll happen, maybe it won't. If you really want to maximize your chances of having a biological child, it would be a good idea to start trying as soon as you and the boyfriend are in a comfortable place.
posted by DMelanogaster at 6:51 PM on December 7, 2011

I'm assuming, of course, that he plans on settling down and having kids with you. If not, you might need to have a serious talk about where your relationship is going.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:51 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Go spend some time on and check out the communities available. They have everything from "plus size and pregnant" to "mature moms" to "baby names" etc. You're bound to find people who have some of the same concerns as you and experiences to share.

For what it's worth, I was 36 when I had my child and although my doctor suggested additional genetics testing (all optional), everything went very well. Oh, and TMI, but I got pregnant the first time "trying" after I got off birth control pills, so there wasn't any sort of issue with that either.

Finally (well, this should be first, really), go speak with your gynecologist and discuss the thoughts and concerns you're having and as the expert, let them help you through this process.
posted by cyniczny at 6:53 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

The media is really into scaremongering about fertility - you'd think that women over 35 never ever get pregnant, when the fact is that it is just not that hard for many of them. It's not like your eggs fall of a cliff at 35. You are doing fine, don't panic!
posted by yarly at 6:54 PM on December 7, 2011 [8 favorites]

My boss just had the bris for her son yesterday. She's 40 and has been married for 3 years, trying just about every single moment since the wedding to have this baby.

It was a long hard struggle for her, and she is so so so happy to have a baby. Her husband was a divorced father of two when they met, and she was 36 and already really ready to make a baby. There path had a lot of heartbreak on it.

There are no guarantees in this world. None. None. I'm a big believer in "stop waiting for the perfect moment" and get started. Unless there is something nagging at you that tells you he isn't good father material, just make a baby already.

And yes, go see the doctor to get your bloodwork checked out and maybe have your ovaries/eggs/whatever tested.
posted by tulip-socks at 6:57 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think your biological clock is telling you something important.

You're right, maybe in a year's time you'll be in a better place financially/romantically to start trying, but your responsibility to the health of your future child is just as important. I know this goes against the tide of modern *opinion*, but historically and biologically, 35 is pretty old to start having children, and the risks go up, no doubt about it. The statistics don't lie. You're feeling the way you feel for a very good reason.

If your man can give you a verbal contract that you're both on the same page (ready to get pregnant and married as soon as his divorce is through), and you're determined that your future won't be complete without a child, well, I'd say it's more responsible to go for it now rather than later.

Personally, I'm really in favor of marriage before children, but I'm even more in favor of not putting innocent child at risk for birth defects/issues which statistically do increase with mom's age.
posted by devymetal at 7:00 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

I feel your pain. I am 34 and have been married for going on 8 years waiting for our lives to be figured out enough to have a baby. Well, "figured out" ain't never happened! At this point, I'm ready to admit that maybe it never will. What I do know is that things have a way of working out if you just point yourself in the direction of what you want. So, I'll give you the same advice many people I trust have given me: don't wait, just go for it, and you'll find a way to make it work.
posted by melangell at 7:02 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ah, here are some statistics instead of anecdata: 84% of women who start trying to conceive at 35 will have a baby within 4 years.

Seriously, don't sweat it. Don't hang around in a dead-end relationship for years and make sure you guys are on track, but don't freak.
posted by yarly at 7:04 PM on December 7, 2011 [11 favorites]

If you have the cash, you can always get eggs frozen now.

I disagree that you should stop thinking about this for fear of scaring him away. Frankly, if he doesn't want kids in the next few years, he SHOULD get scared away, so you can move on to someone who shares your goals.

I know early 40-somethings who have kids. It's pretty common. You are counting your eggs before they hatch, so to speak.

Good luck!
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:06 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Friends just had their baby. He's 44, she's 43. They tried for two years. They didn't do IVF. Delivery was vaginal after 7 years. Baby is beautiful.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 7:08 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I say if you've got the other parent, then go ahead and make a baby!! Things will never be perfect. Note: this is coming from someone who desperately wants to hear that it's okay to have a baby before things are perfect.
posted by whalebreath at 7:08 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Uh, 7 hours. Hours.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 7:09 PM on December 7, 2011 [42 favorites]

Have you talked to your boyfriend about your concerns? Does he want kids? Is he willing for you to get pregnant now? If not, is he willing to agree to a plan? Do you know for a fact that your bf's health issue would preclude adoption?

Don't let anxiety drive this decision (yet). Although there's never a perfect time to have kids, ad your fertility is declining, you still have some time to maximize both your odds of parenthood and life stability. Get facts.

All that said, what everyone else has said is also true: sometimes you do things out of order--having the baby before settling down--and it's still OK. So if motherhood is something that is a priority for you, and it sounds like it is, then you can make it happen.
posted by elizeh at 7:13 PM on December 7, 2011

I know of women, including my mom, who were pregnant at 43.

That said, i am just stuck on the fact that you are dating someone who isn't even divorced. I have known quite a few women who did that and are no longer with the guy because once the divorce comes in, the man realizes that he wants to be along or experience his "freedom" a bit more. Not all but many.

Dont put your life on hold for this man.
posted by pakora1 at 7:16 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Look, fertility declines starting in your late twenties. The incremental drop between 35 and 36 is pretty small, it's not like you go from super fecund fertility goddess to withered crone in 12 months.

You do not mention whether your boyfriend is at all ready for a baby right now. If he is not, and my guess is that in the midst of finalizing a divorce is not the greatest time for plunging into parenthood, you shouldn't be trying for a baby right now regardless of your fertility status.

You do need to figure out whether he'd be interested in having a baby with you soonish. Can you get on his insurance if you get married? Could you swing COBRA from your current job for a few months while you qualify for new benefits (and remember many jobs still cover you from day 1).

Anecdotally, I got pregnant the first month we were trying at age 37, and had a beautiful healthy baby at age 38. We're planning on trying for #2 in a few more months here.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 7:21 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Focus on what it will take to be a good parent for a lifetime, not on what gets you a baby on some arbitrary timeline. As the father of a nine-month-old, I can tell you already: The baby's not gonna be a baby for long. But if your relationship as parents isn't rock-solid, or your health care infrastructure isn't in place, those things will have lasting repercussions far worse than you not getting your preference right now.

All of parenthood is about making your immediate desires subordinate to your child's best king-term interest.
posted by anildash at 7:21 PM on December 7, 2011 [9 favorites]

That's "long-term", not king-term, of course. And we started trying when my wife was 35, got pregnant immediately, and then elected to terminate after finding a genetic issue. Even after grieving over that and then trying again, we still had our son while she was 36. You can't plan life.
posted by anildash at 7:24 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Mr. Murrey and I started trying right after I turned 39 and he was almost 47. I got pregnant in the second month trying. The odds were not great for many reasons, but it happened. I always believed the thing we had going for us in the fertility department was that I wasn't "OMG MUST GET PREGNANT NOW!!"
posted by murrey at 7:26 PM on December 7, 2011

Women with "normal reproductive function" decline in annual fertility (likelihood of pregnancy with a year of trying 2-3 times a week, including pregnancies that result in miscarriage) about 3 percentage points per year at this age. That said, fertility only declined from 86% at peak to about 55%, so in a couple more years it will be 49%. Not great odds, but not so bad either. How "hard" a baby were you and your boyfriend when you were infants? Because anecdatally I've found that a good predictor of whether you'll have a baby that really wears you out and causes postpartum depression.
posted by wnissen at 7:26 PM on December 7, 2011

Plenty of people will give you personal stories of "I got pregnant when I was 'x' years old and was fine -- don't worry!" but here's the real deal: you don't know until you try. When I was a 27 year old I had no reason to think I had diminishing ovarian reserve, but a decade later, I'm still kid-less and trying. If it's really important to you to have a shot at a biological child, get your FSH levels tested. It's not a perfect tool, but it does give you a pretty good window on your current level of fertility (a lower number is what you want). Under 10, and you're in okay shape. Under 8 is even better. Close to 14, you'd want to get going asap. Over 15, and waiting even a few months could make a difference.
posted by mmmcmmm at 7:54 PM on December 7, 2011 [7 favorites]

Also, there's an awful lot of misinformation out there about fertility. It doesn't matter what the statistics are for the general population, what matters are you and your partner's specific issues. Wanting a baby or not wanting a baby / waiting for the right time or going for it when it's the wrong time -- the truth is, none of that matters one bit. Thoughts and feelings do not influence biology. What matters is the condition of your uterus, the health and number of your oocytes, the morphology and motility of your partner's sperm, and the correct combining of your DNA, among dozens of other factors that determine whether you will be able to carry a child to term. Again, if having a biological child is important to you, I wouldn't hesitate to begin to determine the state of these factors.
posted by mmmcmmm at 8:05 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Many of my friends are women who had their first baby with no problems after 40. And most of the people I know who've had trouble with fertility were significantly younger. Point is, the stats are true but the worst case scenario doesn't have to be always true. mmmmcmmm called it in one second - you won't know until you try.
posted by zomg at 8:19 PM on December 7, 2011

If he wants a kid with you, too, I would say to start trying now. Sure, lots of women get pregnant in their late thirties and early forties, and lots of women spend tens of thousands of dollars for fertility treatments, and lots of people adopt.

But it's also true, that your fertility drops precipitously after 35. The difference between 35 and 40 is a lot more than the difference between 30 and 35. Between age 30 and age 35, you're chance of having a child with Down syndrome more than doubles; between 35 and 40 it quadruples. Also true that IVF doesn't work for everyone. And adoption can take years and years, so that if you wait until you have exhausted all other options before you try that, you could be well into your forties before you have a child at all.

Even the "encouraging" link that yarly provides makes it clear that IVF and other fertility treatments do not make up for the drop in fertility in women over 35.

If you want anecdata, I have a friend who had her daughter at 43, but she had 3 years of trying and 4 miscarriages first. Another friend had her first son a year and a half ago, at 37, but they tried for 2 years. A third is 38 and has been trying for 3, with no baby yet.

I agree that if having a baby is a priority for you, you should at least get yourself checked out. One of the big problems with folks wanting to use reproductive technologies is that they wait until they are in their late 30s, when it may already be too late. Like mmmcmmm says, age is just part of the equation. You may get checked out and find that you are fertile like a brood mare, in which case, you can relax. On the other hand, you may find that conceiving is going to be extra special hard for you, and you need to get cracking right away.
posted by looli at 8:22 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nobody's asked this yet, but: how long have you been with your still-married boyfriend? How long has he been separated from his wife? I'm reading this thread and strongly suspecting the answer is something like "a few months."

Timingwise, you don't have to do everything "perfect" what with live together then get married then blah blah job wise. (Though waiting on a divorce first is probably still a good idea.) However, if you want to keep this guy, you need to be careful about how fast you hop into stuff. Have you had the "I want babies and soon" conversation yet? Tell him your timetable of panic and find out what his is. Make sure he's okay with moving on this quickly, or if he's worth keeping so you're willing to wait a little bit. Or if you're not willing to wait, start looking into single parenting. But I would be worried about moving too fast possibly hurting the relationship, at least with regards to the divorce.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:57 PM on December 7, 2011

I suspect that some of the respondents here have not had to deal with infertility. Saying "84% of women who start TTC at age 35 will have a baby within 4 years" is summarizing years of heartbreak and misery in one blasé sentence. Many women who start at age 35 and have been trying for 1-2 years with no luck are getting medical treatment for infertility at that point anyway, which I can assure you is incredibly frustrating and expensive. It's easy to say "the majority of women will be pregnant within 4 years!" but as mmmcmmm points out, it doesn't matter whether the majority will get pregnant. It matters if you will get pregnant. You don't know if you're part of that majority until you are.

I've been dealing with infertility for over a year. This is the hardest challenge I've ever been through. If you had asked me before I started trying to conceive what I thought of women who struggled with infertility, I probably would have said "they're selfish and they don't know what real hardship is." Just goes to show that you shouldn't judge people without first walking a mile in their shoes.

Anyway. I wouldn't rush a marriage to someone specifically for fertility reasons, because having a stable marriage is very important too, but the other stuff, the stuff about jobs and money? Forget that. Things probably won't happen the way you plan them.

Also I would like to point out that even if you were unable to get pregnant using your own eggs, and you were unable to adopt, you would still be able to experience pregnancy and motherhood using donor eggs. So don't despair that there is no other way aside from adopting if your eggs aren't working for you.

Final point, you may want to look into whether what you think about your husband's medical condition is actually true or not, if you're really losing that much sleep over it. From what I've read, anything less than a terminal illness can probably be worked around, with the possible exception of major psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:22 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

I did not have a child for parallel reasons and deeply, deeply regret it now that I am too old and infirm to even consider it. Since about 35 my baby hunger has grown exponentially. I'm the last woman you'd ever think this of: brainy, solitary, mystically-oriented… Of course, it's easier to be less nuanced about it now that it can't happen, but if I could tell my insecure, unprepared thirty-five year old self anything it would be "Have a baby!"
posted by R2WeTwo at 10:16 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

Forget that you want a baby, focus on what you want for your baby.

Make that happen. Proceed accordingly.
posted by jbenben at 10:48 PM on December 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

You really, really want to have a baby. 35 is fine age to have a baby. Babies need loving parents; it's nice if there are 2 of them - babies have needs. Make sure the potential Dad is on board, and decide what you really want, then go in that direction. We have the ability to delay parenthood, and it's not always ideal. Women's bodies are better at having babies when they're younger. Parents have more energy when they're younger. I don't want to promote parenting as much as to say "Follow your heart; the rest will work out."
posted by theora55 at 11:27 PM on December 7, 2011

Adoption isn't the only way to provide a loving home for an already-existing child in dire need of one. Get in touch with your local foster care agency.

Fostering, done right, is parenting. And it seems to me that a world with 7+ billion people in it has a far greater need for loving foster parents than it does for more people.
posted by flabdablet at 11:46 PM on December 7, 2011

I don't think there's a huge drop in fertility between 35 and 36.

No, but 35 is the age at which the chances of Downs' escalate dramatically. This may or may not matter to the poster. Nonethless, I agree with...

Your boyfriend is still in the process of getting a divorce. You've never lived together. A MILLION things could happen.

...this observation. And it seems a little odd you haven't mentioned his feelings. Personally, I'd be a little wary about having kids with someone who was still divorcing - I would hate to discover I was their prebound relationship, as it were, once I was pregnant.

However, as far as jobs, age, and what-not go: no-one is really "ready" for children.
posted by rodgerd at 1:48 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes - in order:
1. Have you discussed marriage? (I put this first since you did, so I'm assuming that marriage would be something you want before having children. Otherwise, skip to 2.)
2. Have you discussed having children? It's pretty standard in relationships, especially past your 30s, so there's little worry about coming across as "baby, ASAP" if you approach it as something that all couples discuss. My last ex was quite clear about not wanting another child on our second date, which I appreciated since it meant I knew what I was getting into. (I'd love a kid but don't know if I can have them biologically, which I've already worked through on my own, and he already had 3, so if things had worked out between us, it would have been great by me.)

Also, sorry to agree with posters who have observed how his non-finalized divorce status could be a risk. I know how that sort of observation can hurt. I've known a few couples who met like that and for whom it worked out... and I've known several where it didn't. Whether it was a rebound relationship for the guy, or he was outright playing the field without telling the women involved (which is what happened to me with my recent ex), it can happen.

I think you're wise to want to live with him before starting on children. As for the worst "what if"... one of the ways I've made peace with that is knowing, even childless, it was because I had the (unborn) children's best interests at heart. I don't mean money issues, but much more importantly, the men they might have had as fathers. I am so very glad that I did not have children with my past exes. (For instance, I know how my long-term ex treats his daughter through my ex-mother-not-quite-in-law, and thank my lucky stars that I had always been wary about his behavior with children. I'm also thankful that his daughter has access to free therapy through her school – yes, it's that bad. As for the recent ex, I'm horrified at the thought of what he must be modeling/teaching to his young boys – he had long-term mistresses that he'd hidden from his ex-wife in addition to multiple girlfriends after separating. None of us knew about the others.)
posted by fraula at 2:54 AM on December 8, 2011

You... haven't mentioned much (anything!) about your boyfriends opinion.
This seems like it could be a problem.

(Look, I hate to ask this but - are you feeling stable in your relationship? Just because I know several people for whom that was what was really going on, when they found themselves suddenly *worrying* about wanting a baby. What they really wanted, was safety, security, family, the assurance their partner wouldn't divorce/leave them, and the baby was part of the fantasy where that was all ok.)

I'd suggest you go to a Dr, and ask for an overview/checkup of your fertility. It's not a guarantee, but if they give you the all clear, it may allay some of your fears about not being able to have a baby, and really be able to give this the time you need.
If they spot anything hinky, then you'll know that having a child eventually is enough of a priority for you that you are willing to have that take top priority, just in case.
posted by Elysum at 3:04 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Boy, are you putting the cart before the horse. Does your boyfriend have a child by his current marriage? If so, what makes you think he would want another one?
And by the way, how do you like the phrase, "his current marriage?" Because that's what he's in. He's married to someone else. And after the divorce is finalized, if it ever is, there's a good chance he'll want to stretch out and be by himself for awhile, as another poster astutely pointed out. He may not want to share a house or apartment with you. And, after attaining his freedom, if you confront him with your baby-rabies, you may well see the back of him forever.
posted by BostonTerrier at 5:53 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

A couple of people have mentioned going to the doctor. I, too, think that's your most important move right now. A doctor can advise you about whether or not there are factors that you don't know of right now that might affect your fertility. Your assumptions here could be significantly off without having gotten a fertility workup. Good luck.
posted by OmieWise at 5:59 AM on December 8, 2011

We are not in control of when we get pregnant, even though we have been led to believe that we are. Yes, you can do things to invite this to happen but there is no guarantee. You are making yourself crazy over something you have no real control over.
You are talking about bringing a new person into this world. This person will be born when he or she is ready. If you are meant to be a mom then you will be a mom, even if it doesn't happen until you are 40.
The thing that you wrote that has me the most concerned is your choice of man. He is in the process of a divorce and is already getting serious with you. Go slow with this, it might not all be as it seems. And his health issues need to be taken into account. Are they hereditary? Will they require that you be his caretaker, putting a child in a distant second? Is his condition going to be expensive?
Many women treat getting pregnant like planning the wedding day. They put all their energy into this one event and forget about planning for the rest of it, the entire marriage, the child's entire life.
Realistically sit down and think about the story you want to tell your child. Is it that he/she was conceived when daddy was still married to another woman? Or do you want to say that you waited patiently, because you knew God had already picked you out as his/her mother and you wouldn't have rushed to have anyone other than him or her.
posted by myselfasme at 6:05 AM on December 8, 2011

No, but 35 is the age at which the chances of Downs' escalate dramatically.

This is a scare tactic too. Let's look at the facts instead of panicking. The Downs risk does not "dramatically" increase once you turn 35. The curve does start to increase more steeply after 40. However, even at 45 years old, 97% of babies born will be fine!

Again, the MAJORITY of women who try to have a baby after 35 will succeed. (With the 84% figure cited earlier, you could even say it's the "vast majority.") Yes, the risk of infertility increases with age; but your fertility simply does not "fall off a cliff" at 35. That's a media-created panic. The choice you are facing right now is not the choice between your most fertile period and your least fertile period -- you can't turn back the clock to 22. It's a choice between fertility at 34 and fertility at, say, 37 -- and there simply isn't a huge, massive difference between those two.

Certainly, as time goes by, you're increasing (somewhat) the risk of infertility. But like everything else in life, you have to weigh your risks. Is the increasing risk of fertility, such as it is, important enough for you to change your life in the way you'd need to to get pregnant now?
posted by yarly at 7:37 AM on December 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

Be patient. You have lots of time. I got pregnant with my last child at age 37 and I know many women who have had healthy babies in their late 30's and early 40's.
posted by daydreamer at 8:10 AM on December 8, 2011

"Having a baby" isn't about you; it's about the child and the life it will lead and the adult it will one day become.

If you feel that you can shower a child with love while affording to give it a nice life, opportunities to learn and grow that you may not have had, and a reasonable chance of someday becoming a happy, emotionally healthy adult, then by all means do it.

If not, get a puppy.
posted by coolguymichael at 8:49 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

No one ever thinks it's the right time to have a baby, or to get married, or to buy a house, or to make that career move. Several of my friends have recently had kids (either their own, or they have adopted). None were in perfect let's-have-a-baby situations, but they've all made it work, and they're all happy. None regret it; it's just the opposite, they can't imagine not having kids now.
posted by xedrik at 9:41 AM on December 8, 2011

Here's a thought: don't keep this all from your boyfriend. Because that will lead to trying to gauge and influence him surreptiously. Which is a bad way to deal with important things in a relationship.
So if I were you I'd say to him: "wow, I've been really freaking out the last weeks about having kids. Somehow I feel it's now or never." Etc. Just share the feeling without the notion that it is true or that this has to be acted upon right now. See where the discussion goes.
It's a valid feeling but because of the strength of the feeling the assessment is rather dramatised I'd say. Probably you'll be able to conceive just fine in the coming 5 years. While at the same time waiting for the perfect time probably isn't wise either.
posted by joost de vries at 10:20 AM on December 8, 2011

You might want to go see your OBGYN for a per-conception counseling visit. The doctor can talk to you rationally about the affect of age on fertility and also help you determine whether you have any problems that need worrying about. A good doctor will supply you with accurate facts and information from which you and your partner can make informed decisions.
posted by bananafish at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2011

There are things you should do to prepare your body for a possible pregnancy. Would checking some of them off your list help you feel like you are moving closer to your goal instead of just waiting? I am of a similar age to you, have the baby rabies and a wonderful boyfriend. 1. Exercise and eat right. I know that being a healthier weight will contribute to better outcomes for a baby and help my estrogen levels.
2. Go to the doctor for a well woman exam and discuss the idea of achieving pregnancy. If you are on any medications that aren't healthy for pregnancy, you will make a plan to discontinue them.
3. Go to the dentist. Gum disease is bad.
March of Dimes has more info and a preconception planning list.
posted by coolsara at 1:22 PM on December 8, 2011

FWIW, my mom had me when she was 36. That was 28 years ago so I would imagine that prospects have only improved since then.
posted by fromageball at 5:13 PM on December 22, 2011

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