What is the Ideal Age to Have Children?

So you want a baby? Do you want to shell out $250k over the next 18 years to support that child, or would you rather buy yourself a Ferrari. Ok, so probably most of us would prefer an addition to our families than a car if the option were presented, but the actual cost of having the child is not what concerns me.

I’d like to better understand what will happen when I have a kid. Today I think I’d want to be a working mother, but given I grew up with a stay-at-home mother there will be plenty of times when that choice will leave me upset over the lack of being able to go to my kid’s school events or support them with homework. There are options with more flexible careers, for sure, but usually those options require giving up a larger salary, benefits, and stability for the coveted flexible lifestyle for any young parent.

The few people I know with kids in The Bay Area have local family to support them with childcare so they can continue having a dual income or they have one parent working and one staying home. While my boyfriend has family in the area, I’m not sure I’d trust them to care for my hypothetical future children. So I need to think about the costs of childcare vs the cost of giving up my career (for a while?) and staying home with the kid/kids.

Maybe I’m overanalyzing this at the moment, given that I’m not even married yet and I very well may be infertile. But I can’t help but look at others my age as they tie the knot and pop out pint-sized poopers and feel behind. Like somehow all of my work to get where I am today has been for naught because all that really matters is procreation. Where did the “I don’t really want kids” 22 year old go? Apparently, she is deceased and reborn as a 29 year old “shit, when am I going to find time to have kids that I so desperately want?”

If kids were not an option, maybe I’d live the next five years of my life differently. I’d be less worried about saving money with such a voracious appetite to grow my networth. I might plan to attend graduate school myself versus encouraging my boyfriend/future husband to do the same. But an MBA that costs $150k plus lost salary is not worth it if I plan to drop out of the workforce for a while – which is still a very big and unclear IF.

A lot of mothers work. Some work two or three jobs. As my boyfriend constantly reminds me, many people have kids with much less than we have and they do fine. Meanwhile I’m preaching the “we need $500k in savings and investments before we attempt to procreate.” (According to my savings plan, I should be able to hit that number in 6-10 years, when I’m at least 35. I’ll be lucky if I’m able to have even one kid at that point. The reality is if I want kids I should be trying to have them now. Like, five years go yesterday.

Then I look at my current life and work schedule and wonder how I’ll even be able to go through a whole In Vitro process to try to get pregnant in the first place. It seems like that piece itself is extremely time consuming. I can barely find time to fit in my calendar to see a regular doctor, let alone ongoing visits to an ObGyn where they suck out my eggs and attempt to infuse them with life, then plop them back in. It seems such frequent sick days or doctor’s appointment must raise some suspicion  And who wants to make their boss think they’re pregnant, potentially limiting opportunities for professional growth, when they actually haven’t even managed to conceive yet?

I guess when the time comes I’ll figure this all out. But that time is coming pretty soon. My boyfriend and I are planning to get married in 2014. We talk about starting to try for kids fairly soon after that. Well, that’s next year, or in two years if we get married in fall 2014. That’s not very far off at all. So it seems I should be thinking about all of this now before suddenly I’m 31 and feel rushed to pop babies out before my eggs are dried up.

I’ve even considered freezing my eggs but wonder what the point would be if with PCOS they are of such low quality. I admit I’d be devastated if I couldn’t have children in the long run, even though I’ve been setting myself up for that reality my entire life ever since my first gynecologist appointment at 15, after a very strange and short period, she told me that I needn’t worry about the weirdness of my cycle, and I should just take birth control pills and make sure to get pregnant before I turn 30. That seemed so far off at the time, but now that it’s 11 months away, it seems impossible.




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3 thoughts on “What is the Ideal Age to Have Children?”

  1. I haven’t read your whole story yet, but with PCOS it is unlikely that you’ll have to do IVF. PCOS doesn’t mean your eggs are poor quality, just that they have a hard time popping out (and that popping out process means that they’re older when they do pop out– that’s why they often recommend Clomid or an injectible as a *boost* to get the eggs out faster).

    However, metformin, an insulin sensitizing medication, often does the trick. So there’s a lot of throwing up, but no surgery, no having to time an IUI etc. Metformin will also decrease your chance of miscarriage to that of a normal woman. My second pregnancy was so much easier than my first– I went on metformin, after I finished ramping up I started having regular periods, then I got pregnant like a normal woman. I also lost weight effortlessly.

    If you haven’t seen a reproductive endocrinologist yet, I strongly strongly recommend you talk to one about your concerns. OB/GYN tend to use clomid and injectibles and IVF rather than actually getting to the heart of the problem. (And they’re likely to put you on BCP if you’re not trying to get pregnant, even though that can worsen symptoms when you go off.) RE actually understand PCOS.

    1. Thanks for the info. I know IVF might not be necessary but I figure i need to prepare for it. I haven’t gone on met yet (an endoc previously told me that I’m neither overweight enough or wanting to get pregnant so it didn’t make sense to go on met.) I’m seeing an endoc later this month (different one) and going to see what they think about met or how i can prepare to have kids in the next 5 years.

  2. Also: “I should just take birth control pills and make sure to get pregnant before I turn 30” is BS, and underscores the importance of seeing someone who knows what they’re talking about. Reproductive endocrinologist, not an OB/GYN.

    The PCOS having babies time-limit is the same as for normal women. She may have gotten it mixed up with POF (premature ovarian failure), but there is no way of predicting whether or not you’ll have POF and they don’t know what causes it. Plus it usually comes later than age 30 anyway.

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