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» How old is too old? from Getting pregnant the high-tech way
Since a 60-year-old New Jersey woman gave birth to twins recently, lots of people have been talking about how old is too old to have a baby. Tertia has this post about the topic, and even a survey where so [Read More]

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No cutoff age for others; my personal cutoff age would *probably* be 46. I'm 41 and had my first and so far only, when I had just turned 39. So my son would be 7 then, and for me that is about a maximum age gap between plus max age for me. But can't stress enough again - I hold no age limit for others. I think that "you'll be depriving your kids of a parent young" stance is ridiculous.

This post has actually been quite comforting to read.

I'm turning 35 this year and for the past year I've been in a flat panic to have my first child. Needless to say this hasn't happened... not because I can't (well, I hope I can) but because I was in a rocky relationship and the time wasn't right. We both wanted to get married and have a kid but then the wheels feel off and we seperated for two months.

I was totally freaked out because I realised I wouldn't be able to have a kid before I turned 35yrs... the apparent time when complications become a serious factor. I was also plaqued with the issue of being an 'old' parent.

I have subsequently come to accept the situation. I have let go and with it has gone the blind panic. I believe I will have a kid, whatever complications I may experience I will deal with and I will be a young parent no matter what age I am at cos that is who I am.

My boyfriend and I are back together and second time around has been smooth sailing. We are both excited at the prospect of getting married and having a child and while he wants to start trying now, I am giving us a bit more time to ensure that this stability is lasting.

Reading your post has given me some encouragement especially knowing that I have up to 45 to fall pregnant using my own eggs. Having said that I'd like to be a mom way before 40years if possible.

Its also comforting to know that it is socially acceptable to be an older mom.

Wow, people really think that 40 is too old to have a baby? Someone better tell our reproductive systems. I had twins, post 40 with my own eggs.

Wow. Just. Wow.

Mel, I feel that I must point out that your fertility does decline after 40. It is of course possible to have a baby with your own eggs after 40, but it does get progressively harder. Not to want to scare you, but it would be remiss of me to leave you thinking that after 40 it is easy. It is possible, but not always easy.
xxx

Hi Tertia

Found this article on the net.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=461120&in_page_id=1770

Regards

Heike

I am 34 and have 2 kids. I feel very, very old. My sister just had her second at 39 and she is finding it much harder than she did first time around (her first child is 9, so a big gap. Not intended, but IF will do that).

I can't imagine having the energy at 40 to last through the sleepless nights, the pacing the floor, the endless feeding sessions. BUT I think that's because I've got 2 who have already used up the energy. I think having my first at 40 would be very different. But for me, I am looking forward to having older kids once I am 40. And I am very lucky and appreciate that I am lucky my ART was successful early on in my life.

I agree with you totally T about not imposing a cut-off. 60 is too old for me, but if someone else is up for it then great. But yep, my personal cut off is 34!!

I had my first daughter when I just turned 23 (she's 14 now). I am divorced from her dad and had moved on in my life. I was engaged to D, and we decided that I wasn't getting any younger (at 35) and in his previous marriage, there had been significant fertility issues and as a result no children, we decided we had better start then and there. We got lucky immediately, and at 36 I was starting over with a newborn (and a preemie to boot). For me, physically and emotionally, my cut off is now 40. I physically had a far more difficult time with recovery after Miss P (via c/s), and chasing a toddler now when I am not in the best of shape has physically worn me down.

I don't believe in legislated cut-offs, but..

I typed that, and then I tried to put myself into the shoes of those that deal with infertility issues and other medical issues that hamper pregnancy and so I put in the caveat of meaning this towards the "normal" (I have my mint flavoured shoes handy).

I don't believe that gov't funded medical systems should be paying for fertility treatments for those that are over the age of the norm. By the norm I mean those that would have chronologically be past the age of menopause and that without intervention would not be pregnant. If you are 52 and are in the throes of menopause, and have decided to have a baby, that the gov't funded systems should not be paying for those treatments. Your private insurance should have caveats and clauses in them as well. For example, we work together at a Big Conglomerate and my premiums rise because 3 women put through thousands of dollars worth of fertility drugs on their plan when these 3 women are all over the age where mother nature has already said "Ladies, you're done now." - I truly believe it is fair and reasonable for me as an employee of Big Conglomerate to be a little disconcerted because I have a rise in my premiums or my taxes should it be gov't funded.

By NO means do I mean this as an offense to anyone, just my 10p worth of run on sentences and fodder.

It's really difficult to say. One of the mums at my sons' school has just turned 52, her younger son is turning 6 this year and her older son is 10. I don't think I could do that based purely on the fact that if I follow my mum's course I could be staring down the barrel of a knee reconstruction right at the time when my kids are needing more chauffering around for after school activities. Other people who don't have mothers with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis might see things differently.

ummmmmm, i would have thought that over 40 was too old for me, but i have just turned 46 and am 6 months pregnant with a real surprise baby. we were trying NOT to have babies, plus have been working in separate countries for 6 months of the last year!!! my other kids are 24, and almost 21 (plus a little girl i lost to sids 22 years ago). this is my husbands first, and we are both beside ourselves with joy. nervous? hell yes. unhappy? no way.
this little girl is a gift from somewhere, and i feel blessed to have another chance at being a mum again. SMALL PEOPLE ROCK!!!
my husband is a few years younger than me, and this is his first and perhaps only child, so if i pop off early he will still be there for her, plus - her older sisters are VERY clucky at the thought of a new sister, and they will love her to pieces. i am not the only person in the world capable of caring for her as she ought to be cared for, but will do so as long as it iishumanly possible.
just being alive, choosing to keep risking loving the people i love, and staying positive about life even though i could be otherwise is a grand adventure, and i am glad to welcome her to the lottery.
no one can say when is too old for another person, some of us barely manage living for ourselves at any age.

The only cut off age for me will be set by the limits of my wonky biology. Which may mean a big fat zero!

Maybe if I ever manage to have a live child this view will change, but while I only have a sad pregnancy experience to my name I will soldier on.

No cut off age for others, but my personal cut-off age was 35. I didn't want to be considered a high-risk pregnancy. I require a lot of sleep to function properly (at least 8 hours a night). I HATE getting up in the night. HATE IT. I had my first child at 28 and life was rough for the first few months (which is normal). Our second child came at age 32 and just those 4 years made such a difference in my ability to cope with sleep deprivation. I had so much less energy and it wasn't due to already having a child, it was due to my age. Now I'm 34 and not even contemplating sneaking one more in before my cut-off date. I sleep all night now, and I LOVE it!

I know that for me, being in my 40's with a newborn would be maddening. But that's just ME.

For myself, I wouldn't have had my FIRST children over the age of 35, if I could have helped it. I started trying at 29, thinking that I would have time to get in a couple before I hit my mid thirties. Ha ha haa ha ha. As it happened, I delivered my twins only a couple of months after my 35th birthday. Of course, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Around my neck of the woods, you wouldn't believe how many grandparents are raising their grand children and have full custody. Also, there was a time where agencies wouldn't let foster children be adopted or taken in by couples who were younger than their 30's because they weren't considered mature enough.

I am so exhausted at the end of the day after chasing around twin toddlers, let me tell you. But my mother who is over 60 still works as a pre school teacher, running around after a room full of children aged 2 1/2 to four years of age, many of whom are not toilet trained. Many times she will come and visit me after work, and then spend the rest of the day running after my kids. She has mad skills, I tell you, she can shut down a temper tantrum in a snap, and she can get them to do anything with a smile on their faces. I can't help but think, if my mom had a set of twins at her age, she would do an unbelievably better job of raising them than I'm doing, so I can't, and won't, say that older women can't make great moms.

I had my triplets at 37 - am 40 next month. I don't think I would have been able to survive this "tsunami" if I was younger. At least when things get tough I know that I did do the whole : go study, travel the world, build a career thing and now its OK to just stay focused on the girls and just stay at home on a Saturday night and watch TV - I don't feel as if children is making me miss out on anything, which is what you often get with younger moms.

my personal cut of is 30 as my mother lost two children at about that age and it was devastating for our family. However the two "laat lametjies" that we got are the world to all of us and although my mom has voiced worries of not being there for them when they are older and maybe 'missing out' on there kids etc, as well as being much more tired and a lot less strict, she would not be the same person without all four of us. On a note to the mom with the two older kids - your daughters will love your new baby but just remember that they were your babies too. My sisters who are 12 and 13 (my bro is 24 getting married and i am 27 married with a son and pregnant with a daughter) get terribly jelouse if my mom spends too much time with my brother, myself or my baby and it was not something that we thought would make such a difference but sometimes we just have to remember to give each other special time, this is an extremly complex and strong bond - sibs with big gaps and i would not choose my family any other way....

I have one child and always wanted another. I was in a bad marriage and never considered having a second child to bring up in the toxic environment that was my life. By the time I was in a more stable relationship at 40 I felt I was no longer willing to raise another child, especially a teenager.

Interestingly, my SO's mother was 40 when he was born. In 1952 he was considered a "late in life" baby. His parents were distant and expected him to be the little adult rather than a child. He only remembers his parents as old, never as middle aged adults. Of course this is an individual perception, YMMV.

In response to thrice's coment...I was one of those who responded that 40 is too old. But after quickly clicking, I realized that it was a general poll (because of the last choice) and not a "how old is too old for YOU PERSONALLY to have a baby" poll, so I think I answered incorrectly...with more thought I definitely would have chosen the last option. Not sure if others may have made the same mistake...

For others, I guess it's a matter of what you, your biology (with medical assistance), and your finances can handle, but... I do feel oogy about a 60yr old having a baby. Sorry, but it's just weird to me.

For me, this is it! I'm 37 1/2 and having #2 on Thursday (OMG, OMG, OMG, three days to Baby #2!!!) and feeling every day of my age. I'm sure chasing after a toddler most days and the reality that I wasn't in shape to begin with has made it a more difficult pregnancy, but I'm just tired and ready to reclaim my body for me and me alone (with occasional visits by Mr P).

I always wanted two children and even though we married when I was 22, we just weren't ready to really get serious about having a baby until a couple of years ago, so I was a week out from my 35th birthday when Miss P the First arrived. We had wanted a 2 1/2 year spread between the two and, amazingly enough, biology cooperated, so here we are. But once #2 is out and proclaimed healthy, Mr P will be making his "snip snip" appointment because, again this is just for me, I cannot do this in my 40s.

BTW, for those who are stressing about 35+ pregnancies and being "high risk," it really is just a statistical placemarker that OBs use. It's not like you turn 35 and everything goes to pot (well, at least not immediately). When they were using 1/200 as a risk of miscarriage from an amnio, 35 was the year that you had an equal risk of Downs. So the theory was unless you had other factors, why risk an amnio (and a possible miscarriage), if your risk of Downs was lower. Now that they've recalculated the risk of miscarriage from amnio to 1/1600, 35 is just a leftover marker. Any OB who automatically tells you that you're high-risk JUST because you're over 35 is foolish.

MY personal cut-off age was 35. I had my first child, 6 weeks shy of 32 and my second 6 weeks after my 34th b-day. I know my personal limitations.

I'm still young (23), unmarried, and not trying yet, but my mom started having kids at 17 and didn't completely finish until 54. Her fifth and last birth was at 37, but she and her third husband adopted a baby in 2002, adopted twin one-year-old girls a year later (so they are our pseudo-triplets), and adopted another baby in 2005. I should note, all of these are special needs kids. I'm not too familiar with the adoption rules, but I highly doubt she would have been able to adopt kids at her age if they didn't have their issues. Which, of course, just adds to how incredibly tired my mom is all the time. In addition to the usual trials of having three five year olds and a two year old, she has to deal with regular hospital visits, extensive surgeries, a couple of OCD personalities and one ADHD. Anyway, my point is, these kids are loved to death, but there's no way my mom could do it without full-time help and the fact that all the kids have been in school full-time since six months of age.

I think it's a really personal thing that depends more on your own energy level than anything else.

Lurching around the house with my 9 day old, I've been known to moan that we should have had children at 23. I do think I would have been a more energetic mother had we done so (assuming we had been able--we needed help when we started actually trying to have them at 32).

Now at 37, I do lack a certain amount of youthful exuberance, it's true. But I am infinitely more patient now than I was then, and that counts for something.

I am 33 weeks pregnant with #3 and I am 36. I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS....But I am high risk (very fat, gestational diabetes) I have a very stressful job where I travel a lot. My older boys are 7 and 6. But most women are better able to handle pregnancy than I. I sucked at it both of the other times too. It's not the part after that worries me, I do fine taking care of the baby, but the 9 months of misery first have convinced me to never do this again. Anyone else, knock yourself out (or up)...if you want a baby when you are 60 I say better you than me.

I don't know that one can generalize when one is too old. So many factors to consider: energy level, ability to get pregnant, readiness of both parents to have a go again, age of other siblings, concern about health issues of the baby when the mother is older, and so on and so on... I guess the major factor for me is not wanting to risk the health of the baby.

People who say they'd love whatever they got -- a down syndrome baby, a premie with ongoing health problems, etc.-- maybe they would do a great job. But I grew up with a sibling with congenital chronic health problems and it affects the WHOLE family forever -- emotionally and financially.

Having lived with that, there's a point for me where it would be selfish to risk that by giving birth at an older age, forever impacting my newborn and my other child's life. I had a healthy beautiful daughter at the age of 41 naturally. I didn't know about infertility becoming an issue after the age of 35. I feel incredibly lucky. I don't need to spin the roulette wheel for another.

But Gretchen, what if you had run up against IF? Would your limitations have changed if you couldn't get pg 'on schedule'?

I'm 42. I have 2 children, born when I was 29 and 33, and have just had 2 miscarriages, at 41 and 42. For me, that's it, I'm done. When I finally persuaded my husband to the hoped-for third child, I knew the risk of Down's, etc would be higher, but for some reason I never really thought about the miscarriage risk, which of course statistically goes up with age too. There's a lot of talk about it being harder to conceive as you get older, and I know it often is, but for me, I conceived just as easily in my 40s as in my 20s. Fewer people talk about the fact that not only is conception harder for many people, and the risk of a child with genetic problems greater, but also the odds of miscarriage are way higher as you get older. After the first miscarriage, we tried again, in case it was a fluke, but twice in a row, never having had one when younger, suggests otherwise to me. I can't imagine how hard it must be to have multiple miscarriages with no live children beforehand, especially if you are already older when you start trying.
If I didn't already have two children, I would absolutely keep on trying now, and I am sure I would have had the energy to deal with a newborn, if I'd ended up with one. But, for me, starting from where I do, it seemed silly to keep putting myself through this trauma, with less and less chance of success, and with the likelihood that we would have retired before the potential child left education. I absolutely wouldn't judge anyone else for their decision, except that, like other posters, I think that having children way beyond the outer limits of biological feasibility - at 60, say - is - how can I put it? - not something I would do, or encourage anyone to do, really.

I wouldn't enforce a cut-off age on others; but for me, with 3 kids and 2 more planned, I want to be done by 40. I'm 33.

Tertia,
My son was born when I was 26, single and not ready for a child. That quickly changed. ;) At 35 I finally met Mr. Right and we got married when I was 37. My thought was, we get married, have one child and be done before I turned 40, he is 4 years younger then I am. Well, 3 miscarriages later, just turned 40 in May and look who finds out she is pregnant? If all goes well, this baby will get here in January and I will turn 41 in May. If this doesn't work, I will be done. Alex will be 14 in September, so if this baby gets here it will start Kindergarten the same year Alex goes to college. ;) But for me personally 40 was going to be my cut off as I can tell as I get older my patience is alot shorter and the older I get the more I am starting to physically fall apart and for me, I don't think it would be fair of me to have a child that I couldn't play with or be as tolerant with. But that is just what would work or not work for me personally. I am sure that there are others who have way more patience and physical stamina at 40 then maybe they did at 26.

I had better believe in pregnancy after 40. I was born when my mom was 42! And I don't think at all that she was too old. So she might not have been running around the house at 90 miles an hour but she was very loving (still is) and spent loads of time with me. I was a total surprise (she's said that she didn't know old ladies could get pregnant) but I am glad she did have a baby after 40!

I answered though post 45 is too old, though I think I really feel that just post 50 is too old. Of course, I am struggling with infertility right now and I just turned 35 (and am in the midst of a 2ww ugh) so who the hell knows how long it will take me to have a baby. I'll probably keep trying until I'm 50. Ok, so maybe not but I'm not likely to give up soon.

It's so individual. My husband and I have been wrestling with this. I'm 44 and have been trying with donor eggs for a year, so I don't have biology time constraints. Mostly I don't want to be 50 because I can't cycle for 6 more years, I'll go insane. But anyway, both my husband and I believe the nonphysical attributes are important: patience, self-control, self-awareness, maybe knowing a little bit more about how to let the kids be their own separate people than we would have 10 years ago, financial stability which gives us the gift of time, and most importantly a nurturing and very happy marriage. We think that these benefits of being older/wiser more than outweigh stamina or whatever you need to walk the floor and go without sleep and wrestle them into their naughty chair or whatever. Maybe it will be harder on us, but it will be better for them. And the bottom line is that we never chose to wait this long - it's just the way things happened.

I used to think my personal cut-off ws age 35. Then infertility hit and I spent ages 32-36 having miscarriages. I finally had my son via donor eggs at 37. Now I'm contemplating an FET, and we only have two frozen so if that fails we are back to square one, and will have to decide whether or not to go through the whole donor process again. I've learned never to say never so while I THINK I'd like to be done bearing children by the age of 40, I can't say for sure that I will.

My mom was 37 when I was born. I couldn't tell you how many people thought my parents were my grandparents. It use to upset me so much! And now, my parents are in their 70s and their health is going down and it's just me to take care of them, plus my family and work. So, for those reasons, I had my kids early. I don't want them to have to take care of me at such a young age.

I think people do need to think of how old they'll be when their child (or children) is say 15 or 20 - will the kids have to take care of the parents then? It's not are you still young enough to raise a kid at say 40 or 45 but what will life be like for them at 20 or 25?

Tough question! I tend towards letting people decide their own cut off point, but agree with the commenter above above that women in their thirties/forties should come before older women when beginning Government funded fertility treatments.
I always thought that I'd want to have my first child at 30 at the oldest, but now I am 30 and that isn't going to happen. Not because I'm not in a loving relationship, but because we live in a cramped one bedroom flat and just can't afford to have children right now. It does drive me crazy, the 'when will I be able to, if ever'. Right now our cut off for starting to think about it is 34, unless our situation improves before then. Those three and a half years seem an awful long time!
There have to be many couples in our position, and how many of them hit problems when they do eventually start trying - it is pointless setting cut off ages when you're not in the position of not being able to have the child you desperately want.

Is this question just for moms or does it apply to fathers, as well? My husband was 50 when our son was born and will be 52 when our second child is born (if all goes as planned). He also has 4 adult children from a previous marriage. He says that he is more involved with our son and has a greater appreciation for him than with his other children. He is even seriously considering being a stay-at-home-dad when baby #2 arrives.

We do get the "oh, your grandson is so cute" comments but we just politely correct them and go on our way. As for energy, I think he has more energy than me on most days!

I think that people should perform a little self-inventory so that they have a very clear understanding of what they can handle emotionally, physically, financially, etc. and let that determine what "too old" is for them.

After trying for decades, my aunt adopted at age 40. Before that, I would have thought, 40?! But the only difference I ever saw with her and with younger parents is that my aunt & uncle were just so darn excited to have that baby. They go out of their way to enjoy her, and spend every waking minute doing something for that child. Not that other parents don't - but I have friends who had their babies at 18, 19, 20, and I don't feel like they have the opportunity to enjoy their babies as much. (Just my friends - no judgement on anyone, I'm sure lots of people who have babies young can enjoy the heck of them, no problem.)

I feel like first babies would ideally happen by 45. Seconds and thirds I'd like to see before 50. I do think twins at 60 is WAY too old, but what do I know? Perhaps it'll be great for them. My grandfather is one of the healthiest 80 yr olds I know, healthier than me! But I know he'd be miserable trying to send twins to college right now.

I do worry for myself, about needing to have babies asap. My mom went through menopause at 38. My aunt, as I mentioned before, tried every option to conceive for almost twenty years, and finally gave up. Two out of the other three aunts have had numerous miscarriages, and one had a baby born very premature. I have never had great reproductive health. And I'm scared I'll run out of time. So, hey, if I were 45, or 50, or whatever, and finally was able to? Who knows? I doubt I'll be able to past 40. And that would be nature's cutoff, not my own.

I'm 46, using donor eggs, to conceive my first child(ren). I think for myself, I'd probably say 50 is my cutoff because I just can't see myself with infants at that age.

Wow. Just wow. It is interesting that although most in the comments say they are against any (legislated) age restrictions, the poll shows that more than 50% of your readers think that I am unnatural and biologically selfish (essentially).

It is easy to make sweeping generalizations until you have 'walked in someone else's shoes', so to speak.

I had a sparklingly easy pg at age 47; travelled extensively while pg (for work); was outside (in the rain; in October) shovelling 3 yards of topsoil at 6 months pg; worked on Friday before going to the hospital on Monday to deliver my son.

I, like Tertia, am thinking of using some of my frozens for a sibling for my son.

Wow.

Pre-menopause babies are run of the mill in my family, on both sides, as well as long lives. It's worked out well in all instances, for both child and parent. My grandmother had my aunt at 45, then my aunt had her children early. Now my grandparents are in their late 80s with an energetic 40 year old daughter and 20 year old grandsons who can help. Same thing with my mother's parents, who had her at 39, and my oldest aunt who is 61 and whose daughter just went to college.

On the other hand, it's worked to a disadvantage regarding fertility knowledge in the family, since everyone assumes you can just have babies until Whenever. I had to educate both of my parents to the fact that this is not the case.

There are really 2 questions involved in this question: How old is too old for you to feel safe to come through a pregnancy and deal with complications? and How old is too old for you to start raising children? Everyone has an age where you ideally wouldn't want to raise a baby, but as many people point out when dealing with this question, a lot of much older people raise their grandchildren or foster children and always have. So is the question different if you have the baby yourself? Adopt? Foster?

Just throwing those thoughts out there.

I think you're too old when YOU think you're too old. If you think your body can cope with the physical and emotional demands of being pregnant, good sign #1. If you think you can go through the long nights, weaning, potty training, and that you can survive all that comes with infancy and toddlerhood, good sign #2. If you think that 10 years from now, you will still have the energy to support Little League games and ballet recitals, good sign #3. If you think 18 years from now, you will still be able to sit through graduation and cheer for your offspring when they cross the stage, good sign #4. Basically, if you think you have at least the raising years still under your belt, it's a good start. Parenthood isn't just about your lifetime, but the lifetime of your child. If you think you have it in yourself to give them the best possible start, go for it. Simply put, but that's where I stand. :-)

Due to a (couple)sucky marriages, my first was born on my 40th birthday. My second when I was 42. I'd love another, but we don't have the funds for more donor eggs or adoption fees, dang it.
I personally think 60 is pushing it, but I've know 70 year olds who kept up with babies better than 30 year olds, so it's not my place to decide, y'know?

Not sure you are correct about that 99% statistic (99 percent of pregnancies over 45 are with donor eggs), Tertia. I think maybe you are referring to fertility clinic pregnancies. Naturally it is more common. Just personally, I know about 10 women whoconceived around 45 without fertility clinic help. Yes it's h ard to conceive at that age, but maybe not as hard as those know it all fertility docs might lead us to believe

My husband is about to become a father for the fourth time. He's 54. I'm 36. Some people smile knowingly at him when we tell them we're expecting because he is "older" and they wonder if he knows what he's getting into. Still,while people wonder how old is too old to be a mother, they generally don't tend to ask the question, "How old is too old to be a father?" I find that interesting, if not a bit sexist.

Hi Tertia,
I sounded so snarky above in a question to Gretchen- and need to apologize to both of you. My intention was to try and say what do you do when you *think* such and such an age is too old, but then you find yourself that age without a baby? But, I sounded judgemental and I'm sorry.
I found the too-old line to be quite fluid as I got older and older! I don't think I'd have a baby post-menopause since I was able to get pg, but if I hadn't been able to, who knows????

I agree with Heather. Do you have enough love and patience and energy for the 1st 18 years of life. I don't agree only younger moms should have their treatment funded. If anything they have more time so the sense of urgency is less. Tersh remember that lady who was 49 and finally, after 22 years of trying, had her kids. It was awesome.
My cutoff is this year and I get tempted to untie G's winks sometimes and have that last babe. Won't really but for me 36 is it. If you didn't have Kate and Adam, would you still have a cut off age. Not meaning this as rude, just curious.

I am 40 and if I think 40 is too old to have children, I will never have children. This would make me incredibly sad.

My aunt and my step-grandmother both had first children at nearly 40, and my aunt had her 2nd at 43, so I've never even considered that early 40s would be too old to have a newborn.

As I now have a loving, concerned husband who will make a fabulous father, I think now is the right time to have children - I could have gone out and got pregnant and been a single mother in my 20s, I suppose, but I don't think that would have been a better time to be a mother. Now is a better time. When we got married 3 years ago would have been nice, but when I was single would not have been.

I read this entry with interest. I, like Gretchen, had a personal cut-off goal of 35. We were fortunate and we made that cut-off. BUT, I did not have to deal with IVF or donor eggs etc. Had we been faced with additional obstacles, I have no doubt my self imposed deadline would have been extended. I am not sure when I would have stopped, but mid-40's (where I am now) is probably where I would stop. Yes, I still love looking at newborns, and if I found myself with an 'ooops' pregnancy now, I would love it and be capable of caring for it.

Heck, my mother had me at 36 and she was born to a 42 year old mother so I would never judge! We have a wonderful mother at my kids' school who is pushing 60 (adopted daughter) and a 72 year old dad with a 12 year old and a 9 year old (mom's somewhat younger, although no 25 year old trophy wife). Both are tremendous parents, energetic and involved with their kids. Frankly, they have more energy than I do!

Everyone has their personal limits. I respect them.

I voted for “individual choice”. However, I do have some likely-unpopular opinions about the issue as it relates to fertility treatments and medical coverage/costs. In the U.S., most states (I think it’s almost 47/50) do not require insurance companies to cover or subsidize fertility treatments and thus most companies do not. As a result, most Americans are required to fund the entire nut out of pocket. Firms will point to questions about treatments as reasons why they won’t/don’t cover it. Use of fertility treatments for gender preference, single or one-sex parents and “advanced maternal age” are all on the list of reasons. The cost of advanced fertility treatments such as IVF puts it out of reach for most lower or middle-class families.

All that said…. Unfortunately, I don’t really have any answers either. I do not feel that any person is too old, single or whatever to have children if that’s their hope. But, one does have to consider all the issues.

Ah, Sister Mel knows me so well.

She is right. If I hadn't had Adam and Kate when I did, my cut off age would have been how ever long it took me to have children. 40, 50 or 60.

First, I want to second the question (can you do that?) about older dads. IMO, they get an unfair pass. Who criticizes the 55 year old father? Not too many people, and certainly not with the level of vehemence and "how selfish"ness that women seem to receive.

That said, I'm not sure what my personal cut-off would have been, but I became a single mom to twins at the ripe old age of 44 (conceived, via DE, at age 43). I had a very uneventful pregnancy for the most part, with none of the serious complications that can come with multiples and with advanced maternal age. I delivered my healthy girls at 37w1d, and worked full-time in a demanding job up until 6 days prior to their birth (and the only reason I took those last 6 days off was that it was Christmas anyway, so just decided to start maternity leave.) And yes, the first year was exhausting. But heck, I was doing it all alone! I expected it would be. I will admit that I had a period of time where I would lay in bed and do the math, as it were, thinking about how long and hard I would have to work to get them through college and me through retirement. And yes, worrying about what would happen if something happened to me. Now, I have my financial house in order and they would be well cared for if something DID happen, but that's not my point. Anyhow, none of us knows how much time we have on this planet, to be sure, but the older you get, the more statistically likely it is that you might not see your children to adulthood. I think that analysis should be done by anyone looking to have children, irrespective of age. If you have a family with a history of long lives and pretty good health (that would be mine -- with no heart disease and no major cancers, well .. none until my mother up and got ovarian cancer and died at 61), then it's reasonable to assume you will have similar longevity if you take good care of yourself. If, however, you have a long string of folks dying relatively young, say in your 60's, then I'd think twice about having a child at 50. But that's just how I would approach the situation if I were in it. I don't think that the government should impose limitations per se. Individual clinics ... well, yeah, that is their right. And insurance? Again, I don't think it would be unreasonable to limit insurance coverage for IVF to women who arguably are within the reproductively possible window (is that upper limit 45? older? probably not much older).

On a personal level, I'm 38 and with my medical profile I'm considering saying forget it now, but I'm still edging towards a personal cutoff of 40, because with LMW heparin I'll be safer. So, while I understand that many of you are saying it's no big deal to be pregnant at 40+, statistically speaking pregnancy is higher risk the older you get. Some people are blessed with perfect genes and are incredibly healthy, but the majority of us? Most of us are not going to be the exception, that's why public health statistics are gathered; to give us unbiased arguments so we can safeguard our health.

My high-risk OB's comment after seeing that article about the 60 year old pregnant with twins? "She's lucky she didn't stroke out on the table."

As for older Dads, the NY Times had an article about this recently. It's behind a firewall now, but it was done well, I think, because it talked about the emotions and what the kids think from their perspective. It was called: "He's Not My Grandpa. He's My Dad." (Yes, dumb title)

http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20F12FC395B0C718DDDAD0894DF404482

Anyone approaching older parenthood should have some serious family and financial backup at minimum. I know a few couples who have, and unfortunately I know a few others who haven't taken care of any of that. No wills, no life insurance, no disability insurance, yet they boast about how they are better parents after all their life experience....drives me batty.

I had just turned 40 when my twins were born. I used my own eggs. I am now 54 and I am so tired and my body is deteriorating at an advanced rate. There is NO WAY I could care for a baby now. I don't even think I could babysit my potential grandchildren for a week. It's all just too much.

Your body goes downhill fairly rapidly after 50. Knees give out, ankles weaken, you start forgetting even more crap... it would suck to try and be your best at all times for your child when you're falling to ruin.

Not that I'm complaining or anything. Them's just MY facts!

35... is my limit. I am 35 now and I have a 17 month old and a 5 year old, and my personal energy and strength levels are not wear they should be. I am exhausted, happy, but exhausted.

My limit was and still is 40. Mostly for reasons that are to do with my job, but also partly because I know how difficult it can be to fall pregnant beyond that "deadline". I'm 38 now, I wanted two children, I got them within one and a half years (past the age of 35, btw.), and that's it for me.

Pre-kids, my cut-off was 30. However, seeing as how son #1 wasn't even conceived until I was 30, I guess I blew that theory out the window!

At 38, though, I'm too tired to go through all this a third time. I think I'm done (I *think*). That doesn't mean that I think ANYONE is too old at 38; just me!

My mom had me at 32 and, when I was growing up, I always thought I would like to have my kids earlier, because my parents (my dad was 33) felt a lot older than other kids' parents. Well, I got married at 25 and wasn't ready to have kids until recently. I just had my first baby at 31 and I feel young enough, ha. I'd like to have another in a couple of years and I could see going to three on the later side of my mid-thirties. But for me the cutoff is 40.

However, I do not have any fertility issues that I know of. I can certainly understand that ya gotta do what ya gotta do. (Actually, I owe it to the many infertility blogs out there that I got started when I did. I realized that *if* I were to have difficulty, waiting could only make getting pregnant much harder.)

That said, to me 50 seems like a good general cutoff: because after that age, even with improved medical care and longevity these days, you are still going to be fairly old when your kids are in their teens and quite old when they are in their 20s and 30s. I have difficulty with knowingly subjecting children to a greatly increased likelihood of losing their parents, or to their parents having significant illness, at a young age.

Just a note to Sister Mel..

I wholeheartedly agree that when your body doesn't do what it is supposed to and you have medical intervention available, funding is a Good Thing(tm). However, when your body is past the biological and chronological age when what is considered "normal" ages (50+ for the lack of a better number), why should my tax dollars or insurance premiums be higher to pay for treatments that wouldn't otherwise be neccessary? This is assuming that all your body parts worked in the first place.

For example, healthy "normal" me, can get pregnant if you even give me the "look", decides at 54 that I want another baby, why should the gov't or my private insurance be funding my fertility treatments, my IUI/IVF treatments or any part of my medical bills - mother nature already cut me off at the bar, my tab can't be extended naturally, so why should I get "more" on someone else's dime?

Am I making sense?

Due to infertility issues (including very early menopause, which runs in my family and severe endo), I chose at 23 to become pregnant. I had my son immediately after graduating university. I had been married 5 years when my son was born.

If I had felt comfortable never achieving pregnancy, I know I would not have had my son so young. We are struggling financially and even though I know we'll be okay, it can be stressful.

That said, I don't think I would have wanted to wait until 40, or even 35, to have my first child. My mom had both myself and my brothers as a teenager. She is now 44 and a grandmother twice. She is young and energetic, easily able to keep up with two babies. I want to have that with my grandchildren. I don't want to be 70 when my first grandbaby arrives.

This post is interesting to me. I read Julie's last week and was shocked by it. I admit I wouldn't want to have a child at that age, no thanks. I just can't get over the judgement especially from women who went through such struggles to get pregnant and have children. It really makes me sad. I know the I wouldn't keep trying, I would give up now, aren't you ready to just adopt comments hurt all women struggling to have a child. I am just shocked that women who've been through so much and endured so many uncaring comments can not understand another woman's choice.
I wouldn't want to be her at that age but, I wish her all the luck in the world. There's no reason she can't be an amazing mother to those babies, none. And she could be here longer than me, who knows? And I'm half her age.

This post is interesting to me. I read Julie's last week and was shocked by it. I admit I wouldn't want to have a child at that age, no thanks. I just can't get over the judgement especially from women who went through such struggles to get pregnant and have children. It really makes me sad. I know the I wouldn't keep trying, I would give up now, aren't you ready to just adopt comments hurt all women struggling to have a child. I am just shocked that women who've been through so much and endured so many uncaring comments can not understand another woman's choice.
I wouldn't want to be her at that age but, I wish her all the luck in the world. There's no reason she can't be an amazing mother to those babies, none. And she could be here longer than me, who knows? And I'm half her age.

Ah, a subject near and dear. Being over 40 and finally being able to do a second cycle (after waiting 2 years), I spent this past year thinking I'm too old and tired to be running after a baby. And if this cycle works (I'll know in 2 days!), I expect to be thoroughly exhausted.

Was this my choice to (please G-d, please G-d, please G-d) have a child at this age? No. But that's the hand that may (pleasepleaseplease) be dealt me.

My concern with older parents has never really been "can I keep up with little johnny" but more about how long we'll stick around to be parents. We're not old, but we're not spring chickens. If this cycle is successful, I can almost guarantee that we won't live long enough to see grandchildren. I loved my grandparents; they were a huge part of my life. And I know it devastated my husband, whose father was older and died a year before we got married, to not have his father at our wedding.

I don't think I'm making any sense here. Basically, if I'd had my way, I would have children when I was younger. But I hadn't yet met my husband, so it's all kind of pointless to say that. So, I didn't have children when I was younger, but thank G-d for technology that allows people like me (please let it be me, please let it be me) to have children when they get older.

So, no. I can't pass judgement.

I'm delurking because I finally feel like I need to say something. And I always take your polls, by the way. I'm only 30, and have had to deal with infertility issues in order to conceive my daughter. I voted no cut off age, simply because I think it's a personal preference. If your body can handle a pregnancy and you want to have a child, by all means do it! With or without donor eggs.
My step-mother was 45 when she became pregnant with my half-brother, they were elated to be able to have a child together (they each had 4 daughters from a previous marriage). Sadly, her heart wasn't ready to handle it and she has since had one operation and is due for another. But I know she wouldn't have it any other way.

I wouldn't want to impose my views on other women's lives, but I CAN say that I have had a newborn at 28 and a newborn at nearly 42 (with a couple inbetween). Although I may have more wisdom (heh -- not if you ask my daughter, but anyway...), I believe from my personal experience that raising young children is a young person's sport. I'm now almost 55 with an almost-13-year-old girl. It's EXHAUSTING. We supposedly have more patience when we're older, but not when you get the teen girl eyeroll and sass for the millionth time. If I hadn't had children, I probably would have tried till I was fried, but knowing what I know now... I don't really know. I hope this makes sense.

Yes, it was snarky Becky. I was just answering the question honestly and I didn't include personal information about myself and my family that contributed to my decision that would have made you think twice about judging me.

Well isn't this the age old question - haha! Okay, I've got to be honest: I do feel there's a point where women AND men need to say "enough is enough" already! However, just as you said, being too young does not give you a free pass into parenthood. Looking at it as a normal distribution curve (statistics anyone?), there are z-scores on BOTH sides of the curve that represent extremes. These extremes are what people need to look out for.

With parents, I just feel the same way. I don't feel parents should have legal requirements for parenthood; and as someone with PCOS who is having very little say in the matter, I am especially sensitive to that subject. But if you decide to have a baby at 60 years of age, then I'd better see you out in the football stadium at the age of 78, cheering your kid on. You choosing to be an older parent does not give you the right to steal those moments from your children.

On the same token, if you make the decision to have a baby with your 18 year old boyfriend because he "really loves you,", then you had still better be finding a way to help fund prom night. I don't care if you started young - that is not your child's fault.

This is has nothing to do with spoiling kids, but about enabling them to have a relatively stable childhood. And no, this is not about money but about investing in your kids. I think there are plenty of 45 year olds who would be more involved in their children's life than some 25 year olds. Numerous studies show that parents who have kids in their 30's generally provide a higher quality of life, producing more college-bound children, because of financial security.

All these pros and cons basically lead to one thing: it's up to individual variance. The only thing I would expect of myself - and that others should expect of themselves - is that I will not be like my grandparents, who having had their last three children (out of six) rather late in the parent game, were completely NOT involved. My mom often tells me her memories of childhood are of sitting bored in her room while her mom sewed endlessly in her rocking chair.

I want to be done with the newborn thing by 35, though I really honestly hope for 30. Is that the case for everyone? No, and that's okay. God saw fit to make Sarah a new mom at 90, so it would seem that anything can happen! :)

Just wanted to clarify something in my comment. I have an earlier cut-off for the first child, then later for second or third children - because I can't imagine only having one. However! If I planned to only have one, then I'd be okay waiting longer...I just wouldn't want to start at say, 50, and then try to have two more.

All of you ladies are amazing, whether you have your babies at 30 or 50. I would love to know how moms who started at 50 (or later) feel about all this.

For those of you wondering about the sexism of concentrating on the age of the mother, here is an article about the risk of autism increasing with the father's age.

I had my first child at 36, with my second husband. We tried right away, partly due to my age. I got pregnant in one month- very lucky. When my son was about 15 months old, we tried again. After a miscarriage, no luck for 6 months. I did the whole temperature, ovulation calendar thing, and I knew I should be getting pregnant. After 6 months, I was panicking. Blood tests showed luteal phase defect- I had almost NO progesterone! I started on it and got pregnant right away and had another son, albeit a little early. Being an older mom is great- but I had no choice. I am SO darned tired all of the time. I am blessed, but exhausted! I wonder what it would be like to have the energy of the younger me?

I am 46. Both my mother-in-law and my grandmother had their last babies at 46. I COULD handle a newborn, I guess. I mean physically I'm up to it. Mentally, not so much. I would be very unhappy to find myself pregnant right now, and can't imagine a circumstance where I would want to do that again. So I'd have to say my latest date is somewhere in my past.

We started trying for kids when I was in my mid 30s, which for me seemed like the right time... cue the years of IF, heartbreak and multiple miscarriages... we were planning a donor egg cycle in South Africa when I became pregnant spontaneously at 41. (knock on wood, 13 weeks now)

I would never have chosen to become a first-time mother at 41. But, what can you do. I feel incredibly lucky that this has happened, so I'm not going to quibble. (knock on more wood) I agree 100% with the poster who asked which is worse, the old saggy grey-haired mom or the 18 year old who didn't want a kid? (Oh - also - I of course am NOT saggy and grey-haired, but utterly ravishing.)

BTW, a close friend of mine was born when her mother was 42. Mine was 27 when she had me. When we were younger my friend envied me because my mom was not "old" like hers. Fast forward to today, my mother died 6 years ago of cancer and my friend's mom is still going strong at 84.

And for the record, I do think that 60 is too old. TOO OLD.

Well, I always thought that I would have completed my family by the age of 40 - but the hand that I was dealt meant that we didn't have our dd until I was 41. Why didn't I want to be this old? I guess because my mum had me when she was 43 and I always felt that she was incredibly OLD and old fashioned with it. However, I don't think that it is such an issue nowadays. There are many more older mums and dads(in my class at school my parents were the same age as most of the other children's grandparents). I hope to try and remain up with the play for our daughter so that she doesn't feel that her parents are old fogies. My parents are still alive now and very much enjoying their little youngest granddaughter

Wow, wow, wow! I'm so surprised the cut off is 40. I had my first son natutally at 37 and after 2 miscarriage I am naturally pregnant again (25 weeks) with my second son and I am 40. I feel mentally and physically prepared. I'm a young 40 and I feel quite capable of having a newborn plus a toddler. The thought that most of you think I should quit having babies, saddens me. I'm not sure if this is my last pregnancy or not, time will surely tell. I'm just thankful that most of you would not like to legislate a women's age restrictions.

My personal initial cut-off was 35. That was when i was 29 and got divorced. 35 got pushed back to 40 because i was having such a grand old time at the party called, "My Life", and, the miracle of modern technological advancements. 40 got pushed back to 42. 42 became 43.. when i finally didn't meet "Mr. Right Again". I gave birth to twins using my own eggs just shy of 44 years old.
At the time of my pregnancy I was in the absolute best physical shape i have ever been in in my life. Probably better shape than most here as I was skiing, hiking and mountain biking every day as well doing advanced Yoga 3x a week. I was eating healthfully and man was i fit!
I felt i could conquer the world at the time.
Let me tell you that it all changed once the babies arrived. I was pretty much on my own for the first year of their lives and doing those round the clock feedings (every 2 hours! for preemies!), dealing with reflux, the neccessity for helmets, etc.
It has humbled me physically and mentally more than any other single event in my life. More than my fractured neck!!!
I am infinitely more patient now as an older mom (46 year old mom to 2 year olds), but, am ALWAYS COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED.
So, yah, we all like to think we can do it when we are well into our 40's, but, realistically, i find it extremely difficult to deal with my physical limitations due to my age.
I have severe tendonitis in both arms from lifting two babies. I have sciatica on the right side. My previously pain-free neck fracture now has me back in physical therapy. I am usually dragging arse.
So, do i think that any age is okay as long as people think they can handle it? Of course.
But, i also think that most people have absolutely no idea how physically demanding dealing with infants and toddlers is when you get into your 40's. And all the women in my shoes that i know agree.
It is very tiring.
It just is.
I voted for over 50.

Wow. How things have changed. Tertia, have you not noticed that your demographics are no longer ivf, or frankly, even loss related, when you read the responses to your hypothetical questions? I actually had to print out these responses to this particular question, and read them one by one. I'm aghast.

My best friend has been undergoing ivf for the last 15 years. Yes, that means that she was 35 when she realized she had a problem. And is now doing De. And she is now into her 50's. No miraculous spontaneous pgs for her. And she has another DE cycle lined up, at the age of 54, and I sure as hell hope this one works for her. She deserves the chance/hope to raise a child.

Tertia, I think you've sold yourself out.

I had my daughter just three months before I turned 43. Would I have wanted to have my first child earlier? Damn straight I would. But I didn't meet Mr. Right until I was 38 and then I had to suffer through a couple of miscarriages before we got correctly treated.

Am I tired? Of course. Isn't EVERY parent of a 9-month old? But on the other hand, we are happy in our careers, I could take 5 months off & know that I could rebuild my solo practice upon my return, and we have saved for retirement. That means we can focus on saving for college and start working on a sibling.

I meet people all the time who are younger than me but "older & more tired" -- so it truly relates to that individual person. What helps me tremendously is that I'm married to a man who knows how to cook, do laundry, clean up, and oh, so many things that I don't have to do by myself. That means we both get to sleep at a reasonable hour because he's cooking dinner while I'm nursing the baby.

I am 41 and think if situation were different I would still be pining for one more. (Say if gawd forbid something happened to hubby and I were with new, childless partner). But what can I say, I love babies :)

We are living so much longer in this day and age that a 40 something baby not out of reach. Indeed the woman I help care for is 86 and has a 45 year old daughter, she was a surprise baby and obviously the apple of her mothers eye. Joy of her life.

Personally I think 41 is my cut off.. I am young at heart and all that but a little life AFTER the kids have flown the coop would be nice too.

I don't understand the sold out comment at all. What do you mean? Sold out because people other than those with IF issues comment here? (I think that's GREAT - it means a wider audience is reading, and there is different input from people aside from us bitter old IF gals ;) ). I love that 20-somethings read this blog, that 50+ people read this blog. Or are you saying selling out because Tertia said 40? T was very clear that is was her PERSONAL cut off age - read it again, she fully supports older mothers. But like me, doesn't feel she'd be up for it herself. As I said, I'm 34 and after IF and 2 kids I've had it. I'm done. But I fully support anyone of any age having children. Sometimes there is no choice, but if it IS their choice, then I'm fine with that too.

I really couldn't care less when women decide to have children. To each their own.

I know some will likely snort and roll their eyes at this, but oh well. I had my first at 24 and my second (and last) at 31. Even though 31 *IS* young, I do have to say that there was quite a difference between my energy levels then compared to now.

We are done having children for many reasons, but one biggie is I just don't want to go through it all again (sleepless nights, temper tantrums, etc). It's draining.

Apparently 31 was *my* magical age.

I've found a great deal of comfort in these replies, especially from the 40-and-over moms. I had my son at 36 and after a miscarriage a few weeks ago, and back on the wagon with 38 fast approaching.

As for a cut-off. I don't know what mine is yet. I'll let you know when I do.

As a mother of 3, I am thankful for being able to have all of them. The last two came with a fair bit of "science" involved. Having kids isn't all a romp inthe hay for every couple. My last was born last Aug when I was 40. I tend to think more about how old I will be when they are in their teens. I wouldn't want to be a 70 year old mom when they are in highschool and have all kids assume I am the gramma. Recently at my oldest's kindergarden induction, we realized that many of the parents appear to be our age or older. We are better equipped to deal with kids now than 10 years ago. We're more stable and more patient, and we probably want them much more now then we did at 25 or 30. Yes, getting pregnant and birthing is not simpler at 40, but parenting is better because of it.

For me it's less a matter of chronological age than a question of how long the parents can reasonably expect to be functioning well. As sad as it is to lose a parent at any age, I think kids are entitled to have parents who can take care of them until the child gratuates from college. What that means to any particular set of parents differs, but I don't see how someone past 70 can reasonably expect to do that. Not that it couldn't happen, but it seems uncertain enough that I wouldn't be comfortable with it -- and no, I don't have to be comfortable with someone else's choices, and I don't seek people out and offer my opinions, but Tertia asked . . .

I think the age question is just one variation of "What do parents owe their children, and how sure do they need to be that they can provide it?"

Anyway, this question is easy for me, because we're done. On the other hand, I'm 43, and all these people talking about how much easier it is when you're younger have me going, "Really? Easier?" I just don't associate the E word with parenting. Then too, I think ease is linked to what you value in your parenting: Patience? Financial security? Energy for physical activities? Hipness?

Oh, man. I think about this all the time. Had my first at 42, and am thinking about FET in the fall just as I am turning 44. And boy, am I tired, especially after several long nights with a sick baby. But maybe it's just degrees--how could a person not be tired, at whatever age? Often you can afford more when you are older, help, afterschool activities, etc. My very young parents never played sports with us, so they might as well have been 60. I do remember my mother turning cartwheels in the living room though--can't say my son will have that memory of me! I don't have a cut off point for anyone else, but for me, it's probably 46. Don't know why. Some days I think it's today. I have to admit that I do say to my younger colleagues--don't wait as long as I did! But if that's where you end up, and it works for your situation, then I say go for it. Reasons for having a child are complex at any age. At 60,or even 50, it's outside the norm, which is what makes it noteworthy, but not as important as a lot of things the news media should cover.

Honestly, yes I think you are being very hypocritical. As someone who was so hurt when people told her to stop trying, to give up after hard losses I would think you'd never judge another woman's choice.

I don't get the "selling out" comment too, or E above saying that Tertia is being hypocritical and judging another woman's choice. Tertia made it very clear that she doesn't feel there should be enforced age restrictions to reproduction. To have a personal opinion on what age is too old (whether it's for oneself or in another person's specific circumstance) IMO is not being judgmental...it's merely being human. Are we not allowed to have opinions anymore? Or are ALL opinions (since any opinion is inevitably going to disagree with someone else's) by their very nature judgmental?

If the "selling out" is in reference to Tertia's blog appealing to a wider audience, what the...? I am not infertile, my only personal experience with pregnancy loss is one miscarriage; but through So Close and other IF blogs (as well as some message boards I have frequented), I have learned tremendous amounts about IF and loss. I believe this has helped me become a more compassionate and knowledgable person. How can that be a bad thing? If I, and other "fertiles" like me, had felt alienated from this and other blogs, that might not have happened.

As for the topic of this blog entry...I do agree that the 60 year old woman and her 63 year old husband may be too old, though I don't believe in restricting her or anyone else's reproductive choices. I'm not sure just yet when my personal cut-off age is, though I believe it's coming soon. I just turned 39. (though like you, I have the luxury of having 2 children already)

To Kristin about financing 50+ IF treatment - even in the few states here in the US that have mandatory coverage, women over the age of 40 rarely qualify for coverage. For women still clinically in their child bearing years (this is assessed by age and through evaluating hormone levels), I can only say that these same women pay insurance premiums that cover maternity costs for others. In other words, if a 25 year old woman has complications that require a preemie in the NICU for 3 months - my insurance premiums cover that too. Where does one draw the line? I suffered from IF at an age when it was expected that I should have been able to get pregnant naturally. It is a medical condition when a women is pre-menopausal. I'm very sensitive to comments about others paying for me to have a baby. How many babies have my insurance dollars brought into the world? (Forgive me if this is an overreaction to your post. I'm hormonal.)
I will deliver twins within weeks of my 39th bday. But I don't know any differently. I won't be able to compare myself to the 25 year old mother I might have been. But in my mind, nothing can be as difficult as the past 3 yrs have been in trying to conceive them. I'm up for the task. So who am I to judge another?

I had my twins at 43. I would have loved to have them earlier, but it didn't happen. And my husband wasn't ready until I was 39, and then it took 4 years because of PCOS.

I think I've always had a lot of energy because I haven't seemed to have a problem that's any different from any other mothers of twins. I walk miles with them in the stroller, pick up a boy that's over 40 lbs and 40 inches tall at 2.5 years and swing him around...I do everything. I think I have always been a "slow and steady" girl when it comes to physical energy. I can't sprint but I can walk forever. It was toughest to go without sleep, but I actually do that better now than I would have younger. When I was in my 20s I needed more sleep than now. I couldn't function without at least 8 hours.

As far as the argument that I am "too old" and "but you won't be able to play with them!" Well, I play with them all the time. I take them to the playground, chase them around, etc. I don't remember my own mother, who had me at 20 years old, EVER playing with me. She was too busy trying to survive as my dad didn't make much money. She had to cook every meal, sew us clothes because there wasn't enough money to go around.

So...I think it is all completely relative and personal. I have a friend who is older than me who is about to adopt from China. I think she will be a great mom.

Now, at 46, I feel that I'm too old to have another - but my one babe was born (and conceived) when I was 42. Mostly I feel too old to chase after two - if I were having my first right now, I think I'd be fine.

Sorry, but I think the depriving a child of a parent young argument holds A LOT of water. My sister-in-laws father was 72 when he died. She was only 21. Didnt get to see her married, barely even knew her husband, wont meet her kids, etc etc. My own father just died at 54. Had he waited as long as her dad did, I would only be seven years old as opposed to 26. Horrible, horrible, horrible idea. Incidentally, my father-in-law is still having kids. His oldest is about to turn 29 and his youngest is 1 1/2. He is turning 50 soon and will also be a granddad soon. Absurd. My mother is 52, and also about to be a grandma. That is too old to have a baby. My personal cut-off age is around 45 because of fertility or marital problems that may delay conceiving/adopting.

I dont understand the sell-out comment, either. I also dont understand insurances that will pay for pregnancy, but not pay for the means to achieve it. I guess it goes in the same basket as the fact that they will not pay for hormonal birth-control*, but they will pay for an abortion.

(*Saying "They do pay for the pill!" does not count! This is 2007, not 1962.)

Back in the days when I was young and naive (and married at the ripe age of 19), my cutoff age was 30. I was going to have all 5 of my kids by 30.

Yes, laugh away- 5 kids by 30.

Then real life bitch slapped me upside the head. Divorce, 5 years of being single, remarriage, 2 years of struggling to get and stay pregnant, and here I am, at almost 29 with a 2 year old.

There will definitely not be 5 children- I'm hoping and praying for just one more. Unfortunately my body seems to be wanting to go through menopause.


My grandfather mistaken an older couple to be the grandparents of some kids at an outing. They had 2 kids who were under 7 yrs old and had graying hair and slightly hunched back. That incident stuck with me all these years for some reason, because of how horrified and hurt the parents looked with the comment. Silly as it sounds, I did not want to be in the receiving end of that myself. My grandparents had my dad when they were 28. My parents had me when they were 25.

In our culture (I'm not originally from the US), it is expected to wed and bear children before 25 or 30. People (family, friends, etc) will start asking you questions and giving you tons of "advice" and actually worry for you if you are still single and childless at 30. Old maiden they will say. Or is he gay? Or is he incapable of getting a girl, why I shall introduce him one!

Having said all that, I think my personal cutoff age is 35. At 30 and chasing after 2 kids under 4, I'm exhausted, drained, depleted. A zombie a lot of times. Being a super frugal person, we are rather financially secure for our young age. Too old in my case it is due to physical strength, but my ingrained societal beliefs also have a lot to do with it.

What do you feel about people adopting children after 40? Just curious! I sit here and see that I married late (32) and we are just now maybe becoming stable enough financially to undertake the cost of adoption. And I've only 4 years until then. I figure if I wait until my 40's then my godchildren can babysit for my kids! :-)

Who is too old to have a baby?

Well, not me, that's for sure. Especially since I already have my children. But not them! Not those other women, older than me.

I know, I know, that's not fair. The comments have been mostly thoughtful, respectful, and based on personal examination, and the post itself raises a valid question in these scientifically sophisticated days. And yet, this post - and the responses to it - have stayed in my mind for days.

As a mother - finally - at 40, when I consider those still trying in their fifties, even sixties, I can't help but think that there, but for the grace of God, go I.

I'm only 20 right now so don't plan to have kids for a while yet, but for me I would ideally be having them in my early 30s. Having said that though, I have hormonal issues/PCOS and (TMI bit here) only have around 2 periods a year so have been *told* I should not leave it too long.

My personal cut off would probably be around 40. It really would depend on how long it took to have 1 in the first place though.

This is such an interesting post!

As far as my personal cutoff time -- boy, what a difference a year in my life has made. I had my first two at 28 & 30, and then a year ago, got pregnant at 32. I was so happy, because my personal cutoff was 33, and I would be having the baby at 33.5 years.

Perfect. Right?

I miscarried at 14 weeks, got pregnant 6 weeks later, and miscarried again, and ended up in terrible health because of the second miscarriage.

Now I'm rethinking things. I would like to get pregnant soon, and be done by 35, but I have to say, if it takes me a few years to get pregnant and have a live baby, I'd consider giving it until 38 or so.

But more power to those who have a higher threshold than I do!!!! Best of luck to you all.

I'm turning 39 this weekend. I had my first two children at 23 and 25 and went through a divorce when they were 1 and 2. I always wanted a third child. I remarried at age 31 to a man six years older than me. He had had a vasectomy prior to our marriage and because of financial constraints we didn't feel we could afford having a child together until recently. We have considered having the vasectomy reserved, but I worry that even if we did we would have a difficult time conceiving. I am planning on scheduling a visit with my gynocologist and having some tests done first to see if I am still fertile before we go any further. We would have loved to have been able to start on this sooner, but life sometimes throws you in a different direction then you plan. I love my husband very much and have wanted this baby for such a long time. If I am still fertile and if his reversal is successful I'm not sure how long we would try before giving up. When I was young I always thought I would have my babies before I was 35, but as I have gotten older I have changed that to 40. Now that I am turning 39 it feels like there is a time bomb clicking off each day until I turn 40. My children are teenagers now and they both want a baby brother or sister. I definately feel like I would be better able to enjoy a baby now then I could when I was a single parent of a 1 and 2 year old working full time and going to college. As far as having older parents, my parents were an average age when I was born, however, my Dad died at 61 when I was 30. My best friends parents were quite a bit older than my parents when she was born and her parents are in their late 70's and are still going strong and she just had two babies in her late 30's. So just because your parents are in their 20's or early 30's when you are born doesn't guarantee how long they will be around for you later.

I am so relieved to know I am not alone in considering having another child in my 40's! I had 5 pregnancies in under 5 yrs. during my 20's. The second ended at nearly 5 months due to a severe allergic reaction to shellfish but less than 6 weeks post D & C I was pregnant with my second daughter. I now have a 13,14,15 and 18 yrs. old. Obviously, I was considered Hyper-fertile by my Ob/Gyn. After nearly 15 yrs. of marriage I divorced... five years post divorce I have married the most amazing man who would make a wonderful, loving father and we are hoping to have a child together. I am 41 and the doctor says I have the physical state of someone in their late 20's. It becomes very overwhelming when you read all of the statistics on conceiving naturally after the age of 40 so I am quite concerned. IT has also been 13 yrs. since my last pregnancy. I would love to think that with God's help we will not have a problem conceiving using my eggs and his sperm but odds seem against us now. Is there ANYTHING that any of you ladies could recommend to help increase our chances? We are targeting OT but hoping you may suggest some other helpful things to raise our chances.
Thanks!

I have an 11 month old and I am 43. My husband is 36. Our baby was conceived naurally. I am contemplating trying for a second. Yes I am tired some days,but the rewards of having this beautiful baby are so amazing. This was the best time for me to have a child, although I tried for 5 years. I do not think I am too old. 40s for some people may be too old, but I take care of myself and people often think I am 10 years younger. I eat healthy and exercise. It should not be how old you are, but how well you take care of yourself. Some 50 year olds are healthier than 30 year olds. In my opinion, saying that older people should not be having babies is not fair. Perhaps obese people or smokers should not be having babies, what about that? or race car drivers or mountain climbers or junk food junkies. It's all relative. Besides, God controls how long we live. Twenty year olds die too.

I am 30 with no kids as of yet. I think whenever would be fine, certainly, but have studied up and read that the chance of problems increases with age. If this is true, I would be a little concerned after 35, when I read that you are a little less likely to deliver a child that would be 100% perfect. I read that defect likelyhood increases as you get older. Just a thought- NOT a judgement so please- noone attack me- I am sick of abuse on all internet boards. Peace.....

I had my first child at the age of 42, and he is the most perfect and beautiful human being that I have ever seeing. In my opinion the cut off age is in our brain, my grand mother had 13 kids the last one at the age of 45, so what if some of us started at 45, you have to focus, in how old your kids are and keep up with them, and feel beautiful and young every time you look at them beautiful eyes.

I'm 38 and getting married to a man who has had no children of his own. I already have two sons, 18 and 20. We're talking about getting pregnant this year. I'm not so much concerned with how I'll handle a newborn at 39 but how I'll handle a teenager at 53!

well i am 39... just come out of a long relationship with a guy 12 years younger..broke it off as i feel i wanted kids and he would like at least another year to 2 to finish his studies, masters etc... i am afraid to wait that long to try... my world is crumbling.... left it too long !!! but after reading all these comments i feel confident that i am NOT tooooo old to try..... thanks....would love to hear more comments older women younger men!! does it every WORK ???

I is none of ordinary people's bussinees to decide on the age limit women can have children. I think as long as women have faith in themselves that they can make a good parent, feel ready to take the responsibilities physically and emotinally, there is nothing wrong. Some women think they are done at age 30 while some women still feel very energetic after 40 or 50. I believe, a mature woman who really wants to become a mother, feels ready for it physically and emotionally can make a better mother than a teenager who becomes a mother unintentionally or by just chance and is not ready to take the responsibilities. All women should have a right to become a parent, at least once in their life times. Some use their rights at 15 and some at 65. No problem! It is their choice. Let them make their decisions!

The Romanian woman who became a mother at age 66 is the only known woman having a child at that age and I respect her reproductive rights too, although it is not something I would do.

I'm 45 almost 46 and my partner is also 45. We have finally met each other again after 25 years and realised that we are perfect for each other and want more than anything to have a child. I have been monitoring my temperature and it all seems to be going to plan. We both own our own homes and feel that we can afford to have a child and that whilst late in life it would be a dream come true

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