June 27, 2007

Kids or Career: Part 2, Physical Realities

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Feb. 20th 2006: “A 62-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy 6-pound, 9-ounce baby boy, becoming one of the oldest women in the world to successfully bear a child” (CBS News).

Could you imagine being 62 years old and having a child? While most would probably say no, more couples are waiting to have families until they are older, especially as the average marriage age reaches later into the 20s. 62 is out of the question, but how about 30? Unfortunately, for women, complications like miscarriages, birth defects and difficult labors are much more likely after the ages of 30 to 35. Men are not immune either, as their fertility declines gradually as they age. With older parents and loss of fertility come issues of fertility treatments, their high expenses, and the ethical issues like embryonic stem-cell research.

Okay, so what is my point? While it is not impossible to start a family in your 30s, the probability of it being difficult and expensive increases dramatically. That would indicate that if you want to start a healthy family when you are still fit and healthy yourself, your best bet is to start in your mid to late 20s. If you are a mom, that means a lot of doctors’ appointments and at least a week or two for getting through the labor part each time around. The catch is…that is when most people are trying to rise in their careers.