Fertility and death and stuff

When I was 24 years old, I was sharing an elevator ride with a woman in her 40s. I had just met her about five minutes ago at a crafting event. She had been talking to her friends about getting pregnant. As soon as the elevator doors closed, she turned to me and asked, "You're in your twenties, right?" I said yes. "You should go ahead and freeze your eggs now, that way they will be good when you hit 40 and decide you are ready to have a child. It took my old eggs a long time to take."

I didn't know how to answer that and the silence in the elevator was deafening. (Actually, more than a decade later, I am still not sure how to answer that declaration.)

I have girlfriends who had children in the 20s and those that had children in their 30s, and they all seem happy with their lives. I don't really know any women who decided to have their first child in their 40s, but that has to be a hard decision to make - knowing that you will be 60 when your child graduates high school.

It turns out that the numbers of women who are becoming mothers after 40 are increasing, and in some cases, it is to their benefit.

Data from the Long Life Family Study indicates that women who have their last child after the age of 33, were twice as likely to celebrate their 95th birthday. Granted, correlation does not equal causation, and more research is needed, but that is a fascinating finding.

It's almost as fascinating as the latest numbers examined in the Netmums Getting Pregnant Report on the number of women becoming mothers after the age of 40. Women involved in the study indicated that they delayed their life plans by at least five years because of money concerns, careers and trying to buy a house - things that may take a bit longer than they used to because of more working opportunities or the bad economy.

Of course, the decision of if/when to have children is a deeply personal one. I, for one, am happy with the choices that I made that lead me to this point of my life now.

But what about you? Do you wish you had had children earlier or later in life? Tell me in the comments.

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