Is it okay to have a child later in life?
What the neighbourhood aunties don’t want you to know!
If being unmarried past the age of 30 wasn’t stigmatised enough, choosing to not have a child right away can invoke the wrath of the baby watch. Indeed, the second you cross the threshold of 30, it is like a silent countdown has been placed on your head—counting down the window of your perceived fertility period like a ticking timebomb. While society would have you believe that having a child in your 20s is optimal, the truth is that there are benefits to having a child later in life as well. We looked to Dr Tanushree Pandey Padgaonkar (@gynae_guru) to shed light on the same, and here’s what we learned.
If you’re considering having a baby in your 30s, read this
We get it, choosing to have a child in your mid- or late-30s may not be a widely supported choice, but there are benefits to the decision as well. So, where does the fear-mongering stem from against late conceptions? Dr Padgaonkar concedes, “The probability of having a child increasingly decreases with age—it falls after 30 years, and significantly decreases after 35 years. As we grow older our energy levels drop low, health problems increase as well.” However, all isn’t lost yet. She adds, “What I have observed with my patients is that maturity and financial stability are significantly better once we reach our 30s as we are more aware of what we really want. We also tend to be more secure in our careers and our relationships, and on the whole, I would always advise women to have a child when they are actually ready for one.”
Misconceptions about having a child in your 30s
1. “You are a bad person if you don’t want to have children.”
2. “Your marriage is going through a rough phase.”
3. “You can not have a biological child.”
4. “Aided methods like IVF are bad.”
These are just a handful of misconceptions that Dr Padgaonkar has observed being directed at women who choose to have a child later in their lives. “However, among my female patients, I have found that 70% of the women are better prepared to take on parenthood and all the emotional and physical responsibilities that come with it,” she says.
Planning to have a child later in your life? This is the fertility plan to follow
If children are not a priority right away for you, but you’d like to have one at some point in your life, it is helpful to know your options. R Padgaonkar advises, “If a couple is under 30 years, they can try naturally for a year, assuming they are aware of their fertile window, have regular periods and no other health issues. If a woman is above 35 years of age, has irregular periods and other health issues like obesity, thyroid disorder or diabetes, she should seek counsel from an infertility specialist after 6 months of trying naturally.”
So, what should you expect? The doctor will run you and your partner through a couple of tests, decipher where the problem is and start a treatment plan accordingly. She adds, “We start you on ovulation induction with medicines, and if that doesn’t work, we try injections and intrauterine insemination and IVF. However, all this varies greatly from patient to patient and it is ideal to seek guidance from an experienced professional once you feel mentally and emotionally ready to have a child,” she concludes.