Having children after 38? Please talk to me, does it take ages? Is it largely impossible rather than easy?

(26 Posts)
Panicked138004 Thu 14-Oct-21 13:40:24

38, newly single. Not had fertility check and can’t for the next few months as working abroad. I did have brief check many years ago and was told it looked normal for my age. Whatever that meant (wasn’t full check). I just want to know some real stories about trying after this age? Does it take ages?

I’m terrified. I want a family and feel like it’s all over.

OP’s posts: |
Ilovealido Thu 14-Oct-21 18:44:38

I think I was lucky but I conceived very easily when I was 38. I also have friends that have got pregnant without any issues at 40 & 42. It depends on so many factors. There are so many mums in their 40’s in London. All is not lost! It’s good to be aware of these things & not be complacent about fertility but you could still have a family so try not to panic.

hotmeatymilk Thu 14-Oct-21 18:48:24

It was fairly easy for me at 38, the main difficulty was getting lazy old DP to find the sexual energy. Most friends reported the same: 3-6 months to conceive, time taken largely due to less sex than in their 20s. Most of us miscarried first time round but that’s all anecdotal.

Cuddlywaterfall Thu 14-Oct-21 18:54:51

I got pregnant at 37, 39, and 40 (middle one was a MC). Only took a few months for each. It only takes one egg!!

FrangipanFlower Thu 14-Oct-21 19:00:48

It totally depends on the individual. First baby at 34, three miscarriages later and I’m pregnant with my second at almost 41. It’s been incredibly hard for me despite there being nothing wrong with me medically (had all sorts of tests done and AMH (no of eggs) was above average for my egg. Sadly at this age our egg quality is low, so for me the only thing I did differently was take the supplement CoQ10.

Frazzled2207 Thu 14-Oct-21 19:03:20

I conceived very easily at 37. Literally dtd once! Despite it taking two years for my previous child. Know a lot of people who conceived without any issues at far older.

TillyDevon Thu 14-Oct-21 19:09:23

I would try not to overthink it or put too much emotion in if you can for your own wellbeing as you may well be absolutely fine, just take a step at a time.
I took 4 years to get pregnant at both 24 and 29 , then aged 42 had one careless night with DH when I thought it was a low risk time in my cycle. I’m now 13 weeks pregnant with an extremely surprise baby and luckily both thrilled now I’ve got my head round it. It feels like a miracle baby somehow though still feels very surreal and I’m still scared of telling anyone!

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anthurium Thu 14-Oct-21 19:32:04

Hi op,

I'd advise you to try and do the fertility checks - is it not possible to find a fertility clinic where you are, I'd imagine the checks are standard?

I was 38 and single when I began on this journey ...I'd had my fertility checks and they were good for my age (AMH and my ovarian reserve) apart from one of my fallopian tubes being blocked (unbeknownst to me before). I proceeded to have IUI last year (and was told IUI success rate is less than 20%) with a sperm donor and it was unsuccessful.

I was quite distressed and had a break for 6 months, really not knowing how to proceed.

In February this year, and with a change in employment, I'd contacted the same clinic and booked myself in for an IVF consultation, whichever was recommended to me in the first place. I felt I had nothing to lose and was feeling really distressed about my life in general (not what I'd imagined my life would look like). I followed the suggested protocol, I was a good responder for the IVF medication and had a good egg collection result. Then during the fertilisation process, I managed to get several high grade embryos, I transferred one top quality embryo and was successful on the first go. Odds of success for IVF are less than 25% so I know that I've been extremely lucky, and am now 31 weeks pregnant (so far, I haven't had any complications).

I think the combination of my genetics, donor sperm of excellent quality and luck is what has worked. I didn't do anything else (other than take folic acid and vit D).

Are you considering solo parenting? Or are you hoping to meet someone and try to have a family the conventional way?

I've often spoken about dating in late 30s (I'm not sure if you're considering that?) ...what I do know is that for me, I just couldn't do it anymore, the rejections/the despair/the disappointment/the rinse and repeat cycle of hope then disappointment of yet another date going nowhere. I was miserable/distraught and that period between the ages of 37-38/39 were the most anxiety ridden in my life. I really thought if I don't do something it'll never happen... And with the pandemic and everything, I didn't want to leave it up to this nebulous, fantasy partner.

I feel relieved... The pressure is off....and if I'm ready to date again I have a feeling I'll be a completely different person...

IndecentCakes Thu 14-Oct-21 19:35:00

I became pregnant twice at 38, first try was a MC, next try was healthy boy.

PumpkinsandTea Thu 14-Oct-21 19:38:14

Can I just give my opinion as the child of a mother who was 39 & a father who was 45? Honestly, there were so many downsides. My parents were already slowing down & becoming 'tired' before we came along. They were far too knackered to run around with us and play with us properly and I remember all my school friends thinking they were my grandparents! The age difference between us was just far, far too vast. We couldn't bond over anything, they understood nothing at all about us & our interests and vice versa.
Obviously I know it won't be like that for everyone. I'm sure there's some people out there who were raised by much older parents and were ten times happier. I'm just sharing my experience.
Of course there was the bonus of all my Mum & Dad's fascinating stories from his travels during his career as an 'old school' travel agent (back when they used to go visit each resort etc).
Naturally this also meant that I ended up losing my Dad in my early twenties and I can't help but use the almost simplistic logic that had I been born earlier, I'd have a had a Dad longer! 🤷🏼‍♀️

I'm now almost 39 myself and desperately want a second child. However after my own experience having older parents, I certainly won't be having another and risking bereaving my kids whilst they're still young.

MrsWooster Thu 14-Oct-21 19:38:49

Started trying at 42, took 4 months and dc1 born at 43. Dc2 also 4 months, born at 46. I know I’m absurdly lucky but it shows it can be-pure luck and you have as good a chance as anyone.

anthurium Thu 14-Oct-21 19:39:17

* I can see that most posters other than me are in a relationship, so obviously that changes things in terms of frequency of DTD/chances of success. I'm not sure if you're aware Op but in England on the NHS there is no financial help for single women so everything is done privately, meaning costs are eye-watering - another stressor on top of the unpredictability of the conceiving/staying pregnant process.

Gertie75 Thu 14-Oct-21 19:47:09

Had dd1 aged 38 after ttc for 3 years then dd2 aged 40 after trying once.

anthurium Thu 14-Oct-21 19:49:10

PumpkinsandTea

Can I just give my opinion as the child of a mother who was 39 & a father who was 45? Honestly, there were so many downsides. My parents were already slowing down & becoming 'tired' before we came along. They were far too knackered to run around with us and play with us properly and I remember all my school friends thinking they were my grandparents! The age difference between us was just far, far too vast. We couldn't bond over anything, they understood nothing at all about us & our interests and vice versa.
Obviously I know it won't be like that for everyone. I'm sure there's some people out there who were raised by much older parents and were ten times happier. I'm just sharing my experience.
Of course there was the bonus of all my Mum & Dad's fascinating stories from his travels during his career as an 'old school' travel agent (back when they used to go visit each resort etc).
Naturally this also meant that I ended up losing my Dad in my early twenties and I can't help but use the almost simplistic logic that had I been born earlier, I'd have a had a Dad longer! 🤷🏼‍♀️

I'm now almost 39 myself and desperately want a second child. However after my own experience having older parents, I certainly won't be having another and risking bereaving my kids whilst they're still young.

@PumpkinsandTea

I totally appreciate your comment, and I agree when you're older you simply less have less time left in your life (therefore less time with your child/children).

I wish I'd done solo parenting when in my early 30s instead of wasting it in the wrong relationship... and then I needed time to secure housing/get better paid job...all of this took up extra years while still hoping that I might meet someone in the 11th hour...before I turned around, I was 38/39...

This is my only chance of a family ...of meaning/connection/and all the other things other people want. I don't have much family/no partner. I didn't and couldn't justify it to myself that on the grounds of being almost 40 I shouldn't pursue it. Maybe that's seen as selfish but I really didn't find my life in the last 10 years satisfying/rich/meaningful enough, and I wanted/want to experience being pregnant/birth/raising my own child ..to be a parent...

KurtWilde Thu 14-Oct-21 19:52:40

Conceived just as easily at 38 as I did at 19 🤷🏻‍♀️

TheFormidableMrsC Thu 14-Oct-21 19:57:06

Conceived very easily at 41. Baby born when I was 42. Easy pregnancy and birth.

randomthings Thu 14-Oct-21 19:57:49

PumpkinsandTea

Can I just give my opinion as the child of a mother who was 39 & a father who was 45? Honestly, there were so many downsides. My parents were already slowing down & becoming 'tired' before we came along. They were far too knackered to run around with us and play with us properly and I remember all my school friends thinking they were my grandparents! The age difference between us was just far, far too vast. We couldn't bond over anything, they understood nothing at all about us & our interests and vice versa.
Obviously I know it won't be like that for everyone. I'm sure there's some people out there who were raised by much older parents and were ten times happier. I'm just sharing my experience.
Of course there was the bonus of all my Mum & Dad's fascinating stories from his travels during his career as an 'old school' travel agent (back when they used to go visit each resort etc).
Naturally this also meant that I ended up losing my Dad in my early twenties and I can't help but use the almost simplistic logic that had I been born earlier, I'd have a had a Dad longer! 🤷🏼‍♀️

I'm now almost 39 myself and desperately want a second child. However after my own experience having older parents, I certainly won't be having another and risking bereaving my kids whilst they're still young.

Were your parents really unfit? I was 40 and 43 with mine, my H three years older than me. Our kids are now 6 and 9 and I run, and do active sports and weights and my H cycles 30 miles a day in his commute, runs, does weights and plays active sports. We can definitely run around after the kids (though the eldest is faster than me grin. IT wise they will outstrip me soon but I don't see why I wouldn't 'get' their other interests (many of which so far are similar to mine and their dads).

Siriisatwat Thu 14-Oct-21 19:59:13

@PumpkinsandTea I get where you are coming from. My dad was 46 when I was born. So I’m now 41 and dealing with an 87 year old dad with dementia.

On the other hand, my mum was 29. She died of cancer when I was 11, when she was aged just 40.

So age is no guarantee. I had my first at 22, second at 34 and my last at 40 (and OP, convinced first time with them all, age made no difference to me).

Cma1988 Thu 14-Oct-21 20:03:22

PumpkinsandTea

Can I just give my opinion as the child of a mother who was 39 & a father who was 45? Honestly, there were so many downsides. My parents were already slowing down & becoming 'tired' before we came along. They were far too knackered to run around with us and play with us properly and I remember all my school friends thinking they were my grandparents! The age difference between us was just far, far too vast. We couldn't bond over anything, they understood nothing at all about us & our interests and vice versa.
Obviously I know it won't be like that for everyone. I'm sure there's some people out there who were raised by much older parents and were ten times happier. I'm just sharing my experience.
Of course there was the bonus of all my Mum & Dad's fascinating stories from his travels during his career as an 'old school' travel agent (back when they used to go visit each resort etc).
Naturally this also meant that I ended up losing my Dad in my early twenties and I can't help but use the almost simplistic logic that had I been born earlier, I'd have a had a Dad longer! 🤷🏼‍♀️

I'm now almost 39 myself and desperately want a second child. However after my own experience having older parents, I certainly won't be having another and risking bereaving my kids whilst they're still young.

Can I just give my opinion as the child of a mother who was very nearly 38 when I was born and a father who was 43? Honestly there were/ are so many upsides. smile

My parents were fantastic parents to me - I have older siblings who were teenagers when I was born (I was a bit of a surprise) and my sisters often say that I had a better childhood than them and that mum and dad were better parents with me than them. They were more confident and wiser - didn’t make the same mistakes as with my sisters - for example - I was never ever smacked, rarely even shouted at, but my parents admit they used to smack my sisters because at the time they didn’t know what else to do. They were more financially stable so we were able to have good holidays and they were a lot more emotionally available too. All this talk about not having the energy? I’ve got plenty memories of my dad running around after me - we often went rock climbing, cycling, swimming, all sorts, with my dad as he was always very active despite being an older dad. Less so with my mum, but my sisters recall that she wasn’t very active even as a young mum in her 20s.
@PumpkinsandTea I’m sorry you lost your Dad in your early 20s. I really am sorry to hear that. But I don’t think that’s ‘natural’ at all. I am thinking he would have only been touching 70? That’s still too young to go in my opinion. My Parents are now 70 and 75 and still active and able to do everything they used to do - they are even still fostering a teenager (they’ve been fostering for 20 years) and before my dad having covid earlier this year he was cycling 10 miles every week. They look after their grandchildren and live very independent lives that I would hope to have them around for at least a few years longer. I’m now 32.

Obviously I know everyone’s experience is different, but I just wanted to give my experience as being a child of older parents, but having a really positive experience. I’m grateful and happy to have parents at all. I don’t believe that I have missed out or had a bad deal in any way. And my own mother lost her mother when she was just 21 and her mother was sadly only 44, so even young parents may still even tragically go before their time.

Dozer Thu 14-Oct-21 20:13:00

On MN you will get anecdotes aplenty, which can be great, but when taking hard decisions about life, data is important. And on fertility matters is available.

A previous poster outlined some of the stats that she weighed up when deciding to go it alone.At 38 if had no DC and was single I would have seriously considered doing that, financial circumstances allowing.

anthurium Thu 14-Oct-21 20:17:16

Thank you for acknowledging some of the points I've made @Dozer

ChocolateRiver Thu 14-Oct-21 21:01:51

My mum got pregnant by accident at 40 so I don’t think all is lost you’ve got time.

TillyDevon Thu 14-Oct-21 21:19:37

* Cma1988* thank you for sharing that lovely post and some positives too. I’m so glad for you and also because i have had a lot of wobbles accepting a surprise pregnancy at my age (42) and with such settled, happy much older dc. We just hadn’t planned for it . But despite my initial shock I just couldn’t bring myself to make any other choice than put our best foot forwards and hopefully age won’t affect a childhood filled with huge amounts of love- to be honest our dc get a ton of exercise even without DH and I, though we do do outdoors stuff as a family too.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Thu 14-Oct-21 21:19:49

My dd had hers at 38, 39, and nearly 43. I dare say she was lucky, but she had no trouble conceiving.
Several of her friends have been much the same. One had her 2nd at 45.

TillyDevon Thu 14-Oct-21 21:20:58

One of my best friends had twins at 39. She’d sadly miscarried twins the year before too.

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