Having babies is culturally associated with youth, despite the fact most humans can barely take care of themselves until they reach their mid-30s. It’s a catch-22 which can be applied to virtually every facet of life: “Youth is wasted on the young” pretty much sums it up.
Many older couples are troubled by the scientific evidence showing higher risks of complications and disorders linked to pregnancy past age 40. The chances of a baby being born with Down Syndrome, for example, increase for women ages 35 and older. However, these perceived risks are not enough to deter thousands of older couples who go on to give birth to perfectly healthy babies. It’s a decision left to the prospective parents.
It’s worth noting there are several alternatives to traditional pregnancy which older couples can seek in order to become parents. One is surrogacy. This option is available for couples worldwide. The most reputable centers in the world, such as Surrogate Alternatives, a surrogacy agency San Diego readers might be familiar with, work readily and willfully with couples from all over the country. This allows for prospective parents to seek the best surrogate options regardless of where they live.
There are of course more familiar options, such as adoption and foster parenting. However, the current system in place for ensuring children find good homes has the unintended consequence of making it incredibly difficult for even the most responsible and dedicated couples to become parents. Again, we can’t argue against the need for scrutiny, but considering such scrutiny isn’t applied to couples having kids through traditional pregnancy (leading to the need for adoptions in the first place) it can be particularly discouraging for prospective parents to go down this route.
Okay, so you know the options for older couples desiring to start a family. Now we ought to consider whether or not this desire exists for the right reasons:
Many older, childless couples experience a regret of not starting a family of their own. This in and of itself is absolutely no reason to go forward with traditional pregnancy, surrogacy, or adoption. Emotions like regret pass in time; meanwhile, there are probably set in stone reasons why two older married or otherwise united people never got around to having kids. If the urge to have children comes around late in life – give it three months. If you still feel the same way, consider going forward.
Are you in a comfortable financial situation? If so, it’s a good indicator of your ability to start a happy and fulfilled family, but doesn’t mean the topic is sewed up. It’s critical to crunch the numbers to make sure your household can weather the hurricane of expenses inevitable brought by the addition of a baby under the roof.
How is health? Getting older is not inherently proof of someone being worse off health wise than someone younger, but age clearly influences the body. Add in decades worth of decisions regarding diet and exercise, and the result is millions of older men and women with health problems. Babies are a lot of work in more ways than one. Things pick up speed as they get older, and parents have to be able to keep up. If health is bad now, consider getting into modest shape before committing to later life parenthood.
Being a parent later in life is a beautiful thing. But it’s a little easier said than done. Deciding the path to becoming a parent, as well as analyzing your own motivations and abilities is key. Raising a family is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have, as long as they do it for the right reasons.