A small study just came out that did in-depth interviews with 46 couples and 15 women and men who used in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive their first child. In all cases the woman was at least 40 at the time she gave birth, and the group as a whole was more affluent than average. The researchers asked them all about the advantages and disadvantages of giving birth later.
Most of the people they interviewed found that having a baby later in life was advantageous; the benefits included financial security (because they were more established in their careers, and also tended to have more flexibility with their time at work, they said); being more emotionally prepared for parenthood than they would have been if they’d conceived when they were younger; and being in a “committed co-parenting relationship.”
The main “con” wasn’t too surprising: They hadn’t expected how hard it would be to conceive, which naturally resulted in having a smaller family than some of the respondents wanted. The later-in-life IVF parents also said they had less energy for parenting, regretted having fewer years of life left to spend with their kids, and expected to feel stigmatized as older parents.
The parents said that the optimal time to have their first child would have been five to 10 years earlier than when they actually got pregnant. The study appeared in the journal Human Reproduction.
What do you the think the pros and cons of later-in-life conception and parenting might be?