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Have kids? Sure ... someday

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Monday, June 11, 2007 | 0 comments

Not just careers, but complacency, delay the pregnant pause

Susan Laurent never thought she’d have trouble getting pregnant when she was ready, so she pursued her career, traveled and generally just enjoyed life.

“All along I thought I still had plenty of time,” says Laurent, 39, of Lyons, Colo., who works as a marketing vice president. “I’m healthy, active, don’t smoke, live in a great, low-stress part of the country, so I had no idea that simply waiting could possibly lead to difficulties in getting pregnant. I figured that 40 was too old for sure — with a higher risk of Down syndrome, et cetera — but I didn’t think that 36 could be too old as well.”

Like many women, Laurent had heard about Hollywood’s leading ladies such as Geena Davis and Jane Seymour, and other women, having kids well into their 40s and beyond, so she figured there was no hurry. But all the while, her biological clock was ticking away.

“I waited, but when the time came that my husband and I wanted to have kids, we were shocked to find out that we had to see a fertility specialist,” she says. “You think you’re safe in waiting, but myself and many of my friends who waited are now paying the price — emotionally and financially.”

Thanks to fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination, Laurent gave birth to her son, Conor, last summer, and she’s now trying for another child. But plenty of women who wait too long to take a “pregnant pause” from their careers — and all-around business as usual — aren’t so lucky.

Women have long been wrestling with how to balance work and family planning, and delaying having babies to build their careers or even those of their husbands. Statistics show that as more women have entered the workforce since the mid-1970s, the percentage of first births to women ages 30 and up have increased fourfold, according to the American Fertility Association (AFA), a patient and advocacy group. But fertility experts say there are some surprising other reasons why couples wait too long to try to start their families.

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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