The New Way To Have It All: First Baby, Then Love

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working mom and baby at a computer
Women fighting fertility timeouts are redefining what it means to "have it all."

 What advice would you give to a woman who's 35 and single but knows that she wants to have kids?

Most important: check your fertility cycle. Our bodies are very individual. And it's not like there's this law that says you hit age 35 and suddenly your fertility falls off a cliff. Many women's fertility starts to fall off then. But many women stay fertile until they're 42.

There are a lot of tests now that check your fertility. One is a blood test called the FSH test, which measures a hormone in your body called the follicle-stimulating hormone on a scale of 1 to 12, which will give you an idea of how fertile you are. The test isn't fail-proof, but it will give you an idea.

There are new tests coming down the line that will check additional hormones. For example, Dr. John Zhang at the New Hope Fertility Center does something called an Antral Follicle Count & Sonogram. He takes an ultrasound picture of your ovaries to reveal how many follicles you have left and give you a baseline on your fertility. This gives women a sense of timing.

If you find out that your fertility is falling off a cliff and you are 35 and single, there are many choices for women today. Some women are just putting the cart before the horse and having the baby on their own—hoping that the right man will come along afterwards. A lot of women are choosing to have their eggs frozen, even though the technology is still considered experimental. As more women do it we'll learn more about about it and at some point it won't be considered experimental. Egg-freezing could become a technology that's almost as important as the birth control pill. And then a lot of women are just plunging into the dating scene and working really hard to find Mr. Right. If that feels natural to you, do it.

Explain the concept of the instant family.

The instant family means that you meet, marry and have a kid within two years. I coined the term to describe the narrowed window of courtship and time it takes to make a family when you're older than the "traditional" marrying age. Say you meet the guy or girl of your dreams when you're 37. You're probably going to know yourselves a lot better and therefore you might be able to make these decisions a lot quicker. Getting married later means your fertility might be more at risk so you think to yourself, as a couple, "If we get married we may as well move forward and have the kid." This is happening often now. But of course there are also some downsides to it—there are a lot of instant divorces and people who rush into marriage and kids for the wrong reasons.

Is it difficult to find love when you're also concerned about having children? Are men more afraid of commitment if there's talk of babies too soon in a relationship?

I've heard that cliché story—you bring up wanting to have kids on the first or second date and the guy runs out the door while you're in the bathroom. A lot of men really want to have kids, too. I've had men say to me on the first or second date, "I want to get married and have kids." I took it as a good sign because it meant that they were serious.

But there's nothing worse than a panicked person sitting in front of you. I've talked to my really close guy friends about this, and they sit there and wonder, "Do you want me, or do you just want a baby out of me?" So if you really want a baby, just have a baby! And maybe that will free you up to have real love.

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