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The Question Of Family-building

I am not one to tell anyone what to do. I do not think I possess greater knowledge than anybody else, but there is one sexless marriage - related consequence I feel so strongly about that I now part with my pattern of only blogging to friends, and not posting public stories.  ....

So here we go....

This story is directed at ladies and is more an admonition than a story, since my story is already out there.  

You may or may not know this, but as a woman gets older, she has fewer and fewer viable eggs, ones that would result in a successful pregnancy.  By the time you are 40 it becomes much more difficult to conceive and many fertility clinics refuse to do IVF with women over 45. 
Look, if you are in a sexless marriage and are under 40 and think there is the possibility that you will want children (you do not even have to be totally decided on the issue, but just want the option) -

 1) get out!!!  particularly if your husband states that he does not want children or even probably does not want any.  Move on Sister, before your fertile years are over.  Trust me, you do not have time for this.  Depending on your age you might even have time to meet a more amenable partner with whom you can create children the natural way.

2) stay only if he is willing to use artificial means of conception and you still love him and are sure your marital situation is tolerable, for whatever reason. 

If you are younger than 35, take the first option.  Please.

My husband and I conceived a child via IVF when I was 41.  He told me that because he had a child from his first marriage, he did not see the need for another and I told him, "Okay, but if you really do not want to have another child then I must leave you, and go back to America, where I will live with my parents and choose artificial insemination.  Having a child is that important to me."  (I had discussed this with my parents first so they were well aware of the issues with my husband and our sexless marriage).

So he cooperated, we have this wonderful little girl that H loves as much as I do.  Neither of us has regrets about her.  And the fulfillment, the love, the intense bond I have with her, is the most important thing in my life.

Most who have children will tell you the same (not everyone, I realize this, but the majority).

Do not sacrifice something as important as a family on the altar of the trivial psychological issues of your refusing husband.  That you will regret forever.

If any of you have questions about aging, fertility, and what our options are, I know enough to fill a book, so feel free to PM me about it.
EinEngel EinEngel 46-50, F 11 Responses Jul 14, 2012

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Wow.. IVF.. I used to be a product manager (marketing) for a line of IVF products which included the aspiration needles, transfer catheters, etc. and the biopharma products that are used to grown the fertilized eggs (in a petrie dish if you will).. Its an amazing thing..<br />
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But what I wanted to add.. and was just coming to availability when I was in the field is the "cryo preservation" of embryos. This means that a woman can have some of her eggs frozen for later use. Then when she decides, the mans ***** is combined with the eggs outside the body for fertilization and then placed inside the womans uterus to grow to term.<br />
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Just another option.. woman can have the eggs removed an frozen when she is younger.. and the "man" can be decided latter! :-)

Yes, it is amazing. Here in Germany, it seems that the idea of egg freezing is not popular yet and one of the doctors here said they still have issues that the freezing process damages the eggs. However, in the States, the process of vitrification is more widely used, and is a much safer method of freezing. If it were available 10 years ago, I for sure would have done it!

I so wish I'd read this, or come to this conclusion on my own when I was younger. The regret of not leaving earlier is mostly, for me, about children. I know it won't happen for me now, and the heartache is pretty heavy-duty in that respect.

I know, I know...I keep coming back to this post...

Oh Honey, there are two ways to look at it, if you will humor me...My fellow EPers are gonna rail on me for this unsolicited advice, but here we go.

First one is- just do it. You had mentioned that money might be a factor, so you could always go the cheaper route, of having a hell of a lot of boyfriends (you are still attractive MsDG!), and see if you do not get knocked up. I should tell you that my ob/gyn has a 50-year-old patient that got pregnant the natural way and had a healthy baby boy last year. If it does not work, you will at least have fun trying. Use ovulation predictor kits and find your fertile days - then go for it! Or for just a little bit of money you can inseminate yourself with a chosen donor. Keep a supply on ice and visit your ob/gyn for regular inseminations (this is more effective because they have a device to bypass the cervix, which is tough to do on your own). I also have to stress that if you do get pregnant, once the child is there, your freedom will be very limited. So then the second option.

Second- Forget about it and live life doing everything you like. Meditation, yoga, therapy, getting really really fit, and find some grants to go back to school, since you mentioned that might interest you. There are a lot of options for women wanting to re-train in specific fields.

If I were there, I would give you a big hug and take you out for a margarita, with salt on the rim.

By the end of the day, I worked with the cards I had considering that I was already 40. But this is what I do. The approach of others may be different, but I am usually one who works 'around' issues, because I try to avoid unnecessary chaos in my life.

I have known plenty of people who gave up the chance to have children because they fell totally in love with someone who didn't want them.<br />
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100% have lingering issues related to it and most relationships have ended.<br />
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Like anything else, we need to be on the same page with our big dreams, desires and needs. When I was looking for a spouse, I wouldn't consider anyone who didn't want children because it was one of my "big ones". I picked an amazing dad...unfortunately, he wasn't an amazing husband on the intimacy front. I have no regrets though. He's been an amazing dad, and my children have benefitted from his participation in their lives. <br />
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But if I had it to do over agin, I would have waited a little longer to find someone who was not just one or the other but both - I was 30 when I married, and there was still plenty of time though I felt the biological clock ticking.

Great post - if I did not have my child I would have gone years ago - because like you becoming a mother was very important to me. Sadly, like you, I think I can stick out almost any miserable situation...including what is currently a very unhappy marriage. Am still in shock that I fell pregnant considering we were down to having sex around once every two or three months at that point.

You know, Anastasia, I think another factor that folks like you and me stick with it, is that we both are chaos-averse. When I think of what divorce would be like, the financial side of it, the impact on my child, the explanations to family and friends, the choices I would have to make by myself, and growing old alone, uuuugh....I really do not want to go there. It all just looks like chaos to me. And I have a really low tolerance for it. I bet you do too.

Hmmm...not sure i'm chaos averse per se. The impact on my child is foremost in my mind. the financial side is a problem at the moment but you know, money comes and goes, i wouldn't let that put me off. I couldn't give a rat's a$$ what family and friends thought and i'm not afraid of growing old alone...I wouldn't, i'm sure i'd find someone else - I don't mean that in a cocky way although there is no way to say that without sounding cocky, but i'm sure i'd find someone else. For me it really is all about our child. And I cannot go until I know she will cope, understand and know 100% in her heart that it is emphatically not about her. Sadly she has some special needs so I cannot ever know if/when she will be ready for this. So I wait...

You know what I also have noticed? That the childless couples I know in completely normal marriages are not too bothered by the lack of children. They find their marriages and partnerships pretty fulfilling. So in other words, being in a sexless marriage compounds feelings of loss, about anything, really. Being in a healthy marriage mitigates feelings of loss.....just my speculation.

My stupid refuser husband wanted to get fertility treatment, but I refused. I told him point blank we just weren't having enough sex. He didn't or chose not to believe me.<br />
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Eventually we did have a child. But I think we've had sex less than 15 times since my son was born.

The only advantage I could think of with artificial way is, they will freeze his ***** in the event you want a second child. Or if you opt for IVF, they will freeze any leftover embryos so you can have a second child if you like and if the embryos are viable of course.

at one time I would have been up for that....but he seriously messed with my head - first he didn't want any more kids - then he when I was desperate to resume sex but had jacked in my public sector job and want to start a business he says he won't have sex again unless I'm not taking any preventative measures. What a ***** (asterisks my own because I couldn't think of anything suitably descriptive.

I can think of a few...

I think that it is highly likely, that my lineage will cease at my kids generation.<br />
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I don't see my lineage continuing, bar by chance. <br />
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And, if facts are to be faced, it does not matter a real lot - except to me.<br />
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And me, in the grander scheme of things, is not a hugely important thing.<br />
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Tread your own path.

It matters to me as well, Baz. My own family tree will end with me. Neither my brother nor I had children. It hits me sometimes...the end of the family. Being the youngest by far, I will probably not have any family around in my later years...it's a lonely path I chose. No one will ever research the genealogy in years to come. It makes me sad.

I have friends who have not had children, and did not want children, and frankly, they do not miss it because they have no idea what it is like, and it is impossible to describe that kind of thing to them anyway, so it is just as well. It is not about the lineage thing, at least not for me. The way you feel about your child is a bit like being in love, but that description does not do the feeling justice because it is so much more intense than that. It is hard work, but the joy....well, no words can adequately describe the experience so I will leave it there.

For me it just adds another layer to the regret.

Oh Honey, big hugs... But listen, because of the struggle with H and all the infertility treatments, I can tell you I was prepared for the alternative, and that is that I would be childless. If that were to have been the outcome, I would have left my husband at age 42, put everything into work and the family and friends that I had - my parents, my brother and his family, my awesome girlfriends in the States that are single and childless as well, traveled to places that I always wanted to see like Cuba and Greece, gone back to school for my law degree or Ph.D, I had quite a list! Also I went to therapy, which helped me to cope a great deal.

and also know, that the disadvantage of having a child is that certain doors are closed to you afterward as well. Those things that I mentioned above? Not do-able now, and possibly never.

2 More Responses

I gave up children for him...the biggest mistake of my entire life, and I've made my share.<br />
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Nothing on the scale of regret even comes close to not having a child. <br />
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If anyone else can learn from this post or my mistake, then at least something has come of my sacrifice.

MsGoode, not to give you false hope, but if you think you still want one, yes, even at our age, get thee to an endocrinologist. Have your hormonal levels of FSH and AMH taken. This will tell you a lot about your ovarian reserve and you can evaluate your options from there.

I should also add that I am the kind of person who sticks things out, even when the situation is miserable. The fact that I would end a marriage over the children issue should tell you something.

In fact, that issue is so important I would have even ended a normal marriage over it!!!!!!

I left the marriage at 32. 18 months later I am trying to sort this out. I am at this very instant seriously considering and researching my options. As in, I have sites open in other tabs in my browser where I am doing research at this very moment. I feel like my options are to wait and see if the timing lines up for the right relationship and then children... or take my life into my own hands and go for what I want.<br />
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Then I get to the "what if something happens to me?" If I am a single parent there's no father to automatically take custody of and care for my children if the worst happens. The financial aspects are solely and completely on me. The day care/nanny costs and details to work out are solely and completely on me. I don't know yet. Just a lot still to think about. Getting out of the marriage doesn't solve the problem, in some ways it opens up new avenues but also new questions and brings up other concerns.

Oh Honey, you got a few years to find a like-minded man. I know you are busy, but put some effort into the search. Believe it or not, there are also men out there who want the same. And if it does not happen, then you have also had a few years to figure out what to do in the event that you need to "knock yourself up" and are a single mom. In my case, I had agreed up front that my parents would help me with the baby if I had gone the artificial insemination route and needed some time to get on my feet, so yes, a network, family or close friends, is important.