By Dr. Chong Kuoh Ren
Getting married is one of the biggest commitments you will make in a lifetime. After the flurry of the wedding has died down and you have settled into a new routine, the realities of married life will begin unveiling themselves. One of them will surely be about having children.
While having children will spell further commitments in terms of time, finances and energy, the pitter-patter of little feet can be a great source of joy. Watching your little one grow and teaching him or her about life is also an enriching process for you as a couple and you child.
Some couples may feel they are not prepared to have children, preferring to enjoy a prolonged honeymoon until later when they are ready financially and emotionally. The question is, how ready is ready?
Until you get a promotion? Finish furthering your education? Buy your own house? Finish your car installments? Or until you feel you can cope with the responsibilities of caring for another life apart from your own?
It is a false notion that a couple needs RM1 million in the bank before having children. While it is not wrong to be prepared before you begin a new (and lifelong!) journey of parenthood, waiting too long may not be advisable.
- Having a baby and bringing up a child together will create an inseparable bond with your spouse. This will invariably strengthen your marriage.
- The older you are, the less healthy your eggs and sperm become. Women in particular should start a family before the age of 35 while she still has decent ovarian reserves.
- Eggs and sperm quality is less optimum as you age. The risks of miscarriages, stillbirths or birth abnormalities also increase from 30 years of age.
- It is easy to lose track of time; and one year of ‘taking it easy’ may become five or ten years before you realise it.
Without the use of family planning methods, a healthy couple should conceive naturally within one year of unprotected intercourse. When that does not happen, it would be advisable to check the reproductive systems of both spouses to find out what is wrong.
Even if you are not ready to conceive, women (at any age) may want to get a gynaecologist or fertility doctor to check their ‘fertility health’ , i.e. any structural problems of the womb (fibroids, polyps), tubes (blockage) and ovaries (cysts) and ovarian reserves (number of eggs left). Early identification of potential problems means steps can be taken to plan your future pregnancy timetable.
Note: Dr. Chong Kuoh Ren is an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist at the TMC Women’s Specialist & Fertility Centre Puchong (http://www.tmcfertility.com). For more enquiries or to schedule an appointment, please call: +60 3 6287 1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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