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Karen Zakarian and her son

Have the critics of “delayed” motherhood ever taken into account how the cost of infertility treatments impacts maternal age?

There’s common talk of the procreational sacrilege of women putting their careers before motherhood, or basking in blind ignorance regarding their peak fertility years until it’s too late.

But what about women who are simply the price-tag casualties of a high-end healthcare system?

When Karen Zakarian met her husband at the age of 23, she hardly imagined she’d by trying for their second child at the age of 48.

“The only reason we waited this long was because of finances,” she says.

Zakarian—a former mammographer, now married for 23 years—and her husband, David, had initially set out on the first five years of their marital journey just enjoying being a couple.

“It never occurred to us that we would ever have any fertility issues,” says Zakarian from her California home.

“When we decided to ‘go for it’ and get pregnant, we had high hopes it would happen in the first month.”

However, by the time she was 32, Zakarian had yet to conceive and their doctor suspected she may be having an “ovulation issue.”  After a battery of tests that took six months, she began a course of Clomid to stimulate egg production, followed by a series of 11 unsuccessful IUI’s.

From there, the Zakarians were referred to a reproductive endocrinologist—“This is when our IVF journey began,” she says.

After 3 unsuccessful cycles of IVF, Karen Zakarian was 38 and had run out of money.  And it’s no surprise—the average cost of an IVF treatment is estimated to be between $10,000 and $15,000.

The Zakarians were forced to “take some time off and do some creative budgeting” in order to save up for further treatments.

It wasn’t until she was 40 years old, that they were able to resume treatments, this time using donor eggs. At last, Zakarian conceived successfully and carried her baby to term.

“I must say that the day we found out I was pregnant was one of the most profound in my life,” she admits.

“Nine months later, I delivered my perfect son via cesarean—I had just turned 41!”

According to Zakarian, who insists that the price tag of IVF and donor egg treatments has forced them to delay trying for a second child: “Now that I’m 48, I feel like age is what it is and does not keep me from wanting another child.”

“I’m doing what’s right for me and this is what is important,” she adds, “now that we are financially secure, emotionally secure, and ready to go again!”

Zakarian also admits that she cares little for the social stigma of being a later life mother, or what the critics say.

“There is nothing selfish or wrong about wanting to bring a life into the world.”

“I have found that mental self-bashing seems to be more prominent in older women than in younger women—that somehow we shouldn’t even want to have a child, let alone a second one, at ‘our age.’”

“Baloney!” she says. “My life was turned upside down in the most wonderful ways when I gave birth at 41.”

“I expect the same will happen again if this next cycle works at 48—I look forward to it!”

Notes for this blog:

Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom.com—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/) (www.flowerpowermom.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/)), featuring commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40. She actively advocates for more supportive attitudes towards women having children in midlife and to raise awareness of the real issues related to later life motherhood.

Angel also hosts “A Child After 40”, an online community to empower all women on the journey of motherhood after 40. She gave birth to her children at 41 and 44 after conceiving naturally. For Angel’s full story, go to: http://www.achildafter40.com/my-story/

2 Responses to Cost of Infertility Treatments Cause Delayed Motherhood

  1. Claudia Spahr (http://www NULL.claudiaspahr NULL.com) says:

    Just to compare: In the UK the NHS (National Health Service) can cover the costs of fertility treatments but you have to fulfill a lot of criteria such as be under 39 with no existing children and have been infertile for at least three years. They pay for only 1 round of IVF. This means most people end up going to a private fertility clinic of which there are many. Costs range from 4000 to 8000 pounds.

  2. InSeason Mom Cynthia (http://www NULL.inseasonmom NULL.org) says:

    Karen’s son looks adorable! I’m happy that her IVF treatments were finally successful.

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