Inspire – Women of Dartmouth Stories

It’s Now or Never

I had children a bit late but really wanted them (first son Wesley at 41, second son
Andrew at 46-47!)

I had always thought I’d get married and have a life partner but when my boyfriend at
the time (when I was 40) didn’t want kids, I realized it was a “now or never” situation. I
made the difficult decision to use a sperm donor, and my son is now a Dartmouth ’26!

The first child was the result of a simple IUI (the proverbial “turkey baster”) and I was
shocked to conceive easily and give birth at 41. It was a challenge doing this on my
own, but what doesn’t kill us just makes us really, really exhausted (but happy!)

I was strolling in the street in Beverly Hills with little Wesley (who was a toddler but is
now 18) when we saw my doctor. He asked if I was planning to have another, and
emphasized that it would have to be fairly soon. I was 42 or 43 at the time.

The second one was much harder to conceive. I had to use IVFs and fertility and
eventually donor embryos, but Andrew was born healthy when I was in my mid to late
40s (conceived at 46, born when I was 47). He just turned 13 in October and yes, I am
the only mom at the middle school who is 60… but who is counting?

I’ll admit that childrearing alone put a strain on dating and work, and probably stunted
my career a bit. Since I didn’t have any family in Los Angeles to help out, I had to rely
on nannies, housekeepers and the kindness of friends and neighbors. Sometimes I
would be late for work in the morning or miss that afternoon meeting because I had to
go pick the kids up. But somehow we made it through!

I am really happy with my choice. Still looking for that great guy (my boyfriend from my
40s and I split up) but am content that at least one of my dreams came true!

Son Wesley (born January 1, 2005) is currently a Dartmouth sophomore and is majoring
in science (biology and chemistry), although he has taken computer science, history,
Spanish 3 and German 1 among other things. I was a humanities major, so I marvel at
the aptitude of the current students. Admission is so much harder than in my day! But I
am happy that we can continue the Dartmouth legacy.

I had secretly hoped that the second baby might be a girl, and bought a Gymboree or
Janie & Jack strawberries dress for her when I was pregnant at 46 (and returned it after
my ultrasound showed him to be another boy!) But I am so delighted to have both my

We live in Los Angeles and spent a little time in the Valley. We opted for public schools
since raising 2 kids alone puts a strain on the budget. I hope this story inspires others
who have a dream of having children and encourages them not to give up. Where there
is a will, there is often a way.

I also took fostering/fost-adopt classes and considered that option, which is a great
alternative. One thing to keep in mind when pursuing that option is that you may end up
only fostering, as the goal it to reunite the child with the birth mother. I would have been
okay with that, but it was the “3 visits with bio parents per week” in California that
stumped me as I needed to work full-time and wasn’t sure I could make it work.
However, I would encourage anyone who can to foster and adopt, or use fertility (even
as a single person) as having a family has been very precious and rewarding to me.

1 thought on “It’s Now or Never”

  1. This is such an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing, Laura! I’m currently in my early 30s, but don’t plan on having children until my mid-to-late 30s (at the earliest). I’m having the discussions with my doctors now of course, but it’s so great to hear the perspective of someone who was able to do it so successfully in their 40s. I’m also so amazed that you did it as a single mother – that has got to be one of the hardest jobs!

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