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Starting a family should be a conscious decision. But for some, their little bundle of joy can also come unexpectedly. Getting pregnant is the easy part, however, it is raising the child (and the cost of it) that will make you reconsider whether motherhood is right for you.

If you have been considering motherhood but are unsure of when to start this lifetime commitment, here’s a quick guide to help you decide.

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Age: 20+

Although a woman is most fertile in her 20s, this may also be the age you overlook the heavy financial aspects that come with expecting a child.

Getting pregnant in your 20s is considered low-risk as this is when a woman has the highest number of good quality eggs available. Therefore, if you or your partner decide to get pregnant, this is the time you least have to worry about complications.

However, it is important to note that starting a family requires a certain level of financial security that you and your partner might have not yet achieved at an early age.

Many young couples tend to overlook the cost of raising a child until he or she is ready to venture out to the world on their own. If you do choose to get pregnant at this age, here are some first year financial aspects that you should consider:

Before childbirth:

Item Price range
Consultation $50 to $200
Ultrasound $80 to $150
Pap smear
$40 to $80
Blood test
$75 to $180

After childbirth:

Item Estimated Price
First-Year Baby Gear $8,270
First Year’s Diapers $550
Meals for Family $11,000
One Year of Childcare $9,000

In the first year, a couple may spend over $20,000 on a combination of prenatal and postnatal appointments, any tests run, labour and delivery and all of the items needed for the child. Additionally, middle income families spend $233,610 to raise the child to age 17 years old.

If you think that you both still need time to reassess your finances, contraceptives such as birth control pills is an option in Singapore and is highly recommended for women aged under 35 years old. It is 91% effective, and if taken regularly can help you prevent unwanted pregnancy as well as have some positive and negative effects.

You will need to get a prescription from a general practitioner or a gynaecologist. The three most common brands used in Singapore are Yasmin, Yaz and Diane-35. They range from $25 to $40 for a month’s supply. The cheapest is Diane-35, while Yasmin is the priciest.

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Age: 30+

A woman’s fertility begins to decline beginning in her 30s, with a more significant decline after the age of 35. Each month, there’s only a 20 per cent chance of pregnancy for a woman in her 30s.

After the age of 35, the risk for miscarriage, genetic abnormalities and other complications arise more rapidly. Therefore, if you choose to get pregnant in your 30s, you might want to freeze your eggs in your 20s, as egg freezing will require multiple cycles in order to acquire a good number of eggs.

More Singaporean women are opting to freeze their eggs overseas. According to an article by The Straits Times, the prices are as follows:

“In Malaysia, centres contacted by The Sunday Times charge between RM15,000 (S$5,000) and RM20,000 (S$6,550). Storage fees are an additional RM1,000 (S$330) or more a year. Whereas, it costs about A$11,000 (S$10,580) for one cycle of egg freezing at Virtus Health in Australia, excluding the A$500 (S$480) annual storage fee”.

If you do decide to go through the “traditional way”, you can consider contacting a fertility specialist especially if you are not pregnant after six months of trying.

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Age: 40+

Women face a higher percentage of difficulty getting pregnant each year after age 35. According to the ASRM, a woman has only a five percent chance of pregnancy each month once she turns 40.

Although famous celebrities get pregnant after 40 years old, they might have gone through multiple cycles via in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy or even have used an egg donor to get pregnant.

It’s also important to recognise that pregnancy and delivery gets harder as a woman ages. Women might have health problems that make getting pregnant dangerous as well.

Medical conditions like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are more common in older women. Additional testing and monitoring might be needed to look for potential complications.

The Virtus Fertility Centre indicates that “with maximum allowable Medisave withdrawal for 1st and 2nd cycles, the out-of-pocket payment for a complete IVF treatment cycle can be within $3,000″.

Text: Anna V. Haotanto/The New Savvy