“I was 43 – it was now or never.”

Jennifer, 44, USA

I always thought I’d have children. But I was never the type of person who got broody around babies. I assumed I’d feel differently with my own child. I tried, but I miscarried twice, both times at 6 weeks. I thought, “If it’s meant to be, it will happen for me.”

Then the pandemic happened, and since parental leave and child care isn’t subsidised for most Americans, working from home would eliminate a huge expense if I were to have a baby. Then I found out my health insurance covers IVF 100%.

I was 43 — it was now or never. I took the tests and discovered I was quite fertile. I picked out sperm and had it shipped to my doctor. I had the injections sent to the pharmacy.

But just as I was about to start the process, I took a pause. Did I really want to do this? My parents are dead, my only living family is in another state (that I’m not willing to move to) and I just got out of an abusive relationship. So I’d be doing this on my own. Without support, or even a partner, I’d be trapped in my house for at least 3 years. Not what I envisioned in my youth.

So I said “no thanks.”

I know what an undertaking raising a child is — I had a stay-at-home mom who was able to give me her undivided attention and a dad who came home every night. I couldn’t give that to my kids. And having kids just because you fear you might regret not having them is not enough of a reason, in my view, to bring a life into the world.

Through this process, I learned what I really wanted — to be childfree.