You always knew you wanted a family, but wanted to do things differently. You wanted to go to college, see the world, land your dream job, and find the love of your life. You’ve accomplished all of this, but, you’re now 40 and have no idea whether the white picket fence and baby carriage is in the cards. You still have a desire to start a family, but wonder if it’s too late?

What are the chances of getting pregnant? How much of a life will you be able to give the child? What are the pros and cons of being an older parent? These are all common questions looming in your mind. As your biological clock starts ticking you need answers – fast.

Believe it or not, lots of people are starting families in their late 30’s, early 40’s, and beyond. The key is first educating yourself and then creating a plan that will work best for you and your future family.

Talk to Other Parents

You likely have doubts about being a parent at an older age and these fears can be greatly reduced by talking with other parents who started later in life. You can talk to those you know like relatives, coworkers, or friends, or you can look for support groups. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “What are the pros and cons of parenting at an older age? “What are your biggest fears?” “Did you have doubts?”, or whatever else may be on your mind. Getting the answers to these questions can ease your fears and prepare you for the beautiful journey ahead.

Visit a Doctor

You want to make sure that your body is physically ready to carry a baby to term. Visit your primary doctor to get a full physical and bloodwork. Be sure to express your desire to start a family. They can review your health records and provide detailed information on whether or not you can conceive, how risky the pregnancy might be, and where to go to get help during this journey.

If you or your partner’s health is not up to par do not be discouraged. You can still start a family no matter how old you are. Whether you try IVF, IUI, surrogacy, or working with an adoption agency, you can still have a child to love.

Get Your House in Order

You’ve talked with other parents, gotten a health screen and learned your options from your doctor, all that’s left to do is get your house in order to start your family. This may be a bit more involved depending on where you are in life. You’ll need to make sure that you have a safe and decent place for them to stay as well as enough money to provide for them.

For some, this may mean moving out of an apartment into a house. For others, it may mean paying off serious debts and creating a budget. Whatever you need to do to make sure you can provide for your future children, it is imperative that you do it prior to starting your family as it can prove more challenging once the children are here.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’ve decided to start your family later in life. Lots of people take this route and have gone on to raise happy, healthy children. It’s all a matter of being prepared. Start by talking with others in a similar circumstance to ease your fears then get a checkup from your doctor. If all is well, then, get your house in order and begin the journey towards creating a family.