I agree with wifemomdoc. There is no "good" time to start having kids. My husband and I "planned" to start our family after I finished my 4-year IM/Peds residency (I'll be 30 when I'm done, my husband 32). However, "accidents" happen when fate intervenes. We now have a beautiful 7mo boy and we have no regrets. I have only to make up one month and felt very supported by my program. I'm in the middle of my 3rd year and getting more elective months. To all residents, it's doable. Your program must deal with it and cannot punish you for having children any more than any other employer in the country.
I agree that there is no good time to have children with a career in medicine. I am currently in the process of thinking about having children and "planning" it. It seems that no matter when you have children there are upsides and downsides. Only you can determine how they weigh in. Personally I would like to have children now. I'm 31 but only halfway throught my residency in anesthesiology. The thought of trying to study for the board exams with an infant and prolonging my residency is deterring me from having children. But then my fertility also worries me if I wait until I am finished. Anyone else struggling with this?
There is no good time to have kids. Most people say that fertility goes down after 35 but the reality is that a 20-something healthy woman has about a 25% chance (or less) of getting pregnant each cycle. Once you hit 30 it's all down hill from there. I should know. My husband (35 at the time) and I (32 at the time) started trying to have a baby shortly after we were married (had long engagement due to difficulty finding time off of residency to get married) since I was going to finish my 7 yr surgery residency that year. Needless to say, every time I got my period, it was sad and emotionally draining. We finally went to see a reproductive endocrinologist and did 2 cycles of IUI before doing IVF and got pregnant with twins with our 1st cycle. We consider ourselves relatively lucky since we know many couples who have tried unsucessfully with great drain on their finances to get pregnant even with IVF. So, my advice is to start trying if you're financially and emotionally ready to have a child because it may take longer than you think.
As a 3rd year med student who is 6.5 months along I would say, if you want kids eventually and there is no "optimal window" coming up, just go for it. It may take longer than you think. Is it really the end of the world if school or residency gets prolonged a bit if the baby timing isn't perfect (which it rarely is)? The chance we take is not being able to have the kids which many of us really want.
I agonized for so long over when, that when "it" happened it was a huge relief because it just had to work out. Things have worked out fairly well for my schedule. My ideal window would have been to get pregnant 3-4 months later (due to a two month away rotation that is now delayed by a year) but I was tired of waiting and things will work out. I am going to delay my graduation by a semester and the match by a year but I think in the grand scheme of things I will be grateful that I took 8 months off to be with the wee one when they arrive. (granted I have a professional working spouse and not everyone has this choice)