11/08/2011 12:17 pm ET Updated Jan 08, 2012

How Old Is 'Too Old' For Fatherhood?

Alexander is, on paper and otherwise, a success. He has degrees from two Ivy League schools. He runs his own consulting business, with offices in Boston and Washington, D.C. And at 38, he's got a beautiful 29-year-old girlfriend with whom he's quite happy. But the truth is her age is a sticking point. She's also an entrepreneur, with a business that's just getting started. She's got no interest in starting a family any time soon. She's got time.

The problem is, Alexander wants to be a dad. Badly. He sees fatherhood as the missing link, the key to full happiness. So Alexander (not his real name) finds himself in the unique position of commiserating with his women friends who've yet to find partners, or whose spouses are dragging their feet on kids. "Ideally," he says with a sigh, "I'd have a family already."