Getting Pregnant After Age 40: Conception and Older Mothers
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Pregnancy Over 40  ...
The number of women getting pregnant over 40 is rising. But is later really better than never?

Herein 4  fertility experts explain...
older woman pregnancy
By Colette Bouchez

When actress Geena Davis gave birth to twins earlier this year, her age – nearly 48 at the time - became the bigger story. Likewise, a swell of publicity surrounded Elizabeth Edwards, wife of recent vice presidential candidate John Edwards, when it was learned that she too got pregnant at age 48, and again when she was nearly 50.

Soon after, however, both women began to seem like “younger moms” when, in November of this year headlines touted the birth of twins to 57 year old single New York City first time mom, Aleta St. James. Also pregnant - and due to give birth any day now - is  Francis Harris, a 59-year-old mother of five from Sylvester, Georgia, who claimed in news reports that  she conceived naturally.

Indeed, while the term “older mother” once referred to women who conceived around age 30, today our birthing timeline had moved significantly, with the number of much older women becoming first time mothers on the rise.

“There is no question that the age where getting pregnant is considered a possibility is definitely expanding –we are continuing to push the time line up and up and have been doing so since the 1980’s “ says Frederick Licciardi, MD, Associate Director of the NYU Program for IVF, Reproductive Surgery and Fertility in New York City.

And, in fact, a new report issued this month by the US Centers of Disease control verifies that not only are more older women getting pregnant, they are starting to outnumber younger women in doing so. While the birth rate for women aged 30 to 34 increased by just 4 percent in 2003, those giving birth between 40 and 44 rose 5 percent.

And while births to women 45 to 49 held steady, (at .5 births per 1,000) the rates for women in their early 20's - once considered the prime age for motherhood - decreased by 1 percent.

But just because we can push the birthing envelope, should we?  And are we tinkering with Mother Nature in a way that may come back to haunt us – if not as a society, then on an individual case-by-case, mother-by-mother basis?

Doctors say it's a hard game to call.

“It’s not an issue that is going unnoticed that's for sure – but right now we don’t have enough medical data to tell us one way or the other if older motherhood is a good thing; there just aren't enough women over 50 who have pushed the envelope to give us a clear picture of what happens when you do," says Michael Brodman, MD, Chairman, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the mount Sinai school of Medicine in New York City.

Next Up:  Health, Age and Pregnancy:
                    What We Do Know Now

Getting Pregnant  Over 40:
Egg Donation,
increasing fertility, and more good news!
Pregnancy over 40; age and pregnancy
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Copyright 2009 - 2010 -Colette Bouchez. Any and all use requires the author's explicit permission , which may be assigned or revoked at any time, for any reason. .  Any  unauthorized use of these articles shall be considered a breech of copyright law.