I find lots of people think that having babies "later" in life - like mid 30s and 40s is a recent thing, but we have been doing it for centuries lol! Women traditionally had children until they hit menopause and could no longer conceive. So it isn't a new thing - the new thing is women who wait to have their first child later in life. My mother was a young mum, but my grandmother had her last at 42 and my great-grandmother had her last in her 40s as well.
I think it is great that we can help women who are having trouble conceiving have children - and many of these women are in their 20s or early 30s. Women who seek fertility treatment in their 50s and 60s is really rare. I personally wouldn't want a child in my 50s, but I can't say it is too old for someone else. My friend was raised by his grandparents and they are still alive to see their great-grandchild!!
It does come down to the individual. Every parent has their strengths and weaknesses - one might not be able to do sports, but can build a treehouse. Another might be really great at outdoorsy stuff, but not so good at arts/crafts/etc. I agree that love, respect, patience, understanding and being supportive and enthusiastic are so important. And people are so unique when it comes to energy levels - my MIL can't look after my son for more than an hour without being exhausted but my mother (who is 3 years older) is running around the playground and going down the slide/playing ball etc.
So really it is hard to say what would be considered too old - it is really up to the individual to know themselves! I do know several women who thought 30 was too old when they were 21, but then went on to have more kids in their mid-30s. When you are 21 you don't always realize that you will feel the same at 30 that you did at 20! So I assume I'll feel the same at 40 as I do now - so who's to say 40 is too old? I won't until I get there! xx
If someone can't kick around a ball or find the energy to change a diaper at 40-50, then it probably has more to do with poor health in general, not age.
Like I said, I cannot play sports at all because I have too much flexibility in all my limbs (I completely seperated my foot from my ankle from a foot high fall last year) and I am 21. I am limited. That really doesn't affect my ability to parent.
All children need is wisdom and love. Physical activities are important, but doing extreme sports with your kid really isn't. Energy to get through the day doesn't suddenly stop once you reach middle age... Not unless you sit around on your ass and don't keep healthy. In which case, I doubt said person could conceive naturally anyways.
i think if it is naturally possible, then any age is acceptable.
i don't agree with 60 year old women having IVF, that seems really selfish to me, but 40 is hardly old these days.
i am 35 myself, and don't feel like a geriatric mum!
I agree with this.
Personally I think having a child with help post-menopause (unless the person has had an unusually early menopause) is wrong, as imo that is nature's way of saying your child bearing years have passed.
A mother's love takes many forms. For Kristine Casey, 61, it meant giving the gift of motherhood to her infertile daughter by carrying and giving birth to her own grandson.
With the help of hormone supplementation, Casey, who had gone through menopause 10 years earlier, became pregnant during her second round of in vitro fertilization, the Chicago Tribune reported.
She carried full term and gave birth via Cesarean section to Finnean, her first grandchild, last week at Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago. Although Casey's daughter, Sara Connell, 35, had been unable to carry a pregnancy to term, her egg and her husband Bill's sperm were used in the procedure, making the couple Finnean's biological parents.
"The idea of having a family member being open to doing this for us was so extraordinary for us," Sara Connell told the Tribune.
Casey, who is retired, told the Tribune that giving birth to her own three daughters were three of the happiest days in her life and she believed that serving as a surrogate to her daughter was a spiritual calling. She had kidney complications after the birth that were quickly resolved.
Casey's husband, William, who spoke on behalf of the family, said there'd be no further comment to the media after their interview with the Tribune.
Mothering in the 60s
In the world of surrogate parenting, the Connell's scenario is not as uncommon as you might think. The first case of such an arrangement dates back to 1987 when a South African woman gave birth to her triplet grandchildren. More recently, ABC News' "Good Morning America" spoke with 56-year-old Jaci Dalenberg of Wooster, Ohio, who gave birth to triplet girls that she carried for daughter Kim Coseno in 2008.
The Uterus Goes on Forever
While age is a limiting factor for the safety of such late-in-life surrogacy, hormonal supplementation and the use of donor eggs make pregnancy possible even in women who have gone through menopause.
"It works despite the woman being post-menopausal because the uterus continues to respond to hormones forever," says Dr. David Cohen, an obstetrician and ethicist at the University of Chicago. "After menopause, you have to supply the hormones in the form of pills, shots or vaginal creams."
The age of the eggs and the ovaries, which would normally provide those hormones, is more of a concern for getting pregnant later in life, he adds, but in the case of surrogacy, the egg is provided by the biological mother. Those synthetic hormones, given before in vitro fertilization would most likely be continued into the first trimester, Cohen says, when the placental hormones would take over.
What does become more of a concern in the case of Casey and late-in-life pregnancies such as hers is the health of the gestational mother.
"The data suggests that the risk to the mom has been much higher in people who are older," Cohen says.
Although each case must be evaluated individually, the risk of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and risk of miscarrying tend to be higher.
"The biggest issue is that the vascular volume -- the amount of fluid floating around the blood vessels -- increases dramatically in pregnancy and the demand on the heart to push that volume around is greater" he says.
"An older heart doesn't have the same strength to accommodate that volume as a young heart does. The older blood vessels also don't have the same elasticity so the risk of getting high blood pressure is clearly higher."
But age isn't always the best indicator of maternal suitability, Cohen notes, and "someone at 61 might seem healthier than another person at 49. Thankfully, in this case, everything worked out fine."
Ethical, Emotional Concerns of Grandma Surrogacy
At first mention, the idea of a grandmother giving birth to her own grandson sounds like a genetic nightmare, but because the Connells contributed the egg and sperm, the risk of genetic abnormality was actually quite low. From an emotional or even ethical standpoint, however, this arrangement might still raise concerns.
Is it ethical to put an elderly mother at increased risk of complications by allowing her to be a surrogate? Would carrying a grandchild that is then handed over to the biological parents create psychological turmoil in the grandmother?
Surrogacy in any case can be ripe with emotional complications as gestational mothers become attached to the child during pregnancy and may be less willing than expected to part with the child, even though it is not biologically theirs.
Even if the surrogate is no stranger but a family member, such as a sister, there might be similar attachment issues. In this case however, grandmother surrogacy might actually be one of the least complicated scenarios for surrogacy, notes Dorothy Greenfeld, a clinical psychologist who counsels patients at the Yale Fertility Center.
"I don't see it as particularly emotionally complicated," she says. "She's probably so overjoyed to be able to do this for her daughter."
Given that Casey was already going to play a somewhat maternal role in the child's life as his grandmother and that she is no longer at mothering age (and less likely to want to raise the child as her own), the situation is less complicated than others, she adds.
Indeed, Casey told the Tribune, "From the very beginning, the moment I've wanted is the moment the baby is in their arms. I've been clear since after my third child that I didn't need to have any more children, and as much as I will be delighted to be a grandmother, I don't want to take a baby home."
sun is absolutely correct in her post. My own mother was born to a 42 year old mother in 1936. She was baby #6 and the doctor didn't even come until the next day...on horseback! They lived in a very rural area. Mom said they used to call it a "change of life baby", since ladies would not be sure if they were pregnant or entering menopause.
Rough days without reliable birth control.
I also think of childless couples my mother has told me about from her childhood that there was probably a very simple fix that modern technology could have provided.
Thank goodness for all the advantages we have t now to plan our families and help us have families in the first place!
interesting read. you shouldn't make generalizations on a topic like this, I don't think. Each woman's case is different. I'm 23 and I know a lot of immature persons within my age group. I also know a few immature 41 year olds. Lol I don't claim full maturity myself, but I'm educated, working towards my Masters degree, recently purchased my own land, and I have the full support of my mother and my OH during the times that I get scared and want to curl up and bawl my eyes out .
To answer the OP, I don't think any age is 'too old', once you're emotionally and financially able to care for your child.
I agree. I think too old or too young depends on each individual person and situation. I had always wanted to start a family at 24, and I now realize that that would have been a BIG MISTAKE for me! I am now almost 37, pg with my first, and the timing couldn't be better. Yea I wish I had more energy, especially in the future, but I know that that is so much less important than what I can provide for them now, mentally and physically, compared to over 10 years ago! But we are all in different situations and the right time will be different for each of us!
id say no older than 40. any older id say is unfair to the child
I agree with what you said. I just wouldn't want to take any chances that someone could go wrong as I age. I do NOT judge people that do have children at an older age though, it is just not something I would do.
Something can go wrong at any age. Being younger doesn't make you free from challenges.
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