Many life circumstances and decisions are putting off baby making for couples of all ages. With a higher divorce rate, it might be that the second or third marriage is the charm. But by then, is it too late?
Many men and women are putting off having kids to focus on their educations and careers, and with so many older celebrities giving birth, it may seem like a no-brainer to delay conception. Certainly it’s sensible to wait until you’re ready to have kids, and researchers say the optimal time is somewhere in the mid-20s to early 30s.
The truth is that biology can limit older men and women’s abilities to conceive and carry a fetus to term. However, it’s not impossible for those in their late 30s, 40s or even beyond to have a child. Experts recommend if you’re trying to get pregnant after 35 and it doesn’t happen naturally within six months, it’s a good idea to see a specialist.
If menopause has set in or other factors inhibit pregnancy, then there are other ways to have a child – gestational carriers, or surrogates, may carry a child for a mother who cannot carry to term. Or donor eggs and/or sperm may be used and implanted in the mother. Regardless of these workarounds, the hard truth is that women are born with all the eggs their bodies will make during a lifetime. Those eggs’ quality decreases over time, and the same thing happens with mens’ sperm, though they keep manufacturing it. The testicular cells age, and as they do, sperm production decreases. So infertility in the late 30s and beyond can’t necessarily be blamed on the woman. So if you can conceive, should you? The risks to the baby are mentioned quite a bit when talking about older people having kids.
Mayoclinic cites the increase in spontaneous miscarriages – up to 51 percent in women aged 40-44. And the risk of having a baby with significant chromosomal abnormalities is higher – about 1 in 200 – after age 35. The risk of having a child with Down Syndrome is 1 in 365. Only you and your partner can weigh the odds and figure out if having a child later in life is best for you and your family.