Too Old For This?

NY Magazine Cover, October 3, 2011

Lisa Miller wrote an interesting article for New York Magazine’s October 3, 2011 issue entitled: “Is She Just Too Old For This?” This article dives into the lives of women that bore children at the not-so-tender ages of 50 and above–a trend that is on the rise. The article states that in 2008, about 8,000 babies were born to women 45 or older in the U.S., which is more than double the numbers calculated in 1997 (according to the Centers for Disease Control). In adoption the story rings true as well: “nearly a quarter of adopted children in the U.S. have parents more than 45 years older than they are.” It is believed that the advances in reproductive technology is to blame for this rise. In fact, one of the women featured in the article, Ann Maloney, was able to be brought out of menopause with hormones in order to get pregnant with her second child at the age of 52. Women of this age who wish to carry their own baby often use donor eggs; however, egg freezing, a “cutting-edge” method, allows women to freeze their eggs to be used at a later time.

Looming behind all this activity are critics saying: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

“After 35, the risk of preterm labor increase 20 percent, and preemies can have lung problems, digestive problems, brain bleeds, and neurological complications, including developmental delays, learning issues, depending largely on their gestational age at birth. After 40, a pregnant woman is likelier to become afflicted with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and hypertension–the worst outcomes of which can result in the death of the fetus and occasionally the mother as well. It is also after 40 that the risk of having a child with autism increase…” Aside from the medical issues that can occur, many people cannot imagine how a people in that age group can keep up with all the strenuous activity that comes along with having and raising a child.

Amongst all this, however, are tons of success stories. The more success stories there are, undoubtedly, the more people will follow suit and achieve what they might once believed was impossible. The question remains, nonetheless, are they too old for this?

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