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August 11th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Age and Childbearing

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How old is too old for a woman to give birth? In her 40s? Fifties? Or does it matter as long as the mom-to-be is happy and healthy?

Why do you feel this way? Let me hear your thoughts, we may read them on the show!

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145 Responses to “Age and Childbearing”

  1. Tsukihime says:

    I think it’s more than if just the mother is happy and healthy. I think you also have to consider any birth defects that could occur the older the mom-to-be is. Are you ready to bring up a special needs child? Personally, I think the older a woman is to give birth, the more selfish the reasons may be. Are you prepared to raise a teenager when you’re in your sixties? Knowing you may have medical issues as you age that could affect your child and your ability to raise them? The burden you may be putting that child under before they are prepared? Knowing you may not be around to see grandchildren, not even expecting to see great grandchildren…

  2. Paradoxis says:

    For a lot of different reasons, many grandparents are raising their grandchildren these days. It would be interesting to hear their views on the matter. It’s interesting to hear the perspective of grown children who were raised by older parents, too.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I myself waited to have kids. I had my son when I was 28 & my daughter when I was 33. A part of me is glad I waited until I was ready enough to handle the responsiblity. also I wanted to get married first, then buy a house & then have kids. Yea I did things the old fashion way & proud of it. On the other hand Another part of me wishes I would of had my kids when I was younger so I can play w/ my kids & do the fun things with them. Now Due to my health I’m unable to have fun w/ my kids. I have to just sit & watch them. I hate it. People really need to sit & think about every aspect of having kids. Always asking the what if?Waht if something happened to me then what? What about birth defects? What about money? & everything that goes along with that. Having kids is something no one should ever take lightly.

    Jennifer

  4. Erin says:

    Personally, I think age does should not matter. Even if the mother is young, there is no quarentee that she will live to see her grandchildren, great grandchildren. In addition even if the mother is young, that is no guearentee that the baby will be healthy. I think that if a women gets the support of her doctor she should be able to have children. Heck, men have children when they are in thier 60’s and 70’s. A new study came out that said Men over 60 “have healthier babies than teen fathers” reads the headline in the Daily Mail. The newspaper reported that a study has shown that older men have healthier babies than their “teenage counterparts”. There is no problem with men having babies in their 60’s or 70’s however, it seems to be a problem when a women decides to be a mother when they are older. I think if a women is healthy she should be able to have a baby when she wants to.

    I completly disagree when people say that women who are older are selfish to have babies. Look at teen mothers, it seems that we are more open minded and more accepting of teen mothers who are raising babies then women who are older, more mature and ready to be mothers.

    Why should a women have a baby sooner then she wants to just because something “could” happen to her or the baby. There are risks every day, and every pregency there is a chance that the baby will not be healthy, regardless of the age of the mother. I know women who are older are prone to have more complications and have a greater risk of the baby being born with a disability, however I think if the women knows that going into the pregency that we should not judge her.

    I think we have no right to judge a women for deciding when she wants to have a baby. If she wants to have a baby when she is older, and knows the risks and has her doctors support then I say go for it, the more power to her.

    It would be interesting to see how people that feel that women who are a certain age should not have a baby feel that teenage mothers for deciding to have a baby.

    When does motherhood have an age limit on it?

  5. Jane says:

    Late 40’s is probably too late, 50’s out of the question. Remember, this isn’t just about being able to get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term, it’s about parenting for the long-term. While we may be living longer, are those years going to be useful to your children as they begin parenting themselves, or will you become a burden to them as you enter old age. Simply being able to live to old age does not guarantee you will be a positive influence during those years. So yes, I think women (and men) who choose to have children late in life are selfish. And yes, teenagers who fall pregnant are selfish as well, neither are thinking about the best interests of the child.

  6. I wasn’t going to comment then thought of something Dr. Phil said, after reading what Jennifer said, while on Twitter. DR. PHIL QUOTE: Life isn’t cured it is managed. As well, I think many should wait until established and not in debt as Jay and Erica have/are.

    Having a baby begins before activity to have a baby. If you are not in a position to have a baby or do not love person with etc. and are just doing w/o planning (especially if in a rocky relationship with someone else or even just yourself)… Don’t have a baby to fix your own voids in life. A baby is a celebration and there are far too many irresponsible pregnancies and that doesn’t mean I believe in abortion that means I believe in self-control and aborting reproductive activity if doing so in an irresponsible manner.

    Are you stable?
    Are you healthy?
    Are you financially solvent?
    Do you love yourself and mate?
    In other words: USE COMMON SENSE

    Many believe THE BIBLE in totality says to be fruitful and multiply since many haven’t read. Actually, New Testament says Luke 23:29 (just Google if interested) and to behave responsibly ONLY being intimate if married. Simply because the natural course of events of said activity, less artificial means, is reproduction. So many believe God is Love and not saying if I do or don’t yet it isn’t loving to bring a child into this world irresponsibly without a plan… it is selfish. People don’t have to have a child or be involved in reproductive activity if unable to behave responsibly with all this involves.

    I don’t have children and it isn’t the end of the world; had a hysterectomy at age 30. Sure sometimes… since each day I see how much more spectacular my parents were… I sometimes wish I had. However, actually, I’d always wanted to adopt or have a B&B type home, safe house, for abused girls. I’m referred to on Dr. Phil Website as cyber-mom and grandmother, depending on person(s) age as I sort of adopt everyone. Having a baby isn’t the end all cure all. Yet IF for you and you do responsibly with respect for all concerned that seems like the best way. We all have an opinion… this is mine. Sincerely, SEA

  7. Erin says:

    You says you will be a positive influence on your children if you have them when younger. In addition we cannot guarentee that we will be around to see our children grow up. Heck parents die in a car accident and leave their children without parents all the time. Should we not drive cars anymore, if we have children, because their is a chance that we could die? Should we not take any risks because something could happen and we are a “burden” to our children. Is it selfish if a parent has a disability, and cannot walk for example, should they not have children because it would be a “burden” on the children? How is being older a burden on your children? If we are going to put an age limit on how old is too old to have children, why not tell everyone (who could be a burden on our children, have a disability, have a disease, who might die when their children are little, those who are overweight and cannot chase after their children) they cannot have children.

    I think what is wrong is telling people that are able to have children, decided to wait until they were ready to have children that they are too old and too selfish to be good parents. Who says you would be a better mom at the age of 25 then 55? Why does a number dicate how you run your life?

    We applaud women who are 90 years old and jump out of airplanes (who have children and grandchildren) and we encourage young girls not to give up on their dreams. Why is it so selfish for a women who wants children not be able to because she is older? Who says she will not be a good parent because she is older?

    Life happens… and there are no guarentees in life and no matter how old you are when you have children there is always a chance that something could happen to you that would leave your children without you. I just think that we do not have a right to tell someone they are selfish for wanting to have a baby because they are older and decided to wait. Why not tell everyone that they cannot have children because they will not a perfect parent.

  8. Blgspc says:

    To Erin

    For me this is SO NOT about a double standard when it comes to men and women.
    Dr. Phil has a message board addressing this same question: http://community.drphil.com/boards/?EntryID=561&SubCategoryID=4 I have one entry there outlining the clinical REALITIES of what risks are involved, because the clinic risks faced by a woman of 25 pales in comparison to those of a woman of ‘Advanced Maternal Age’-that’s any pregnancy occurring in a woman above 35 years of age. I don’t think that the RISK CHANGES are ‘FAIR’ but they are QUITE real and I’m NOT talking about just a few small, innocent changes, either. Some of the risk/complications jump to more than 50% for women over 40!

    See, there are voices that aren’t being heard. Like the voices of those in their 20’s with infants trying to manage a parent who has had a massive stroke. In MY own family, my mother’s baby sister, was born to my maternal grandparents when my grandmother was 40 and my mother’s baby sister was only 4 years older than my twin and I. When she was 8 years old, my grandfather- her father and my mother’s father- had a series of strokes that left him bedridden. He couldn’t speak or even change positions in bed- he was TOTAL CARE. So, that was her world, helping my grandmother attend to his needs until she was 19 years old and ran off to get married.

    My own identical twin sister gave birth to her first and only child at 36. Which seemed like a dream come true to ALL of us, at the time. However, my niece- who lives in San Francisco- began losing people she loved when she was about 6 years old. All of my twin sister’s family-including myself- live in coastal North or South Carolina. My Brother-in-law lost his parents about a year apart. After the funeral of my Brother-in-law’s mother, when my twin sister was putting my niece to bed and turning out the light, my niece suddenly grabbed my sister’s hand and asked as she sobbed, “Are YOU going to DIE, TOO?!?” Of course, my sister tried to reassure her.
    My niece just turned 17 last month and my niece is losing family in the Carolinas, now. The ONE thing she has consistently remained CRYSTAL CLEAR about is that she feels that the choice to have children late is ‘SELFISH’! By the time my niece has significantly bonded with someone in our family she often loses them, as well.

    BG

  9. Why do people make such a big deal about having all this money before starting a family? I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re completely broke and can’t put food on the table, but my husband and I had our kids when we were young -3 kids before the age of 30, and God has provided for us. My kids are well grounded because they’re not spoiled, they even got partial bursaries at a wonderful small private school that was looking for nice children to fill its quota. We may not have loads materially.( I have chosen to stay home and not work to be with them) but compared to a lot of the kids with older parents who waited until they could afford it, they are far more happy and balanced. Perhaps part of the ‘Generation Me’ problem is parents who wait until they’re too old and tired to be part of their children’s lives, so to compensate they buy them psps, ipods, computers, quad bikes etc etc etc.

  10. Anita says:

    I have never really understood the debate about how old is too old for a woman to have a baby. I was 27 and 32 when I had my children. It is always amazing to hear that a woman in her sixties has given birth. But, hearing something like that doesn’t cause me to debate whether or not it was a good idea. I figure it was a good idea for that particular woman. Even after I had my son at 32, and we had made the decision that 2 was all we wanted, I would still see a baby and think “I want one”. But, my husband had a vasectomy, and we both agreed that 2 was enough. It was probably a biological thing. Past a certain age, I began to look at babies and think, “I want a grandchild”. Now at 55 this Friday, I do have a sweet little granddaughter. It would be a trial if my husband and I had to raise a child at this age. Our health is fine, but our hearts would not be in it. Not to say that if, God forbid, something happened and our granddaughter needed us, we wouldn’t take her. Sure we would. But… to raise a child at our age wouldn’t be the same as the first time around. But, that ’s us… that’s not to say that all older people wouldn’t or shouldn’t be parents. Each situation is unique to that family.

  11. Jane says:

    Erin says “Who says you would be a better mom at the age of 25 then 55? Why does a number dictate how you run your life?”
    Well, that’s pretty simple. The human body is only viable for so many years. Fact. And even those human bodies that are able to last beyond statistics don’t in any way qualify for being good and productive parents. We only live for a certain number of years, and although this statistic maybe getting slightly longer, that does not guarantee that those extra years will be spent being quality parents, and certainly not quality grandparents. That’s just a fact of life, people will either accept that fact or delude themselves into believing that they have some sort of right to have children into their 70’s. It’s wrong, it’s selfish and it’s stupid. Period.

  12. FosterBoys says:

    Jane says, “It’s wrong, it’s selfish and it’s stupid. Period”. Yikes! I definitely don’t want to know what she thinks of my choices in life.

  13. Toni says:

    I think age shouldn’t really be a factor, I agree with most of the comments here about responsibility and financial security. My friend lost her 57 year old mother very suddenly and it show that there are no guarantees that having children young means you will see your grand children. My friend was pregnant with her first child at the time.
    As far as genetic defects go, medical technology has advanced and we can test for most things nowadays. Improved education and nutrition means mothers are in better health anyway.
    It’s a personal choice.

    On a spiritual level, children are on loan to us, we are their guides, they are little souls equipped with everything they need to grow spiritually if given the fertile ground within which to do it. My children don’t belong to me, they are children of their creator. It shouldn’t matter how old I am when they journey through me ;-)

  14. Paradoxis says:

    Erin, reading your post wrung sobs from me because you touched the heart of the matter in a way that I’ve been unable to express.

    What I object to is people judging another’s worth or ability on any basis, be it on age, health, disability, colour, nationality, religion, whatever.

    In this case, people are judging whether an older parent would make a “good enough” parent. A lot of assumptions are being made about the capabilities of people as they get older. There’s also a lot of assumptions based on fears about what “might” happen. Fears that can be associated with any age group. The truth is that nobody can guarantee what kind of parent they are going to be, no matter what age they have children!

    For a society that obsesses over staying young and living a long life, everyone seems incredibly fearful of actually getting old. It’s not a disease. The use of the word “burden” worries and upsets me a lot. Just how do we see our aged? How do we see our own futures? What defines “burden”. Depending on how you look at things, burdens can be gifts of grace and growth. I just don’t get the negativity.

    On one hand we talk about a generation of kids who have grown up with a sense of entitlement because they’ve been given everything and not had to struggle or earn anything, and then here we are talking about spareing them even the possibility of having to deal with difficult situations such as ill health of a parent, or experiencing the loss of a parent. These things are life experiences that can happen at any age, and the truth is that there is no avoiding them. They are inevitable.

    The reason this topic has been hitting home for me the last few days is because I see that a lot of the attitudes being expressed here, are judgements on the worthiness or value of parenting. When I got pregnant in unfortunate circumstances when I was 30, the same kind of judgements were made of me. I was told I shouldn’t be allowed to have children. I was told I was selfish to even consider keeping the baby…And in the end, I decided on adoption because I was convinced of my own inadequacies and lack of support. In my case the issue wasn’t my age, it was other factors, but to me, that’s just details. The principles and attitudes remain the same.

    I don’t think anybody has the right to assume or judge in advance what kind of parent ANYBOY will be, whether they be young or old, single or married, gay or straight, have a disability or not – just name your criteria. If you really get down to it, if only the unselfish or people who were “good enough” (according to whatever criteria happens to be applied) were allowed to breed, then the human race would become extinct pretty darn quick.

    I’m not sure even now, whether I’ve managed to make my point in a clear and logical manner, but what I really wanted to say was thankyou, Erin. Your post was a voice of sanity for me in the confusion of my own mind. :D

    Para.

  15. michelle says:

    I dont know, I think it is on the individual, sometimes there are young people who have children , and their parents end up raising them. I think it is up to a person, and if they are prepared for the responsibility of having a child. You never know what the story is behind a person. I waited till I was 33 years old, well, not really waited, but I was told I was unable to concieve for reasons of a tilted uterus. My husband returned from Iraq about three and a half years ago, and we were pregnant with our first son, then thirteen months later we were pregnant with our second son. I had these two little guys who are now almost three and two years of age, and it was the right time for me. I would not have changed anything in the world. i guess I would say it would be the best time for a person to have them, and just realize it is a LOT of work, time and energy well worth it. I wish our younger adults would realize they need to wait, and not be 16, 18 or really young pregnant girls having babies. Babies do not need to be having babies.
    Thanks Dr. Phil, to you and your family and staff for always talking about things that people need to talk about. Hope you had a wonderful time spending time with your family in austrailia. I am excited we are taking our first family vacation next tuesday to walt disney world with our two and one year old son,, could be interesting!!

  16. Annie says:

    Dr. Phil,
    Nature has always dictated our child bearing age. The majority of our society have children in their 20’s and 30’s. I believe this is because we need our energy to keep up with them and we need to live long enough to guide them. But as a free society who are we to tell anybody they can or can’t have a child? We can only hope that those who seek to become a parent later in their life do so with the understanding of what risks are involved. The older we are the higher the risk is of bearing an unhealthy child. I would also hope that their need came from a selfless place instead of a selfish place. Children need their parents.

  17. Linda says:

    I think that if a couple really want children, and that is something they consider important, then they shouldn´t wait much longer than until the woman is around 35. Or otherwise be aware of the risks involved. I never wanted children actually. But my sister, who is 31, had a baby girl this year. So I can see that my mother dosn´t have the same panic anymore because she finally got her grandchild .

  18. Lacy says:

    I believe it could be okay to have a child whether you are in your 20s or 50s. Although I think the older a couple is when they have children can really effect the child. I am only 17 years old and my mother had me when she was too young to raise her own child. Since I was born I have been raised by my grandparents, with almost no relationship with my mother. I consider my grandparents to be my parents. Because they are older than a lot of my friends parents I had to miss out on a lot of things. Because of their age it has been harder for me to relate to people my age. I know lots of people that go on vacations, and trips, and even to theme parks with their parents, as a family. I think to be a parent you must be physically able to give your child the life that normal children have. To play catch, go hiking, and do any other physical bonding with your child you need to be able to be more physical yourself. I feel horrible for children that have been born to parents that are in their 60s or 70s, because they might not be able to have that connection with their parents. The older the parents are, the more chance that the parents will pass away before the child is ready to go into the world themselves.

  19. Anne says:

    The oldest woman in the world to give birth died and left her 2 year-old children motherless. So, waiting much later not only has the hormonal “stuff” associated with it, but one’s mortality also increases with age…that’s just the way it is.
    I think people need to be realistic. If a woman waits till she is in her late 30s or 40s to have children, the reality is that she runs a higher risk of not conceiving or having trouble conceiving. Perhaps we as a society should rethink things and start extending our help to younger couples to help them become more financially stable, etc.
    As regards stability: not that I am one to think that financial planning and stability isn’t great. But it isn’t the end-game. There are families who are well-provided for, but who don’t have a lot of love, fun, and the other things that make a family a family. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?” That is also true on a family level.
    The following article makes some good points on this whole discussion: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/august/16.22.html

  20. Jane says:

    Fosterboys, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that having children into your 70’s is stupid and selfish. Children deserve to have their parents around for far longer than that! Also, I hope it wouldn’t matter that much to you what I may think of your life choices, it really only matters what you think of them. :)

  21. Christy says:

    While I completely understand that none of us is fit to decide what is best for another, I will say that there comes a certain point when it is time to factor in what is best for the child. Becoming a parent is a huge lesson in giving all of your self. You give up time, sleep, independence, sense of self, your home (believe me… if you could only see mine right now!), vanity, and at times… dignity! While I feel many older parents would probably be better suited for this, I will agree that there comes a point when the scales shift and it does become less about the child. Determining that friction point is very personal, there is no universal number. There is certainly a “too young”, and “too old” for every person. I will be less diplomatic and say that using the argument “time is not a guarantee” is not valid in my book. No, there is no promise that any of us will see our children through to adulthood, but to have a child MUCH later in life is to not even have the chance. Yes, we could all perish in a car accident tomorrow, but that does not mean I’ll be pushing the pedal to the metal from now on. I have known children on both ends of the spectrum: young parents and older parent. At the very extremes, I think they both suffer to an extent. To know your parents probably won’t see you marry, or have children is very sad, and it is a dark cloud marring your future. This is despite all of the associated health risks with a maturing reproductive system, there is the distinct possibility that your child will have to grow up much too fast. At what age should an offspring be expected to care for an elderly parent, or not have the support system that is parental guidance, or bury a parent? Something to certainly consider on this subject…

  22. nancy says:

    had my fifth baby at 44… ( oldest will be 18 tomorrow)

    definitely too old

    it’d be nice to get some sleep, but he is adorable

  23. Anne O says:

    To all who have replied, I thank you for your opinion. It was enlightening. I am a 45 yr old woman who is currently single without kids and would love to have kids. I would not want to have children without being married. That is my choice. If I do not have children I will continue to live a fulfilling life. I am satisfied. In my life travels, I have come to realize that no matter how man manipulates genes, genetic material, ovaries, or a woman’s uterus only God ultimately creates a child. God chooses our parents. Life is complex and to think that if we have children “at the right age”; “at a safe(r) age” it will somehow give our children a leg up or be better for them is trying to play God. God gives each person what they need in order for them to grow as a person. Sometimes that may include an older parent, a younger parent, a physically disabled parent, etc. I do think it is wise to consider the science available, but ultimately God is in charge. Let’s allow Him to do His job.

  24. My dad was a disabled veteran and 30 when I was born and mother 24. We went from riches to rags to okay for the most part. Life was hard on us all yet I wouldn’t have wanted any other parents because, to me, stellar parents. World’s best and #1 parents forever in my heart. Very hard on me to lose dad when I was 37 and mother when 48 and yet I’m blessed because some lose parents sooner and some never meet. I miss my parents and grandparents every day. That’s just in case my post sounded iffy. I’d be the first to say I have a few loose screws and I apologize if I dropped a couple here. Dr. Phil said today “everyone doesn’t agree on any position” as will likely be the case on this topic. All the best to all. Sincerely, SEA

  25. FosterBoys says:

    Jane,
    I don’t agree with or understand a lot of things that people do. I’m also sometimes judgmental and critical in my heart and in my head. I just try to remember not to throw those stones…you know, with living in a glass house and all.
    BUT, I apologize for calling you out on your opinion. It’s exactly what Dr. Phil was asking for.

  26. Susani Sacca says:

    WOW so many different views..heres mine

    18 years ago I had my tubes tied. I swore never again. I was in a marriage that was going down the drain and actually at that point even having 3 children I didnt know what true love was or having a marriage that was equal. It took alot of therapy and getting sober and working 12 steps to see patterns in my life..The original abuse wasnt mine to own but there after contiueing it was…

    Long story way too short 3 years ago I finally met the man of my dreams who never had a child, me now being 45 he is 44 we qare so stable and now my kids are flown and married and 2 are college bound I AM READY TO IT AGAIN for the first time knowing what true love now really means…

    WOW the only was this is at all possible would be thru IVF and I do believe its like 25K something like that. I hate needles, and it would probaly be like needles and hormones and then they go in and try and harvest and put together and implant wow but I would love to do this and go thru this for the love of my life.

    OK so I am 45 but mentally most times I am like 21 and my body is now fit no physical problems.

    If GOD BLESSED US THIS WAY think 46 years old flash forward 20 years I would be 66 years old when this sweet baby would be two years in college and I would still be young enough after that to travel the world..needles do freak me out though so somebody would have to inject me OH BOY!~ HELP ME.
    xox
    S

  27. Pam says:

    I think it isn’t for society to say. It really is up to the family, mom/dad to be. I mean I personally think having a child before you’re 21 is not right but that’s just my opinion and it wouldn’t be right for me to enforce my opinion on to someone else. I will say that my first child was born when I was 26 and my last child when I was almost 38 and I am much less energetic with the last than I was with the first – but I’m much calmer and experienced with the last as well. Which one is more important? I think they both matter…a mix of both would be my best case scenario – not too young and not too old!

  28. C. Lawrence says:

    I think that as long as the potential parents are aware of the risks during the pregnancy, there isn’t anything wrong with an older woman becoming pregnant. I know of several grandparents who’ve raised (or are raising) children and those children are fine.

  29. Shelley says:

    There are significant risks to having a child when one is older. This applies to both men and women. As we age, we slow down physically and the older we get, the faster our cells denigrate.

    A child born to a woman who is 60 will be 18 when that woman is 78 years old. I can’t imagine going through my teen years with a mother who is old enough to be my grandmother. I would think the child would worry about her mother’s health and a woman of 78 doesn’t tend to have the same energy or fitness at someone who is in her 40s/50s with a teenager. This is clearly not true for every person, but it is more the rule than the exception.

    My mother is 63 years old and she is raising my nephew who will turn 16 this month. She has had him since he was 8 months old. My mother has had several health scares in the last five years and I have had to deal with the aftermath of those with my nephew. He is scared she is going to die. No child should have to go through that. It is true that a child can go through that with a parent of any age, but the older a person is when they have a child, the more likely it is. Why not lessen the emotional impact of disease/death on a child as much as that is possible?

    Having seen what my mother has gone through raising a teenager in her 50s/60s, I wouldn’t wish it on the mother OR the child. It’s beyond difficult for both. There is a reason God built our bodies to reproduce at a certain age and to be unable to later in life. The cycle of our lives is such that we have children at a certain age and then enter our twilight/Golden years to enjoy the fruits of our literal labor.

  30. Christa says:

    I think it’s dangerous to let anyone say that it’s too LATE to have a child biologically.

    I also think it’s too dangerous to limit a doctor’s ability to practice medicine.

    I THINK that this is a topic best left to a woman, her uterus, and her doctor…

    Legislating an appropriate age for sterilization is a slippery slope I am not willing to ski on. Freedom comes with consequences, and as American’s we are all free to make the choices that lead to reward or catastrophe. I don’t want anyone to “save” me from an experience that I would choose on my own.

  31. Lisa VanderKloet says:

    I don’t know much about the physical implications of childbirth at an older age. But in terms of becoming a parent in early 40s, I feel it is not too old. I know people who have adopted at this age and they are wonderful parents. We are waiting to adopt a second dauhgter from China and by the time she gets here I and my husband will both be 40 something. At this age we are financially stable, I am able to stay home with the kids. We also realize how fast time flies and will spend quality time with the girls.

  32. Shelley says:

    Christa,

    We are all free to make choices that lead to catastrophe or reward for OURSELVES. But what about the child being brought into the situation? It’s one thing to tout personal freedom, but in this case another person is being brought into the equation, which destroys the argument that it’s about a woman, her uterus, and her doctor. There is another living person in that equation.

  33. Nancy says:

    I had my oldest child when I was 18, and my youngest when I was 43. My youngest child is now 5 1/2 yrs old, and if God would allow it, I would still have more children; I am now 49. Many of you may think I am crazy, but I am about to go back on clomid to try and have one more baby.
    Yes, I do think about having teenagers in my 50’s and 60’s, and I look forward to it. When I had my older children, I listened to my mom and grandmother about raising my children. Because of that, I did many things the wrong or uneducated way. Having my son at 43 was such a blessing, I am more relaxed, experienced, and I am in a hurry for one, taking no ones advice. I watch my son for cues to know when he is ready to learn something new.
    And yes, my son is more than perfect! He is so beautiful, so smart….he has the best memory of any child his age that I have ever seen, he is almost never sick. And yes, he is very spoiled. He is so proud to be an Uncle too. I have 5 grandchildren.
    Yes, having a child with special needs is a risk you take having children late in life, however, if you look at it in reverse…..the chances of having a healthy child are 97%. The risk of having a special needs child is only 3% higher than a women in her normal child bearing years.

  34. Tracey says:

    I think it depends on the woman and the circumstances. I did not meet the man of my dreams until after my 25th birthday and I did not want to have a child until I was with someone who would be a loving father and husband. When I found the man of my dreams, he had 3 children from a previous marriage. Two of his children moved in with us and they had some emotional and behavioral issues, so bringing another child into the mix was out of the question. We decided not to have a child until after his son turned 18. Now that all of his children are grown I am approaching my 40th birthday and have found out that I have fertility issues, which I would have had to deal with in my 20’s if I had chosen to have children then.
    It would have been ideal if I could have had children when I was young, but that was not in the cards for me. I have always wanted to have children and I was able to be a good step-mother to my husband’s kids, even if they are still struggling with the problems that have plagued them since childhood. Circumstances play a much bigger role than age from my point of view.

  35. Virginia says:

    Planning a child past the age of 45 is not a good idea, however, “change of life” babies happen and if it happens and you don’t believe in abortion, then there is no option but to have it. A lot of women just wait too long to begin thinking about planning a family and by 45 it’s probably too late to start because you are probably to set in your ways. I don’t think the argument, “It’s not fair to the child, you’ll die before they graduate high school/college” is a valid excuse. There are many parents who died at an early age or walked out leaving someone else to raise the child. In this day and age, you can basically do whatever you want, just be prepared to deal with the criticizm.

  36. Shelley says:

    Virginia,

    I think the argument that it’s not fair to the child because the parent could die before they graduate high school/college is very valid. Yes, a young parent can also die or leave the child, but if one is older, the likelihood is much higher of them dying of natural causes than it is for a younger person. Why raise the odds of leaving a child parentless by having them when you’re older?

  37. Jacqueline says:

    I think we need to look at why women are having babies later. I had my daughter at 38. I would have preferred to have had her earlier but due to having had a melonoma I had to wait 5 years to be sure I was free of cancer. I don’t think people choose to have babies late in life I think their circumstances dictate this. I also did not meet my husband until I was 31 so that also affected my decision. As I said I would have loved to had a child earlier but was not able. The maternal pull of a woman wanting a child is stronger than anything I have ever experienced. We need to not judge woman for their decision to start late but to encourage them for being the best most loving mothers they can be. Being a Mother is the hardest job I have ever done but is one that is the most rewarding.

  38. Paradoxis says:

    Reading further, I see this topic is linked to ivf. If the question is “should women over a certain age be allowed this technology?”, then I’d have to re-examine my initial response.

    I was replying to this blog with the assumption of it being about a woman who becomes pregnant “naturally” after a certain age.

    I have no idea what is wrong or right as far as this goes. What I, personally feel, is that the body knows what it can do. It’s another matter to artificial stimulate or force it to do what it no longer can do. I think the body – Nature, knows what it’s doing, and I guess that what I’m saying is that I trust that and for myself, don’t want to mess with it.

    But that’s just me. My opinion/thoughts/feelings on the matter are entirely personal and can change with time and experience. :)

  39. Erin says:

    Hi All:

    To all who responded to my post, I appreciate your opinions. Regardless of what you, and I think, we have no right to judge another women or men who choose tho have children later in life. Personally, I would never have a children in my 40’s, I think that is too old (for me) however, if a women wants to have a children in their 50’s and is able to then we, as a society, really has no right to judge what a person is able to do. The reason I say that is because we all age differently. Someone who is 50 could have more energy and takes better care of herself then someone who is 30. Look at Robin, she is 55, and most would agree is in great shape and in great health. Some has more energy and proably takes care of herself better then people I know in their late 20’s or 30’s. She is aging gracefully, and some people age better then others. That is why I think that we have no right to judge someone for when they choose to have children. Since we all age differently, who dictates how old is too old?

  40. Gabbi says:

    my mother was 42 years old when i was born.
    she was told she couldn’t have another child.
    my sister & i have a large age difference.
    i never got to know my grandparents because how old my mother was when i was born.

  41. Paradoxis says:

    Erin, again I thank you for your most recent post. I see things the same way you do.

  42. Ms. C says:

    I had my first child at 38. I know so many young mothers who financially can’t make it. I am a single parent and do not sit around worrying how old I will be in 20 years. Anyone who wants to have a child regardless of age should do just that. Who cares what others think. Just have fun.

  43. Tami says:

    Prior to modern medicine and all the interventions in fertility medicine, women were only able to have children the way mother nature intended. There is something innately “perfect” about this. Too much manipulation into fertility has brought about many children that perhaps would not have been born otherwise, but it seems like there may be a little too much of this going on these days. There is just something wrong with giving birth to octuplets at age 45 (or younger for that matter)!!

  44. Kathy says:

    Wow, I guess I would be seen as being selfish. I am 47 years old, and had 2 children at age 43 and 46 (my husband was 49 when my 1st child was born). My boys are a joy to my husband and I and we conceived without the use of fertility drugs. We would’ve had our children 20 years ago, but we did not meet one another until 2002 (married 2003). See, I would’ve never had a child in my 20’s or 30’s, not because I chose a career over marriage & children, but for the simple fact that I did not meet anyone that I could have a relationship with. My self-esteem was very low due to years of emotional and physical abuse by past relationships and homelife. My father left my mother with 3 young children to raise, and while he lived it up as an assemblyman at GM for 25 years, my mother had to take 2, sometimes 3 jobs to make ends meet without child support (this was in the mid-Sixties/Seventies). There were days she did without food and clothes so that we could have the basics. I vowed that when I get older & meet a man who loves me, that I will not have children without marriage. I did not want a child of mine to be without the benefit of a full-time, loving dad. Even though my so-called father was a jerk for leaving us, I still missed having him there for protection, for love, and now, to have him enjoy the benefits of having grandchildren. My husband was fortunate to grow up in a loving relationship and missed his dad very much, when he passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease a few years prior to meeting me. People who have loving relationships with both parents should appreciate it even more. This is the gift that my children have given (and continues to give) me every day. So don’t judge a person for having children later in life. There may be a good reason behind it.

  45. Janet says:

    My name is Janet and I have 4 children. I had 2 in my 20’s and one in my mid-30’s and one when I was 40. I had a few more problems with my last two then I did with my first 2. I hsd my first 2 with my first husband and my second two with my second husband. My last two were boys and both have learning problems and ADHD I don’t know whether my age had anything to do with the boys having theseroblems. I think if I had known that their life was going to be this diffcult I would have done more checking into what could happen. Don’t get me wrong I love my boys and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. After I had my last son, my health wasn’t the same. I gained a lot of weight with him and I couldn’t work while I was pregnant which added stress. Their Dad and I got a divorce after my last child was about a year old. I don’t know that I would recommend to have children so late in life. I would do a lot of soul searching and I would be praying about it and a very serious talk with my doctor. I’m currently 57 years old and my youngest son is 16 years old and sometimes I want to throw up my hands because of the stress of raising a teenager when you are soppose to be relaxing at this point in my life. So I guess I’m divided about how I feel about the subject.

  46. Valerie says:

    I waited to have children and have a 1 year old at 39 and one on the way. I could not be happier to have finally made the decision to have children. I feel that I have lived and done so many things that now I can focus solely on the children and not feel that I am missing out on things. I also feel that I have much more patience and am a lot more mature and comfortable making decisions. I do not feel that you should be having children much older than early 40’s since the time goes by so quickly and you will not be around for enough of their life. That is the only part that scares me. But I am very active and healthy and committed to staying that way and taking care of myself with everything that is in my control.

  47. Linda Rose says:

    I will be 63 in October. I had four children between the age of twenty and twenty five with my first husband. I remarried at 31 and so much wanted more children but my husband was practical and thought we had enough and of course he was right but that didn’t change how I felt. Then when almost forty- three we were asked to raise a grand son. This was a great joy and I had more experience and time for him. He has grown up as have the other children to be responsible adults.

    In my forties and fifthies I still had a lot of energy for children and even did baby sitting for neighbors. I would still be caring for children except it is other people who have decided I am too old-fashioned to take care of kids and don’t know anything!

    My mother left when I was born and my 67 year old grandmother took over the care of my two sisters and me . She stayed with us until I was 13. She was sick and had to move where some one could care for her. She died when I was 18. I needed her and missed her so much! I really had a hard time after that.

    Taking care of and raising children is possible when older but is a bit different than actually giving birth at an older age. Just the physical stress on the a woman’s body is difficult during pregnancy at any age but more so on an older body. Whether you give birth or raise someone elses child at an older age the fact remains you could be on the end of life just when the young adult child really still needs you for guidance.

    Women try to act younger these days but you are what you are biologically and can’t turn back to a younger age. It is easy to deceive oneself especially if you look and act younger than you are. But that doesn’t change the truth of your age.

    I am thankful my Grandmother was there when my sisters and I needed her and I loved her very much. Still I wish I could have had a normal family with a young mother and father. My dad was 40 when I was born. My own children didn’t have the privilage of having grandparents to love them either. They missed a lot.

    Right now if I was needed to raise a child I would do it the same as my grandmother did for me and many grandmothers have done.It is better to have an old surrgate parent than none at all. But I would nor intentionally have a baby at this age just because I know how hard it is to lose parents and grandparents ,who acted like parents, at a young age.

    My mother and father-in-law had four children in their twenties and a surprise one when she was almost 45! That last one is 16 years younger than her last brother. When both parents died she was only 43 but her brothers and sisters were in their fifthies and sixties! Chances are in the next twenty years she may lose her siblings too. Also her own children lost both grandparents while they were young.

    Anyone deliberately thinking about having children in their late forties, fifthies and sixties should think about these things. It really isn’t fair to the children and can make their lives unnessarily difficult.

  48. Peggy Turner says:

    My husband and I had two daughters before turning 25. We talked for years about trying for a boy. (My husband’s father had even asked me months before his death to give his son a son). I told him I would be willing to have one more.
    Suddenly the years had past and both my husband and I were turning 40. I knew the decision had to be made now. We went for it and had a beautiful boy at the age of 40. We look at him so differently. We know this is it and we cherish every moment with him. My daughters think he is wonderful too. I know if something happens to me my son will be taken care of by his sisters. They actually told us
    this is what they wanted. We don’t regret our decision.

  49. Christa says:

    Shelley,

    While I appreciate that sentiment, I still don’t want the government to sanction an appropriate age for sterilization. It’s scary, and gives too much power to the government.

    What we need to promote is education, and in the end….some people will choose to have a child later in life no matter what you feel. There are many people who have children, who in mainstream views, have no right to have children. Where does it stop? You can’t give the government control over an issue like this because the line will get more and more blurry.

  50. Shelley says:

    Christa,

    Nowhere did I say that the government should have control over sterilization at a certain age. I never mentioned the government ANYWHERE in my posts on this topic. I’m coming from the viewpoint that if one is going to have a child later in life, one needs to consider certain things from the child’s viewpoint rather than one’s own selfish desires.

    Fertility clinics generally have a cut-off for accepting patients and I support that. There is a reason our bodies stop allowing us to make and sustain babies after a certain age and I think it’s wrong to manufacture what our bodies will not do for us in terms of bringing another person into the world. It’s one thing for someone to become pregnant in their 40s, but when you do it in your 50s and 60s, you are inviting a host of problems both medically and otherwise for yourself and your child. I have seen some of this in action with my mother raising my nephew. It’s a rough road to raise a teenager in your 60s for both the parent and the child and it’s a road that should be VERY carefully considered.

    Giving the government control over this was never part of my comments and I’m not sure where you’re getting that.

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