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August 11th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Age and Childbearing


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. Sabrina says:

    It’s more than just the “health” of the mother. I was taught that as parents, you want to provide the best start in life possible. As well as provide to the best of your ability for their continued mental, physical & emotional success as they grow (and beyond).

    Irrefutable – our eggs degrade as we age (sometimes much earlier than 40’s), leading to proven increases in birth defects. In addition – most older women are at the point in their careers that to take off time for their child (whether post-delivery, or Dr appts/sick days), is committing career suicide.

    In addition – there’s just the matter of energy. You may feel fine now, but you WILL get tired more easily, and slower as you age – and if it’s at the time the child wants you to throw the ball around, or help her w/ playing house – you can more easily just not have the energy after working all day. To top it off – do you want to be sitting in the bleachers of their HS or college graduation, needing assistance due to age? And what about grandkids? The older you are, the less likely you’ll be around, much less able to participate with them.

    I couldn’t get pregnant (even with help) at 25. Luckily, a last-ditch effort of Chlomid resulted in my son @ 27. I’m now almost 36. I’ve had 1 relationship break off due to my firmness that I won’t have another child at this late stage (plus medical issues during delivery & post-partum). Ce la vie! At least I am likely to be healthy & energetic for him, and based on family history, have a reasonable chance to see 1 or more grandchildren.

  2. Shelley says:


    You bring up an interesting point regarding career issues that I don’t think anyone else has addressed. It is true that the older one is, the more established in their careers they are and deciding to have a child at an older age can derail that.

    That is just one of many, many issues present in this discussion and I thank you for bringing it up.

  3. Christine says:

    Hi Dr. Phil,

    All mothers want to be the best mother they can be. That being said, how can you be a good mother to your child if you are using a walker trying to catch up to them? I am the mother of a 3 year old, who is hyperactive. I am currently pregnant w/ my second child at 25. We aren’t really in the best place right now to have another baby, but my husband is 10 years older than me and we wanted to have another child before he was too old to help and enjoy their energy and vitality. Do I think my husband is old now? No, but it is a proven fact that sperm quantity and quality decreases after age 35. I didn’t want to take a chance of bringing a baby into this world knowing that I haven’t given it the best chance it could have.

    I do not understand spending tons of money on fertility drugs if you are out of the range of normal child bearing age. If you want a child at such a late age I think you should look into adoption. I know some people have trouble adopting at a late age, but if you have the money and the time then there are children who need adopting every where in the united states.

  4. Kay says:

    I had a child at the age of 22 and a child at the age of 41. Both children are in good health and I am having a ball with both of them. Just make sure that what ever age you are that a child is what you want and can handle.

  5. Jen says:

    I took biology into consideration when I decided to have my first child at 20. You only get one go at this life. A girls starts losing eggs at 9-13 years of age. Thats when she should start thinking about how many children she wants to have, when and under what circumstances. Instead, our education system combined with media has her thinking mostly about what she wants to be when she grows up, how much money, men and plastic surgery she hopes to get, instead of what she allready is, what she allready has, what she is designed for, and what’s wasting away.

    But to all you older girls who want to have kids ,and can do it naturally, well do it!
    It’s your body and it’s your child. Do what you want, live your life and dont let anybody tell you you’re too old.

    As for taking drugs at an older age to have children. This dosn’t apply to every situation but, I think it is unnatural and stupid to take medication to prevent pregnancy for the majority of your fertile years just so you can live up to the media-pushed ideal of going through college, starting out a “career”, and having tons of money before you try to have a child. Then, spending all that money, that you earned, so you can force your body to do something it would have done naturally if you had just skipped the student loans and draining job and got started on your most important job a little earlier.

  6. YM says:

    Do older women necessarily have less energy or time (due to career commitments) to have and to raise children? Some of the most active and accomplished women I know are well beyond their 50s and 60s. I myself am a 37-yr-old woman with three degrees, now working towards a fourth. I’ll be 41 years old by the time I’m finished, and finally ready to have a child. Although I might have passed the average age for women to have children, I’ll be in a very good position both educationally and financially to finally settle down and to have a family.

  7. Karen says:

    My name is Karen and I am 42. I was the woman on the NYC season premiere who had twins, is single and manages a global consulting firm. There are pros and cons to having children young and also having children at an advanced maternal age. At 42, I am well established in my field and able to give my children so much that I did not have as a child. I am in a good place financially. I was not there when I was younger and less established. At this age I can give my children opportunities that I did not have as a child. They will be able to see so much of the world that I did not see at a young age. The drawback is that I am older and have a lot less energy. All nighters with the babies are harder at this age than at a younger age. I was so fortunate in that I was able to get pregnant on my first try at 40 and delivered my healthy twins at 41. I know many women who were not as fortunate. I would encourage women who are serious about having children not to wait too long. While I was lucky, there are many who are not as lucky. Thank God for my beautiful children. Karen

  8. Dawn says:

    If not for the technology this woman would not have been able to have children due to nature taking care of that. Sometimes playing God is not the right thing to do. Technology was suppose to help those who couldn’t concieve and start a family at a resonable age. I had my first one at 34 and can’t imagine doing it any older than that. I think it is selfish to have a baby knowing you won’t be around to watch the child grow up.

  9. Rebecca says:

    I did not get married until I was 32 years old. My first child was born at 36 and my second at 42 years old. I was suppose to get my tubes tied but I had a fever so they could not. I had my third son at 45 years old and he is a real blessing but would I deliberately have a child at 45? No I would not have chosen that. However, I am in good health so I am glad I did it but it could have turned out very badly had I not been in good health. Being pregnant at that age takes a toll on your body and getting only two hours sleep is difficult. I will be in my sixties when this child graduates high school and I think about that. No regrets but I would not have deliberately planned it.

  10. Angela McIntosh from Ct says:

    Hi my name is Angela McIntosh I’m from Ct.I think as long as women are healthy they should be able to have children at any age.Their are some young mothers around my age that should not have children because they are unstable and can’t handle parenting.But we should also remember that when our parents were younger they didn’t have any means of birth control so they were having babies at all different ages.No matter if you are old or you anything could happen that you may not be there to raise your child.What about the mother’s who die in their twenties or thirties were they to old or young to have children;ask your audience that question.Like the lady said in the audience if women should not be able to have children in their older ages and their is controversy about it why is there not any controversy about men having babies in their fifties and older.I know my aunt was born when my grandfather was in his sixties and her mother in her thirties but both parent’s died bout time she reached five years old.Thank you for letting me voice my opinion.Again this is Angela from Ct…….

  11. Sarah says:

    Our bodies were designed to have children within a certain time frame. When we extend that with science and try to do God’s job, we are going to have problems. When a 60 or 70 year old woman has a baby she is putting her body, her emotional health, and her childs needs at risk. Personally I could never go through in vitro fertilization because I think it would be too emotional for me, but I think it’s an amazing process for a family that can’t get pregnant. If you can’t get pregnant b/c you are in menopause, maybe having a baby is not for you.

  12. Sandy Smith says:

    Dr Phil,
    I very rarely feel personally attacked while watching your show, but I was so hurt by the remarks from the women who were against older women having babies. For the life of me,I can’t understand how anyone can possibly think that they have the right to pass judgement on other women and their decision to have children later in life. No two situations are ever the same, and there are countless variables that affect our lives.
    I had my first chid at 27, the second at 32. We thought we were done, but were unexpectedly blessed once again, and my last was born when I was 37. Are there more challenges? Of course! Do I get tired faster? Yes, I do…but there are so many positive changes this time around. I have a lot of experience to rely on, so I don’t phone our Pedatrician at three in the morning any more, and I have a lot more patience at this stage in my life. I have learned to cherish life so much more as I got older, and I can see the content and self asurance in my son’s eyes each and every day.
    Too many people are too quick to pass judement on us, and many have the insensitivity to ask me if I am his Grandma!! With so many women having babies later in life, why don’t people think before making such age assumptions?
    Having children is about the love you have for that child, not your age.

  13. Sheryl says:

    I think it’s ridiculous to say that if we limit the age of motherhood then men should have vasectomies at 50. If women were supposed to continue to reproduce well into their seventies then nature would allow for it instead of changing our bodies. There is a reason that women go thru hormonal changes, menopause, egg degradation etc. It’s the cycle of life. We live in such a world of self gratification, we fail to consider the impact on others. Saying that the children are surrounded by family members does not replace the mother. I think it is stupendously selfish.

  14. angel says:

    I just watched the beginning of todays episode on what age is too old for women to have kids. I have to say I was astonished on some of the things that came out of the mouth of the women. Who are we to tell someone they are too old to have a kid? Just because they are 66 or 80, doesn’t mean nothing. Dr. Phil stated that it shouldn’t be left to the community to take care of their child when they are gone and someone stated that health wise it’s not good, and that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with the child, and that it will be hard on the kid when they go to school having a mom that old. If that’s the case how they look at it, then technically we should make all those at younger ages that we know will be unfit mothers, or that they can’t take care of their child on their own financially, physically, or mentally abort the baby before they have them. You can be 25 and have your first child and have serious medical issues that could kill you during birth or during the pregnancy, and you don’t know when you are going to die, you could leave the hospital after having your child and get killed. So in reality if that’s how they see it for older women having kids, then no one should have kids at all, because you don’t know when you are going to die, and most people now a days aren’t financially stable to raise a child. Look how many mothers are on welfare because they can’t take care of their kids alone. Our how many Dad’s out there keep fathering kids and do not help raise them. If you are going to look at one in one aspect then you should open your eyes to the whole kitten kaboodle I say!
    I’m 37, and I have no children. I long to have one of my own before my time on earth is done, and I’ve tried to get pregnant in the past but it’s never happened. Because of medical reasons it makes it very difficult for me to concieve, and if i happen to be 110 and get pregnant, I’ll be darned if I let some blow hole tell me I can’t or shouldn’t have a child because I’m too old or it’d be a burden on the community. But that’s just some of my thoughts on the subject!

  15. kathryn says:

    i don’t see anything wrong with an older mother as long as it is taken into account what will happen to the child.if it happens naturally great but to have invetro at the age of 60+ you do it for yourself, you are not thinking about the child. a child wants to have their parents around to see them grow up, not for them to die when the child is 2 or 3 years old. you have to think of that when it comes to having a baby. i did even at 44years old.it doesn’t matter how big a family they have or how many aunts and uncles the child has they want mom and dad.

  16. Kim says:

    To discuss this issue is to label it. And by labeling we have “fodder” with which to tear the issue apart. I have no desire to correct another person’s behavior regarding having babies whether they have 1 at 100 or 100 at 1. We as a society are too interested in “fodder” and it is my observation that world is so out of control because of the control freaks in it. By definition, the ego is nothing without judgment – so lets not give the ego ‘fodder’.

  17. melinda mckenzie says:

    my mom is 46 years old she has 10 kids the oldest is 27 the youngest it 5 all of out names start with m its so cool to have a huge family… our names or MARCUS,MELINDA,MEREDITH,MICHAEL,MARTY,MELIAH,MONTY,MICHAELA, MARYBETH,MELILINA WE ALL R VERRY CLOSE!!!!!

  18. Kami Brillowski says:

    Hi Dr. Phil my name is Kami and I just got done watching your show today. Regarding the age of having children, I have been in this situation. My mother had me when she was 43 and she died when she was 60 of cancer and my father passed away at 69. One benefit was I never got grounded or was disciplined but I respected my parents, however growing up my parents didnt get to do a whole lot with me due to thier age and my mom being sick. I dont agree with older moms having children in that matter. It was tough on me losing my mother at such a young age and them not being able to do all the events that all my other friends parents were able to do.



  19. Morgan says:

    I believe that there is more to parenting than being happy and healthy. Parents, both mothers and fathers, need to look at the lives their children are going to have. Becoming a parent at an older age, in some cases, much older, increases the risks of leaving children orphaned, feeling alone, and without the guidance of their parents. It is not about the parents when it comes to the situation of older parents, it is about the children. (I believe everything should always look at the best interests of the child).

    In my situation, my father was married before, had a family, and has two children with his first wife. Dad just turned 66 last month, and my mom is only 46. I am an only child to my mother. My brother is 41 and my sister is 44. Between the two of them, I have a nephew that is 18, two nieces that are 8 and 9, and a new baby nephew who is only 4 and 1/2 weeks old. To me, these are the perks of having an older father. On the flip side, I have grown up with the constant worry of whether or not my father would be around for milestones in my life, like he was for my much older siblings. Prom, college graduation, wedding, the birth of my children, are just some of the things I worry about. Just this past week, my dad was rushed to the hospital, and we almost lost him three or four times. I’m only 19. Majority of his friends have passed away already, and my fear of my father not being around increased immensely.

    I realize that people can die for numerous reasons at any age, but with age, this risk increases. My father was 47 when I was born, and I know how scary it is for me, to think that someday he may not be here, and I may not be that old. Will my children meet him? Will he get to walk me down the isle on my wedding day? These questions constantly go through my mind. Mainly about my father because of his age, but I don’t know what I would do if I was in this situation with both of my parents. Also, the age difference between my father and I is 47 years, imagine it being 66 years. Having children at such a late age, as good as guarantees that the child or children will be deprived of having their parent or parents in the most part of their lives.

    I don’t think it is a question of whether women and men should be allowed to have children at a late age, but whether or not is it ethical or fair when taking the child into consideration.

  20. Shirley says:

    I was listening to the comments about children born to older mothers. I am one of those children although my mother was 43 and my father 45 I was raised as an only child only to have 3 sisters and 2 brothers, my oldest sister having a 2 year old when I was born and a month later had another baby. I resent the fact that I was raised with my mom and dads grandchildren. As I got older my babysitter (with my parents at home) was the television. I would sit and watch television while they both slept behind me. I can’t imagine someone being born to a parent or parents older than that. I was always sent outside to play when my brothers and sisters were in the house with mom and dad. I still at 56 have issues with these facts. I have no place in the family, am I a sister or a niece and where do I fit in. I actually don’t my sibling next to me when I was born was 9 and I can’t even think about the bond that a child would have with a sibling that was older than that. I have never bonded with my sisters at all, I bonded to a point with my brothers and their wives some but I still don’t think I have the bond that I would have had if I were born closer to my siblings. They have a bond together and I’m just there to the point that they forget I am a sibling. This is just something to consider when a child is born to older parents.

  21. Laurie Frailey says:

    I have to agree with the good doctor. In no way should the government be authorized to stipulate when or at what age is appropriate for women to conceive. However, with that said, I am completely mortified that women and men in our society are so selfish.
    Everyone in society wants what they want when they want it without regard for anyone else. Children when they are brought into this world should have certain guarantees; food, shelter, love. When one puts their wants at the age of 66 in front of the child they are nothing but being selfish. These children are now without a mother but some say that is okay because now a community can raise them? Where is it that we are too selfish to understand that no matter what “we” want sometimes it just isn’t in the cards and we must accept those things.

  22. Lisa says:

    My grandmother took custody of me when I was 10 years old and she was 76 years old. She just pasted away last year at the age of 97 years old. I never was in trouble at school, with the law, and got good grades. I graduated from high school, got married and now at the age of 33 years old have a beautiful 4 year old girl. I’ve had very successful good paying jobs and I own my home & car. If it wasn’t for her (my grandma an older woman raising a young child) I would not be the woman I am today and no telling how my life would have turned out. She taught me to appreciate life!

  23. Angela says:

    It can all depend on the situation. Some older ladies should not have children, just because they can not be there for their children during certan times. I can see to have a child to carry the famly name and inheritance. In that case there needs to be taken care of with the rest of the family, like brothers and sisters. Maybe, also a woman might want to feel pregnancy before she dies and knows of someone whom can not have children. There can be many other things also. On the other hand if she has already had children, she needs to be avaliable to her grand children.

  24. lois says:

    I do believe it is a selfish act on the womans part to have a child too late in life, she certainly is not thinking about any child that is brought into the world, the most important figure in a young childs life is his mother, and if the mother is old, ill or other ailments that come with age, it affects the childs mental stability, as well as physically, i am in my fifties now and i would’nt even think of getting a dog at this age, i want to be around for the dogs life or be it a child, i would want to be there to make sure it is properly taken care of, not leave child nor beast to the mercy of someone else, not fair at all to the child or pet.

  25. Twiggy says:

    For a mother, anything over the age of 45 is too old and for men anything over the age of 50 is too old. That’s my opinion on the matter.

  26. Kris says:

    Age has little to do with parenting, it is faith, common sense,compassion, empathy stability, and LOVE! Although I personally do not agree with 50 year olds and above having babies, I think they can do a very good job raising a child and be an effective parent! As the parent of 6, three bio.31 28 and 22, and thee adopted 8 and two 3 year olds, I can say you have a lot more life lessons as an older parent to fall back on and teach! When people say you are older and more prone to death and illness etc, etc, I do have to say not one of us, whether we are 20, 30 , or 50 we are not guaranteed one more day on this earth! I loved being a younger parent but love being an older one too!
    P.S. there are 200,000 kids in foster care waiting to be adopted,they would love younger or older parents!!

  27. Sara says:

    I am a 56 y.o mother of 10 y.o. twin boys. I have M.S. but I am a better mother than I would have been in my 20’s. I am mature, patient, kind, non-judgmental and do not expect them to be perfect.

    I was a lawyer for children with disabilities and find it too bad that you chose to start with the issue of older mothers ( not fathers) and paired it with the challenges of mentally ill children who happened to have older parents. Mental illness is challenging to anyone, it isn’t as a result of late pregnancy. In fact, a younger person might not have the maturity or knowledge to keep a bad situation from turning worse.

    My “old” best friends foster & adopt mentally & physically challenged children that no one wants, younger parents have given up or had removed. The dad is quadripalegic and their children have full joyous lives as do mine. The major difference I see in our children is that they reflect my maturity in thought & action and have learned to embrace peple’s differing physical & mental abilities. You would be hard pressed to find any selfishness or deprivation in our rich “old” lives.

  28. priscilla pinto says:

    Hi Dr. Phil,
    I was very surprised at the woman who seemed to have alll the answers and for some reason I suspect that she does not have children. This sounds like book sense and lack of common sense and I expect lack of exposure in rearing children. There is a reason women are unable to bear children after a certain age. I agree with the people who say this is a selfish act. First of all–when you have children at those ages aren’t you putting the child at health risks before they are even born?? We live in a very selfish world. Children need 2 parents, not one. I heard nothing about a male parent. You have so many shows on dis-functional children and I don’t think people see beyond the cute little baby stage. I have a 10 year old grandson and I would raise him IF I had to but it certainly isn’t something I want to do. As far as family finishing the job—forget it. There is a shortage of biological grandparents as it is. Who are these people kidding. Morality is in the toilet–children are de-sensitive to what’s right and what’s wrong. The system tells you what you can and cannot do with your kids. The generation I see hardly knows the Lord’s prayer. And I’ve done enough foster care to see that too many people do not know what to do with their kids when they reach the ” NO ” stage. As usual, there are some successful stories but the odds are against it. There is NO way an elderly mother can keep up with a child as that child grows up. It’s hard in the best of circumstances. Tell these women to get a life and if they are so programed on having a child—tell them to become a foster parent. The need is off the charts and they have them from birth on up. PS–And when you get tired or can no longer cope with them–guess what–you can give them back. People need to learn to grow old gracefully. Growing old is enevitable–growing up is optional. Thank you, Priscilla in R.I.

  29. telindril says:

    I was a child of older parents. They had me when they were 40. Not to old by today’s standards, but coupled with their undiagnosed depression, they just didn’t have the energy to raise me. I surely felt the lack. They were too tired to do things with me, too tired to take much interest in what I was doing, too tired to even notice the problems I was having. I’m sure that there are vital 40 and 50 year olds that could handle this but I’m sure that there are many people who can’t. I’m approaching 50 and I know I don’t have the energy (mental and physical) to be able to devote the necessary energy and attention to a young child. Many, many times, while growing up, I wished they’d never had me.

    They loved me but I can’t express the pain that I felt while growing up when I felt more like a burden than a joy.

  30. Sharon says:

    Having a child in your 40’s is a risk, but having a child after that is more than a risk. You cannot make a comparison between having a child at 45 with having a child at 65.

    It shouldn’t be necessary to list the numerous reasons why.

    I shake my head at the lack of common sense exhibited in many of the responses.

  31. Roberta says:

    I TOTALLY disagree with Dr. Phil’ comment that women’s bodies should NOT be regulated by the government…I think they should be. I think that this country has completely lost touch with the concept of “Personal Responsibility”…especially when it comes to the “entitlement” programs (i.e. welfare, W.I.C., food stamps, etc). Whether it’s because of a woman’s age or her financial situation, if she can’t afford to pay & care for a child herself for an 18+ year commitment, then she has no business having one! I’d love to have lobster for dinner every night, but I can’t. Why? Because I can’t afford to, and I must live within my means. Yet a large segment of women, in this country, reproduce unlimited litters of children and live off my (AND YOUR) tax dollars without any restrictions or controls. Don’t you have any other personal need for the tax dollars deducted from your pay check, rather than to pay for someone else’s chosen life style? You don’t need that money for your bills, your family, your retirement? There are too many methods of birth control available for there to be any excuse for an unplanned pregnancy. The self-supporting working class had better wake up because this country is going bankrupt from these entitlement programs.
    Also, I wonder about that woman mentioned who gave birth @ 64 & died @ 66…did her pregnancy stimulate her estrogen production thereby giving her the cancer that killed her? That was an irresponsible decision, on her part.

  32. Kathy L says:

    My ex and his late wife had two children late in life. She was 50 when the youngest was born. When he was about a year old, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. It is possible that the hormones she took to get pregnant and the pregnancy hormones had and effect on the cancer. The little one has issues with separation. She died when he was 5. I think that anyone considering having a child late in life should consider all of the possibilities and I believe that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

  33. Karen says:

    I do agree that to make laws about who may and who may not have children is way out of line. And I don’t believe age has anything to do with what kind of parent they will be. There are many grandparents out there raising their grandchildren and doing a wonderful job. I also believe however that a womens body goes through menopause and becomes unable to carry children for a reason. All of nature, all around us works the way it’s suppose to for a reason. I realize it “isn’t fair” that men can still procreate at most any age but some people need to get over it and understand that life isn’t always fair. It isn’t a man made law that we can change, it’s “Mother” Nature doing what she knows is best. We, the general populous, may not understand the reason for women going through menopause at the age we do but you just don’t mess with mother nature. That’s not to say that women who are of childbearing age who can’t have children should not be helped, I’m talking about the fact that ALL women, when they get older, will go through menopause and will be unable to become pregnant. It’s just a fact of life.

  34. molly says:

    I cannot justify nor rectify for other women on how old is too old to give birth. But in my world, I’ve decided that I would not bear any more children after turning 26. I am 26 right now and already have 4 children ages from 8,6,3,1. It has been a busy life as a mom for me, but it was a choice that my husband and I made. I know how much love and attention kids need from their parents and you can only give so much attention, let alone the husband also. My point is that I just didn’t want to be carrying a baby around in my 30’s,40’s, or 50’s. By then my kids would have grown. Thanks for the show Dr.Phil!

  35. orchid says:

    I just wanted to say, in response to some of the comments on the show.

    … the women who are older have the kids and then what happens when they die..”

    my comment on that is what happens to anyone’s children when the parents die, for whatever reason, at whatever age, it is part of life (dying), you can’t ban women from having children because they are going to die… death is an eventuality…
    some people put sperm away knowing that they may die and not be able to have children.

    Cathy said, “.. I don’t know, if this lady, had she survived, would have a had the energy to raise these kids and when they get into high school, all the challenges, that parents face, whether your children are perfect little angels.. there are high school challenges and their such hugh age differences…”

    What I have to say about Cathy’s comment is.. there are so many young children today who have kids and do not raise them.. who usually ends up raising the child of a young unmarried mother (or father) .. it is usually that person’s parent.. and they are older… what usually happens is the parent raises their children and their children’s children and so on and so forth… and some of them do a pretty darn good job of it.. and while they are doing it, no one (not even their children) are worried about them dying.. their children are usually out having more children for them to raise..

    … Angela said, “I have a year and a half year old and it’s hard enough for us to take care of her and I’m 28 I couldn’t imagine trying to do it .. 66… and I think it’s just very selfish.. ”

    Angela’s is “28″ and “it’s hard enough for US” meaning there are two parents there raising one child… I know women much older than 66 who are raising their grandchildren and they are doing it by themselves… there is no US… and I’m also wondering… when most young people have their children.. and they want to go back to work and they cannot afford child care, who do they bring their children too.. hmmmm.. let me guess.. if they have a mother.. I guarantee you they try to get her to keep them… and I’ve never heard them ask, “do you have the energy to take care of your grandchild?” I wonder who is being selfish then? The grandmother who has raised all of her children and now would like to enjoy the last days of her life without watching or raising her grand children or her grown adult child asking her to watch her grandchildren or raise them.

    I think, with so many young adults thoughtlessly having children without having a job, or a place to stay, etc. etc. is very selfish and for someone who is settled has the means, experience, money, time and medical coverage to take care of a child, that is not selfish…. they actually gave it some thought before becoming pregnant unlike some of the young adults today who may just go out and get pregnant.

    I have an issue with that, “it’s just selfish” comment… how can it not be selfish for the young person to ask or allow their parents to raise their children and be selfish for the parent to want to have their own child to raise.

    A lot of children who were raised by their older mother may say, “thank god she was there”…. and the grandchildren probably feel the same way too…

  36. Tina says:

    My mother had me at 42 in the 50’s. She had 2 children after this. I feel blessed
    to have her at 99 today. She was the real MOM…She was at every event,
    every game, made the popsickles for all the kids in the neighborhood.
    She was the best Mom ever….

  37. Rose says:

    God does not discriminate on childbearing age a woman can be. Look at Sara and Abraham for that fact in the Old Testament. Abraham was called the Father of Nations.

  38. Tina says:

    I think you have the same chance with a younger Mom or older Mom. In this
    day and age, anything can happen. Young mothers in some cases have not grown

  39. Tracy says:

    Hi Dr. Phil! I’m a big fan of your show, and have been watching it for a while now. I had to comment on the beginning of your show today. I really get angry at people who think they have a right telling “mature women” when they can or can’t have babies! I had a high school friend who couldn’t believe I had a child at 40 years old. This made me think about who has the right to tell anyone when they can start having children? I had my son at 35 years old, and my daughter at 40 yrs old. I am a healthy woman, and my grandmother lived until she was 96 years old, and had 6 children of her own! I was not ready to have kids in my 20’s when most people do. I understand some people don’t like when women make this choice, but it’s my life and my choice! I love my kids, and will do everything I can with them and for them, and nobody can change my mind! It makes me feel young when I play with my 5 yr old son, and when I make my baby girl laugh. People can’t believe I’m 40 yrs old, and that I look and feel good! My kids are the most important “beings” in my life , and I feel sorry for those viewers who can’t/won’t feel this joy!

  40. Bonnie says:

    As someone who feels that it is unfair for young parents to abandon their children to be raised by their grandparents (which is far too common nowadays), I find it hard to be in favour of women in their 60’s and 70’s using medical intervention to have children at such an older age. I think we should respect Mother Nature’s common sense in the case of childbearing women where the cut off is long before the 60’s and definitely long before the age of 77.

    If Dr. Bryant-Davis wants to celebrate life, she can throw a HUGE party for the 12,000+ children on the waiting list for foster care in my city and surrounding area (no, I do not live in a huge city like L.A. or New York). It should NOT be the community’s responsibility to raise your children for you if there is a common-sense reasonable expectation that you will die or otherwise become infirm before your children reach the age of majority. Mass production of homeless/abused/abandoned children is something the human race has always been good at. Dr. Bryant-Davis can throw another huge celebration on a planet with 6.5 billion people, that can adequately feed only 4 billion people with maximum crop yields. If these older women want a child so badly, let them adopt one of the many needy, orphaned children the world over (although I imagine there would be a huge outcry if any adoption agency allowed a 77-year-old woman to adopt a baby). But, no, this issue seems to be more about an elderly woman’s “want” to get pregnant, not so much long-term parenting of a child, adopted or otherwise.

    No, I do not think a woman should be told what to do with her body and I do believe in a woman’s right to choose, but by applying this same ideal to being unable to say “no” to a 77-year-old woman who wants the right to get pregnant, are we not taking an extreme argument and foolishly trying to move it to the reasonable midway point of this debate? This is NOT even close to being a reasonable midway point. While I believe in a woman’s right to choose, I also believe that in extreme circumstances, a governing body needs to step in and apply some common sense where none is to be found. For example, the Octamon should have been told “no” and not impregnated with an additional 8 babies, totalling 14 children, when she wasn’t financially independent or mentally stable. I felt VERY SORRY for the Octamon’s parents – they really had their hands full and this was not fair to them! And what if the media had never caught wind of this story and people in droves didn’t come forward to provide all of this financial assistance and help??

    Dr. Bryant-Davis does raise an interesting comment about older men not being permitted to father children past the age of 50 and forced to get vasectomies, but again, I have to point out the reality of the world we live in. Common sense dictates that Mother Nature (i.e. human physiology) is often stacked against one gender and not fair. We know women’s eggs start to age after the age of 35 and men do not physically share in pregnancy. Aging sperm does not seem to present the same problems with as much statistical certainty as aging eggs. And, sorry to point this out, Mother Nature made physical pregnancy a one-sided thing and, as is often the case, it seems that women got the short end of the stick. Labour and delivery are rough on the human body and still a female-body-only experience. When men start getting pregnant, we’ll talk further as there will then be a more reasonable argument for this. If a man over the age of 50 marries a woman in her 30’s, is she to be prevented from getting pregnant? Also, it is important to point out that in the reality of today’s society, not just in North America, but the world over, it is often still unfair and one-sided, where the expectation is that women are left to do much, if not all, of the duties related to child-rearing. Yes, there are more “hands-on” fathers in these modern times, but tradition the world over is still the rule, not the exception.

    When you think that people need to get a license (and often take a course) before having the right to get married, maybe we should apply some of that common sense to an even more important area such as this. I’m coming from the viewpoint of someone who handled child abuse cases with the Justice Department in my area (and these children were not included in the 12,000 number I mentioned above). It seems that children’s future rights (not just the right to be born, but the right to be born well into a safe/stable environment) are not considered as much as they should be.

  41. MinervaKnows says:

    It’s incredible the amount of retrograde postings I’ve seen here. There are much worse problems than older women becoming mothers- being the child of a teenager (specially poor) is MUCH more detrimental to society. Besides, there are many cultures where the grandmother assumes the roles of primary caretaker and that does not seem to be a problem. If men can have children late in life, why shouldn’t women be allowed? The “nature knows best” theory does not apply, because if we only did what nature dictated, we would not take any medications, get dental work, and we would die in our 40’s like people did in the medieval times. We can’t be accepting of some scientific advances but not others if there are people that want to take advantage of them. I’m sure that the children of the older mothers are glad to be alive.

  42. Luz Ottens says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I am a child of an older woman. My mother had me in her late 40’s, 46 in fact, and as much as a adore my late mother, I regret the fact that I always had to defend the fact that she was my mother and not my grandmother. She was a wonderful mother but we had very little in common. I am 59 now and I have three children ages 32, 28 and 24 and I feel I have more in common with them than my Mom did with me. I also missed out in her seeing me marry and having my children. I missed that time with her and my children never had the pleasure of knowing her and enjoying her as a fantastic grandmother that she was to my older siblings children. I realize that women have a right to do what they want with their bodies but they must also think of the children they are bringing into this world and what their experiences will be without their mothers around. I missed my Mom during child birth of my 3 children and their growing up and they now tell me how much they would have loved to have her around as well as my Dad who died at age 93 and my children remember very little of him. Having children is a wonderful experience for any women but we must also think of this little lives we are bringing to life and what we are leaving them with. I love my Mom and Dad but I wish I still had them like many of my friends do because they were born to younger parents than I was. I feel I was cheated of many wonderful memories and times with them. It might sound selfish but that is the way I feel.

  43. Sharon Woolsey says:

    I had my fourth and last child at the age of 22. I am glad I had my kids when I was young and could take it. I would not have wanted to have a child even at the age of 30. I am 69 now and sure wouldn’t want to have a baby at my age, even if I could (which of course I can’t.) My youngest grandson is 13. Sometimes he is more than I can take for more than a couple of hours. It is beyond me why any woman beyond the age of 40 would want to have a baby.

  44. Barbara Kostiuk says:

    I use to ignorant about the idea of older people having children. I thought that sucks not have young parents but here I am at age 36 having my second child and plan on having more. I got married when I was 30 and had a harder time conceiving. So does this mean I am unworthy of being a mother I would say no and the time that I have already spent with my son has been amazing and I think he would agree as well. He doesn’t care how old I am he just wants love.The fact is it doesn’t matter what age you are when you have children as long as you have full intentions of loving that child while you are here. No one knows when we are going die. There are a lot of children and adults who have lost their parents and wish we could of had a little more time with them. Also not all of us have a easy time in getting pregnant and it can take many many years just to conceive let alone the have the baby. Some of us made need assistance with medical science to conceive at a older age which I agree with to a point. If you can afford and love those children you have then good for you (and I think we all know who I am talking about octamom ).

  45. Amelia says:

    I would have to say that there are much worse problems in society than the age women decide to have children. Older women i feel are much more prepared i feel than younger women to have children (i’m saying this as a 21 year old). And i feel that anyone who wants to have children, and is capable of having children should not be chastised in society when they are capable of being loving committed parents. my problem is with the technology being used to “make” babies. Technology i feel is used by scientists to play God. Dr Phil mentioned on the show that people were being saved by technology who had been badly injured in accidents, i refer to the case of Christian Rossitter a West Australian man who after becoming paraplegic had to fight a lawsuit for his right to stop eating and subsequently die. IVF doctor Dr Armellin was persued in a damages case by a lesbian couple when they gave birth to twins instead of one child. Instead of being grateful to the doctor or loving parents, the birth mother complained that she had felt “nausea” when pregnant and “pain.” I feel that anyone who can love children have the right to look after children, it is much better an older more mature, more responsible woman look after children than a young, pot smoking, abusive younger mum. But i do question the role that doctors are being pressed to play in this society. We saw what happened in jurassic park, and all the problems with political correctness are ridiculous. We humans do not have the right to play God just because we can.

  46. Jon says:

    I’m the youngest of 8 children, my mom was 39 and my dad was 47 when I was born. They were good parents, they knew more about parenting by the time I came along. On my dad’s side of the family there is a history of heart disease. My great grandpa died at the age 49, my grandpa died at the age of 43 and my dad died at the age of 58. I was 12 years old when I lost my dad. This had a great impact on me. I have five older brothers who tried to feel in, but I really resented that. My dad’s younger brother also tried to be in my life but he had a family as well. So spent my teenage years and young adult without really a father figure. My mom got colon cancer and died at the age of 60. I was 21 years old when I became an orphan. I really felt short-changed. When I got married they were not there, when I became a dad they were not there. My wife and I had two kids when we were in our 20s. When I was 41 my wife became pregnant. I felt guilty and that I was going to do this to a child of mine. My youngest is now 6 and I love him. But my experience has made more alert to what i should eat and that I should exercise. I think if someones actually plans to have a child in their 40s or 50s they should make sure their family history is long life and that they take care of themselves.

  47. Nelson LeDuc says:

    With regard to the woman in India who had children at such an advanced age, which is what started this whole discussion: the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one seems to be talking about is the sexist society that would make her go to such desperate measures to have a MALE heir, because females are so devalued that they cannot inherit from their own parents. This blatant and extreme discrimination against half the population of the world is a much more serious problem in my opinion than whether a woman in her 40s or 50s has enough energy to have a child.

  48. Ellen Robinson says:

    I do not think age defines the ability to have good parenting skills. As we know from past news, children have been emotionally/psychologically deprived, physically/mentally abused, and in some cases killed by their parents who are “appropriately” aged in their 20s and 30s.

    Neither training nor testing is offered to assure good parenting. We need to take training and tests for driver licenses, career licenses, and other permits; but not to show we know how to parent.

    Families encourage their newlyweds to have children, considered to be the next step after marriage, without regard to their readiness and knowledge about children and good parenting practices no matter what race, religion, nationality.

    Non-traditional mothers have, in their quest for children, been the ones to give the most thought about their capacity to raise a child. They need to consider their capabilities and resources in their desire to produce a caring person who will have their physical needs met and receive the love necessary to be emotionally and psychologically well. They are challenged at each step whether adopting or giving birth, by doctors, social workers, psychologists, and other professionals involved in the process of becoming a parent. More research on resources, books, and other information is done by non-traditional parents than the typical young couple. I was fortunate to have the guidance of the Single Mothers by Choice international organization and the reference book of the same name.

    I believe I gave more extensive thought and did more extensive soul searching regarding becoming a mom than the typical “appropriate age” mom. I gave birth at 50 and have a loving, bright, emotionally/psychologically well child. As he was growing up, many teachers tried to find things wrong with the child of this older single mom to no avail. I was not a permissive mom, not a very strict mom, but tried to mix my parenting skills to instill values I would desire a citizen of the world to have and would be proud of. He is far from perfect, but I do not worry about his character, integrity, or self esteem.

    I prepared, as any parents should, for the possibility of accidental death or circumstances of my not being available during my child’s growing years. I provided both a large term life insurance policy and a list of three willing parents in the event of my death or incapacity. This is something all parents should provide since age has nothing to do with unforeseen circumstances beyond our control. All the necessary resources are available to set up the safety of your children but few young parents even consider them. Maturity can be a valuable asset to raising children. Older parents can be more patient and their personal lives are not in conflict with younger persons needs in their teens and twenties. Perhaps there should be a minimum age set for parenting like there is for driving, drinking, job requirements, and running for a government position.

  49. Marva says:

    Dear Dr. Phil, watched your show and want to give you my comment. I am a 46 year young married woman, was blessed with my third child at age 44, have a 21 year old daughter and a 19 year old son from previous marriage. When I married my husband in 2005 there was no question about it, I was with God’s help going to give him a child, he never had children before. We had a misscarreage but few months later we were blessed with a healthy, loving, beautifull son. It was the most wonderful pregnancy one could wish for, without complications, yes we were aware that there could be higher health risks for baby and me, but we put our life in God’s hands and all was great, even my Obgyn, commented that my health was excellent and baby was great. And I would do it again, now I’m 46 and feel great my health is great thanks to God, and if he wants to bless us with a baby girl we will welcome her. I believe one is never too old to become parents, you just need to be ready to give love, care and never forget that with God all things are possible. Thanks for your great shows. Marva

  50. betty says:


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