Having Baby after 54 Sparks Debate on Late Pregnancy

Having Baby after 54 Sparks Debate on Late Pregnancy

Wednesday, 1 August, 2018 - 05:00
Brigitte Nielsen. AP file photo
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Actress Brigitte Nielsen has had her fifth child at 54, reopening debate on the growing number of women using IVF to have babies later in life.

Fertility experts say the average age of mothers is steadily rising across the world, with women increasingly turning to fertility treatments to extend their childbearing years. Some have renewed calls for women to prioritize having children in their younger and more fertile years, but others said health providers needed to take into account the pressures that led women to put off starting a family.

Catherine O’Brien, head of policy research at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), said: “We should trust women to make this decision for themselves. What we need is a healthcare service that supports their decisions rather than trying to cajole women into children at a time that’s not right for them,” Reuters reported.

Nielsen said she conceived using eggs she had frozen in her 40s, an increasingly popular choice among women seeking to extend their fertile years.

Given that the quantity and quality of eggs declines with age, most women trying to conceive in their mid-40s or above would be advised to consider using donor eggs taken from a younger woman.

A recent analysis of fertility treatments in 1,279 institutions across Europe found almost a third of births through egg donation in 2014 were to women aged 40 or over.

According to the Guardian newspaper, one Indian woman thought to be in her 70s gave birth last year using a donor egg. A case that promoted debate over the ethics of older women using treatment to conceive.

Richard Kennedy, president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies, said that pregnancies of women in their 50s or older “is not something that should necessarily be encouraged”, citing the heightened risks of cardiac and other health problems during pregnancy.

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