This topic of when to have a baby is a personal decision and yet very controversial. The Dr. Oz show covered this topic on the August 23, 2012 show. Today 1 in 5 women delay pregnancy until after age 35 and there has also been a 50% increase in women having children after age 40 for the past 10 years.
How old is too old?? Is there medical reasons on why we shouldn’t wait to have children? Many women have chosen to establish themselves in their careers and in their finances before starting their families. For some women it’s a matter of finding “The Right Partner” versus the “Right Now Partner.” The costs of home ownership continue to increase and so many couples have delayed starting their families in order to save money to purchase their first home. Having children is an expense, sometimes too much for young couples who are beginning their careers, So very often starting a family is shelved until “later.” When is “later?” For some it means after age 30, others it means after age 40. The following celebrities have chosen to wait until their late thirties and even forties to have children; Nicole Kidman, Julieanne Moore, Brooke Shields, and Halle Berry just to name a few. Dr. Oz conducted a survey of women on his website as to what they thought was too old to have a baby? He revealed the following statistics on his show; 13% stated that 35 was too old, 28% said 4o was too old, 34% stated that 45 was too old, 21% said 50 was too old, and 4% said you are never too old.
Basic biology states that as we age, our risk of infertility, miscarriage, and additional health problems associated with the later in life pregnancies increase over age 30 and dramatically increase over age 40. What about all of the reproductive technologies available? One woman on the show named Aribella stated that she has spent $90K on fertility treatments in order to get pregnant over the course of 2 years. The two years consisted of 3 IUI cycles with injectibles, 3 IVF cycles, and a pregnancy loss along the way. The cost may be prohibitive for some, and the length of time may be limiting for others, and the emotional turmoil cannot be understated as well. So what is it about our bodies that makes it so difficult as we age?
In our 20’s, we have a 50% chance of getting pregnant naturally. In our 30’s we have a 20% chance of getting pregnant naturally. In our 40’s we have a 5% chance of getting pregnant naturally. As women, we are born with somewhere between 2 and 3 million eggs, by the time we hit puberty we are down to 300,000 eggs. At age 40, 97% of the eggs are gone, they are not viable. This means that we have a very small chance of getting a healthy egg to maturity to travel from the Oocyte through the fallopian tube to the uterus for implantation. The second obstacle is the fallopian tube. If there is any scarring from infections or issues with endometriosis, getting through the fallopian tube can be difficult. Once the egg travels through the fallopian tube it must implant into the wall of the uterus and begin to grow vascular connections to the embryo and form the placental sac. Uterine fibroids can be an obstacle in preventing the embryo from implanting. Once implanted, the vascular connections must connect from the mother to the embryo. If these connections rupture due to lack of elasticity of the vesssels due to age, the mother will miscarry. This is the biological reality of aging on our bodies as women. Does this mean we can’t? No.
What does it really take to have a baby when we are older?? According to John Jain, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist, there are many ways to increase the odds. FSH injections for egg harvesting is a an option, but it comes with a price tag of $3,000. Artificial insemination costs are between $500 and $1,00 per cycle. IVF costs approcimately $15,000 per cycle. Egg donantion is $15,000-$20,000 per cycle. What about the health risks? There are risks associated with taking fertility drugs for the mother. According to Jennifer Lahl, President of the Center for Bioethics & Culture Network, there have been recent studies that have linked the use of chlomid with cancer for the mother.
What about the baby? According to Evelyn Minaya, MD, the chance of having a child with a genetic defect is 1 in 1,400 in our 20’s. The odds change over age 30 to 1 in 30 up to age 45, over age 45 it is 1 in 12. Dr. Minaya stated that the increased risk for diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol levels are present without pregnancy as we age. Having these additional co-morbidities increases the risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery. With all that has been discussed in this post, it is still a decision for the couple to decide if and how to proceed.
Remember, not making a decision about having children, is a decision. Make sure you understand what the risks are involved for your health, both mental and physical as well as the costs financially. As Dr. Oz stated on the show, “Are you willing to sacrifice your personal and financial independence to have a child? You must move the decision to have children to the top of the priority list by age 30.”
What you put into your body and how you care for your body relates to how your eggs age. Optimum health must be strived for at every age. At Trabuco Hills Chiropractic, we are able to test the health of your cells through Bioelectrical Impedence Analysis as well as blood work to determine what your overall health status is. We work with you to help you reach and maintain your health goals naturally. Chiropractic manipulation to the spine maintains optimal circulatory and neurological flow to the reproductive organs. We are committed to helping you have a healthy pregnancy naturally at any age!