Has Janet Jackson started a new trend?

Has Janet Jackson started a new trend?

Your biological clock may not be ticking as quickly as you think. At least, that’s what many women are thinking after Janet Jackson recently announced that she and her husband are expecting a new bundle of joy at age 50. The child would be the notorious Miss Jackson’s first, and he or she has many people talking and wondering–is it wise to become pregnant at the age of 50?

The evolution of technology has provided a lot of opportunities for those who would like to start families at different ages. Treatment options such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the ability to freeze or use donated embryos from younger women has increased the chances for older women to bear children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women 50 and up had 144 babies in 1997, but in 2012, women 50 and older had 600 babies, a steep increase.

However, the growing number of women becoming pregnant at 50 and older doesn’t mean there aren’t risks associated with starting a family later in life.

Joan Schiller, a nurse and pregnancy planner at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., has noticed an uptick in older first-time moms, but she doesn’t necessarily want trending topics to sway behaviors of women in their 50s.

“More women are giving birth after age 50 due to the increasing use of infertility treatments, but it is still not common,” says Schiller. “A vast majority of these women use donor eggs from younger women.”

Schiller says it’s important to be mindful of warnings regarding age and realize that risks associated with pregnancy as you get older are still valid. The risk to both the mom and baby increases as the age of the mother increases.

Risks associated with pregnancy later in life include:

  • The possibility of lower birth weights in the newborn
  • A higher incidence of diabetes and hypertension in mothers
  • The chance of additional hospitalization for mom during pregnancy
  • A decrease in the chance of having a full-term baby

It is important to note that just because treatment options such as in vitro fertilization exist does not mean the risks of pregnancy later in life is diminished.

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  1. I don’t think it’s fair to the child to be born to a 50+ year old woman (or man, for that matter). Aside from the health risks (which said risk make it more likely that the child may grow up motherless), the simple reality is that older people have less energy and stamina. It’s a lot of work to raise a child – very demanding physical work at least until the child is school aged. I understand that sometimes grandparents and other older adults end up raising kids, but I think it’s wrong to intentionally go into parenting at that age. And even under the best of circumstances, how long does a 50 year old parent have to be with her kid? 30 years give or take? Kids need their parents longer than than. Just because older people can have kids doesn’t mean they should.

  2. 50 is too old ‘ Eggs ‘ are too old. More chance of health issues. Why not adopt ?

About the Author

Liz Donofrio
Liz Donofrio

Liz Donofrio, health enews contributor, is a marketing specialist at Advocate Health Care. As a newlywed, she is happy to be done planning her wedding and enjoying spending time with her husband and new extended family. In her free time, you can find Liz cooking new tasty recipes for her family, attending Chicago sporting events and chasing after her shih tzu-yorkie, Buttons.