Should women over 40 have children?

Sometimes doing research on the internet sucks. I’d say 50% of what I read on this topic is fine, and exciting, and such great news.

The other 50% make it sound like it would be impossible for a woman to get pregnant, that she is essentially a dust bowl, that the child, if it survives will make the Elephant Man look like Brad Pitt, and will have all sorts of brain and body disorders.

For crying out loud, which is it?

H, and meanwhile … Yoko Ono was 42 and a recovering heroin addict. Obviously Sean Lennon was not born with any musical talent, but he isn’t exactly a freak of nature either.

Well, I can contribute an anecdote: my sister just had her first baby at 41. She had some complications with her pregnancy and ended up having a C-section three weeks before her due date, BUT… they were the usual garden variety pregnancy complications that many women get, regardless of age. And my nephew is healthy and thriving. And my sister will be almost 60 when he graduates from high school, but she’s always been health-conscious and takes good care of herself so I’m sure she’ll be around to see her grandbabies grow up.

Provocative question for your first day on the board, OP. Welcome!

Should? Not preferably, no, because of the somewhat increased risk of birth defectsand the bigger risk of it not happening at all.

But quite often, it just doesn’t happen earlier. I got pregnant at 40. I got a few extra check-ups, and that was it. Baby is fine.

ETA I hadn’t made TheChileanBlob s calculation yet, but he’s right. If my kid gets on with it, that gives me the perfect age to look after my grandchildren: just four years into my retirement.

Hey, I wouldn’t be here if my mom hadn’t, and you wouldn’t want that, would you? :smiley:

But seriously, she was 43 years old at the time. I was also born 3.5 months premature, a few weeks after she broke up a fight at school and some student punched her in the stomach, from what I’ve been told. Hard to say exactly what caused my early birth–probably a mix of both her age and that punch. Who knows.

Today, I’m in my 20’s. There are times I pause and wonder if my eventual children will know their grandparents on their mom’s side, but only time will tell that. And grandparents aren’t a guarantee in general, even, after all. I never knew either set of mine.

I’ve asked my mom why it took them so long to have me, and she said it just didn’t happen until it did, essentially. She never let on that she had specific fertility problems, so I’d imagine it’s just one of those things.

No. But I don’t think ‘should’ is given much consideration in these decisions. Especially because in this context ‘should’ only means someone else’s personal opinion on the matter.

There is no good time to have a child, just a bunch of different kinds of bad times.

If you are 40 and decide to have a child, then it’s probably as good of a time as you are going to get.

I had the world’s easiest pregancy and a fat, healthy breastfed baby at 41, when I was old enough and financially secure enough to stay home with her. Waiting for the CVS test results which proved no genetic defects was scary, but other than that I feel like this is an awesome time to be a patient, attentive, and engaged mom.

Because so many kids are born to immature parents and are being raised by grandparents anyway, it’s unlikely I’ll be the oldest mom on the soccer field.

I think most women in their 40s that are actively trying to conceive have probably put more thought into it than your average young woman (what’s the “typical age” for babies? Mid-20s?) and probably more financially secure, to boot. Probably more likely to own a home and live in a good school district, and have health insurance and have a stable relationship (or a stable absence of one) and stable lifestyle, in general.

Because hey, if you weren’t having babies in your 20s and 30s, you were probably working instead, and moving your way up the food-chain in the career side of things. I’m making generalities, here, obviously I don’t think EVERY 40 year old is better prepared for motherhood than EVERY 20 year old. Just saying that having more financial security and knowing who YOU are, first, are good foundations for motherhood. No offense intended to anyone.

That’s got to balance out SOME of the health risks and “older mom” downsides, right?

Now women having babies in their SIXTIES… that’s a lot more likely to raise my eyebrows. I guess people are going to do what they want to do, and more power to 'em, but it doesn’t seem right to me to set your own child up to lose their parents at an early age (or be their caretaker) And since practically nobody is getting pregnant ACCIDENTALLY in their sixties; you have to be willing to spend a lot of money and jump through a lot of hoops to deliver a healthy baby at that age, so it’s not something you’d do without really thinking it through. So I do think it’s kind of selfish to have a baby THAT late in life. I suppose it’s none of my business, though.

Our youngest was conceived when Mrs Slow was over 40. Like the rest of his siblings, he’s brilliant, athletic, and good looking. Seriously, the odds of a healthy baby aren’t as good as when you are 25, but they aren’t bad either. Your lifestyle (drugs, weight, stress) makes a bigger difference.

I mis-read this thread title and thought it said “Should women have over 40 children” at first. :eek:

My sister-in-law had her first at 41, and my niece is a beautiful 3 year old now. Both were and are healthy, no issues.

I think the question should be - ‘do I want a child?’ If the answer is ‘yes’, then have a child.

If the internet research is giving you too many worries, go see a pediatrician, and lay out your questions. Then with the expert info, you can go from there.

As Sarabellum1976 said better than i can, a lot of women over 40 are usually more secure financially, and probably ready to settle down.

My mom was in her 40s when I was born…so yes! Or no, depending on which of my acquaintances you ask.

My son was born when my wife was 40, and he is perfectly healthy.

Yes, there are certain risks, but there are always risks and issues, no matter when you have a child. It’s a matter of balancing them out.

That’s why, as I’ve said on this board before, I’m a very strong supporter of total reproductive freedom. Only the people personally involved know whether or not it’s a good idea to bring a child into their lives.

Good, good. Just a few dozen more anecdotes, and we’ll have some data to work with.

Did you mean to include a link, a study, cite, or opinion?

Sean’s “Into the Sun” album, (which Rolling Stone apparently gave 3.5/5 stars) is one of my favorite albums. Is it Revolver or Abbey Road? No, but it’s pretty damn good in my opinion…and a lot better than anything Julian Lennon did.

The ideal age for women to have kids is their mid-twenties. It always has been and it doesn’t matter how societal views change. The one thing fertility doctors can’t budge at all is the age when a woman’s eggs degrade and lead to practical infertility. I don’t care when people have kids as long as we are talking about individuals. Either it will work well or it won’t and they have to live with the decision.

However, I don’t think it is a good idea to tell younger women in general that it is fine if they want to put off having kids until their late-30’s or later because it isn’t as a general rule. The fertile years are not all created equal and the decline is fast and steep at the later part of the curve. More importantly to individuals contemplating such a choice, their are a whole lot of misleading ‘success’ stories in the media and among people in general. We may see that an actress has her first child at 41 but they probably won’t mention that it it was only made possible using donated eggs after a multiple round of fertility treatments failed because she was too old. Regular people go through the same things all the time and it doesn’t always work out to a happy ending. Fertility treatments are risky, expensive, and often shameful. Donated eggs are extremely expensive and the resulting child, if there is one, isn’t the birth mother’s biologically speaking.

I don’t mean criticize anyone’s choice to have children at a later age. I do think it is irresponsible and misleading to tell women in general that they can focus on their career until they hit 35. It may work but the clock is ticking loudly at that point and any setbacks can lead to expenses and heartaches that may not have happened if they started at a more normal age.

My 43 year old SIL had a baby boy in July. My brother is 62.

I consider it their business and absolutely nobody else’s, including me. If she wants to, go ahead.

A better question would be, what can they do instead of have children in their 40s

They could have children at a younger age and minimise the chance of severe mutations, but if that time is past, the choice changes.

Have your own child or give a orphan the chance of having a stable family to love them.

There are many abandoned children, wouldn’t it be kinder to welcome them in. As a bonus, I’ve heard pregnancy is VERY painful and bad for your figure and you’ll get to avoid that :slight_smile: