Good news for older women who want babies. A new IVF method can reportedly give a woman in her early 40s the same chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby as a woman ten years younger. The treatment involves selecting the healthiest embryos via chromosomal screening, then freezing the embryos for a month while a woman's hormones go back to normal, and then the embryo is thawed and put back into the woman's womb. The treatment reportedly increases the chances of one round of IVF's success from 13 percent to a whopping 60 percent. Says one doctor: "If she's 41 or 42, she's still got a 60 per cent chance of implantation. She has the same chance as someone who is 32."
These days, a woman in her late 30s or early 40s has everything going on for her in terms of it being the ideal time to get pregnant -- except her fertility. She's usually got her career established and has the means to raise a child. She's still healthy and energetic. She's still got decades to live. And studies have shown that older mothers are less likely to neglect or abuse their child.
When is the last time you've read a news story about a 40-year-old mother killing her child or leaving her kid alone while she goes out to party? I read these stories every day, and it's almost always young mothers, and not necessarily teenage mothers, but mothers in their 20s as well.
Additionally, unintended pregnancies are more likely to result in child abuse. Certainly women going to the financial and physical trouble of conceiving a child via IVF want that child. A recent study also showed that children born to mothers in their 40s were healthier and more intelligent.
Incredibly, there are still women who insist that older women shouldn't have babies. On average, a woman in the U.S. lives until 80. Having a baby at 40 means your kid would be middle-aged by the time you die. Perhaps there's some concern about saddling a young adult with too many caretaking responibilities with older parents, and I think that's something to think about. But that can be handled in many other ways -- and the truth is, most of us will outsource much of our elders' caretaking needs anyway. In terms of energy, older parents should take into consideration the fact that at 50 they'll have a young child still running around. But most people I know in their 40s and 50s are in excellent shape. (Then again, I live in New York!)
Of course, there are many young moms who are fabulous mothers. But on the whole, the benefits of older parents are enough that no woman in her 40s should be denied the opportunity to have a child if that is something she feels she is ready to take on.
Do you think women in their 40s should have children?
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