Here’s a bit of common sense verified by science and modern medicine. Delaying marriage often leads to a delay in having babies. Now, BBC News reports that women delaying children until after age 35 are risking both health and heartbreak.
Over the last 20 years pregnancies in women over 35 have risen markedly and the average age of mothers has gone up. Writing in the British Medical Journal, the London-based fertility specialists say they are “saddened” by the number of women they see who have problems. They say the best age for pregnancy remains 20 to 35. Over the last 20 years the average age for a woman to have their first baby has risen from 26 to 29.
The specialists, led by Dr Susan Bewley, who treats women with high-risk pregnancies at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, warned age-related fertility problems increase after 35 and dramatically after 40.
Other experts said it was right to remind women not to leave it too late. In the BMJ, the specialists write: “Paradoxically, the availability of IVF may lull women into infertility while they wait for a suitable partner and concentrate on their careers and achieving security and a comfortable living standard.” But they warn IVF treatment carries no guarantees – with a high failure rate and extra risks of multiple pregnancies where it is successful. For men, there are also risks in waiting until they are older to father children as semen counts deteriorate with age, they say.
Once an older woman does become pregnant, she runs a greater risk of miscarriage, foetal and chromosomal abnormalities, and pregnancy-related diseases. They add: “Women want to ‘have it all’ but biology is unchanged; deferring defies nature and risks heartbreak.”