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Fertility & IVF Experts: Don't Bet All on Late Motherhood

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Friday, March 30, 2007 | 1 comments

Although Social Research, Medical Advances Increasingly Support Motherhood
at Older Ages, Doctors Still Stress Time Is of the Essence in Treating

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- In the wake of yet another new record for becoming the world's oldest mother, fertility experts are encouraged by recent research showing that older moms are as capable of good parenting as younger women -- but are increasingly concerned about women naively postponing pregnancy till later in life.

"Thanks to technology and today's 40- and 50-year-olds often being healthier than in the past, it is more possible than ever to facilitate their desires for pregnancy," said Dr. Nancy Teaff of Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte, a specialist in in-vitro
fertilization (IVF). "But no one should take that as reason enough to put off giving birth past the normal reproductive years."

Women's focus on career development -- combined with rapid advances in fertility medicine -- has produced higher-than-ever increases in the birth rates for older mothers. The birth rate for American women aged 40-44 years has more than doubled in the last 25 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a greater increase than in any other age group.

But there is a down side, Teaff said: "The media spotlight on women giving birth in their 50s and 60s, especially among celebrities, can be grossly misleading. It can create the fallacy that there is no ticking clock and ultimately create heartache for women who wait too long to try to conceive."

In December, a 67-year-old woman from Barcelona, Spain became the world's oldest mother, after having undergone IVF in the United States. Meanwhile, results of a study announced in October by University of Southern California researchers showed that women in their 50s and 60s are just as capable of being good parents as women in their 30s and 40s.

The research was based on the mental and physical health of 150 women, a third of whom had become parents in their 50's after receiving in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs. "Virtually all of the women 42 and older who we treat with IVF use donor eggs," Teaff noted.

In accordance with current guidelines established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the age limit for women who seek fertility treatment at REACH is currently 51. From a purely medical perspective, the ideal time to have a baby is between the ages of 21 and 25.

The study also reinforces the use of assisted reproductive technology such as egg freezing for those who wish to begin parenting later in life. Cryopreservation allows women in their 20's and 30's to preserve their fertility by freezing their eggs, which can be implanted in later years with successful pregnancy rates. In just the last few months, scientists at REACH have begun exploring such "egg banking" on a limited basis.

About Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH)

REACH is led by a nationally recognized team of five physicians who offer comprehensive, state-of-the-art assistance for infertile couples and women with reproductive endocrine problems. REACH physicians, all long-time practitioners in Charlotte, are widely respected for their superior pregnancy success rates -- one of the highest in the region -- and for the finest patient care. REACH is a member of IntegraMed, an exclusive network of fertility practices nationwide. For more information, visit .


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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Technologies like egg freezing are the key to having your own biological child in your 40's. The leader in egg freezing is Extend Fertility - their science is responsible for the largest number of babies born worldwide from frozen eggs and they have clinics throughout the country.

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