Growing up with a mom who always reassured me in my late 30s (38, to be exact) that I could choose to have children later in life while (hopefully) having a safe pregnancy.
Thirty years ago having children later in life may have been more taboo, but these days, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more women over 35 and even more women over 40 are giving birth to their first child. Are.
Knowing all this, when I saw a TikTok video from Christine Noah Sterling, MD, FACOG (@drsterlingobgyn)—an OBGYN and founder of SterlingParents, a membership resource program created with the hopes of reducing mental burden, So I was surprised. Of pregnancy
In TikTok, Dr. Sterling replies to a comment on the screen that reads, “Disagree! Being an older parent is really hard!”
“That’s why I will always support those who want to delay childbirth, even if it means [of] advanced maternal age. Having an aging parent can be difficult. Being a little parent can be tough.”
She then goes on to explain some of the advantages of having children later in life and being an “older parent”.
I spoke with Dr. Sterling to hear more of his thoughts and expert advice on this important topic that I honestly think more people should be talking about.
Dr Sterling said advanced maternal age has benefits for both them and their offspring. For some context of the term, Dr. Sterling noted that advanced maternal age is not universally defined, but in the US is considered to be age 35 and older at the estimated due date.
Dr Sterling explained, “Increasing longevity is one of the benefits of having children at an older age. There is evidence that pregnancy after 35 can actually fundamentally change the aging process, called telomeres that are important in the genetics of aging.”
Dr. Sterling then continues to share with aging parents some of the benefits children have, such as reduced risk of injury (as a child), and improved health and development. Other benefits include a reduced risk of behavioural, social and emotional difficulties.
Despite the many benefits of getting pregnant at an older age, a common concern is the potential for birth defects, and Dr. Sterling certainly acknowledges that. She shared more, telling BuzzFeed, “advanced maternal age (things like Down syndrome) increases the risk of chromosomal abnormalities that are associated with an increased risk of birth defects.”
But, says Dr. Sterling, according to the evidence in this 2017 study, there is a possibility that the chromosomes are normal and, when they are, there is actually a fell short of Risk of birth defects in advanced maternal-age pregnancies.
Doctor. Sterling said it’s important to note that your chances of getting pregnant with intercourse on the most fertile day of your cycle decrease as you get older. For example, between the ages of 19 and 26, a person’s chance of becoming pregnant when ovulation occurs is 50%, and that number drops to 30% between the ages of 35 and 39.
With all this said, it is important to remember that infertility can happen to anyone and that there are other factors that play a role besides age. “Young people also experience infertility. There is male factor infertility. Health also plays a role. So age is a factor, it’s not the only one,” Dr. Sterling told BuzzFeed.
If you’re thinking about waiting to have children and want to know your options, Dr. Sterling suggests considering freezing your eggs if you’re able to.
“I’m a big proponent of fertility preservation with egg and/or embryo freezing. While it’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to have your own biological child, it can take a lot of the pressure off,” she said. .
“In general, [if you’re financially able to] The sooner you freeze your eggs, the better because younger people tend to lay more eggs in the process. While there is no specific age recommendation that is appropriate for everyone, I believe it is something one should consider starting in their early 30s and for some even earlier,” Dr. Sterling continued.
Dr. Sterling’s video has garnered over 400k views and thousands of people are sharing their thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
This commenter shared her positive experience growing up with an aging parent.
And this commenter’s concerns were eased by Dr. Sterling’s informative video.
Finally, it’s important to note that everyone’s body is different so talk to your doctor to explore your options and learn more about fertility.