The majority of women living in the 21st century have a goal of pursuing a career that will bring them money and fame. Yet this aspiration comes at a price: many of them postpone having a child and end up babysitting someone else’s babies. Studies conducted in the 00s made everyone think that it is difficult to conceive a baby if you are in your late 30s (if at all). Is there reliable statistics behind it? The answer is no.
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The fear of almost any woman in her 30s of not having a baby at all is fuelled by newspaper headlines and the husband’s mother telling her the clock is ticking. Frightening reports about the chances of women in their late 30s of conceiving a baby within one year of trying being very low are based mostly on the research published in 2004 in Human Reproduction. According to it, those aged 35-39 have a 30% chance of remaining childless. Despite the figures, there is something that makes us doubt the credibility of the report: its source. The evidence comes from French birth records from 1670 to 1830. Though it seems to be very odd, but it is this statistics, that is far from being relevant today, that was used to do the research.
Research into fertility has developed since those times, and The Atlantic article also made women less anxious. The research published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2004 found that the actual difference between the statistical chances of becoming a mother in your 27-to-34 and 35-to-39 is not that significant: it’s only 86% to 82%. In 2013, another report on fertility study, which appeared in Fertility and Sterility, showed that among those aged 20-to-34 84% got pregnant within one year of trying, whereas for 35-to-40-year-olds the figure made up 78%, which is also far from being a total inability.
What Egg Limits?
More and more researches based on modern populations and technologies appear suggesting that older women have good chances of having a baby. Another surprising piece of news is that, contrary to the widespread belief, the number of eggs found in a woman’s ovaries is not determined at her birth, because there are stem cells which can contribute to egg supply, thus prolonging the period during which a woman can have a baby.
What About The Age?
Of course, older woman have a higher chance of miscarriage, and it takes more time to conceive, but the overall impression is that women should not be afraid of becoming a mother in their late 30s or later. The supposed risk of giving birth to a child suffering from Down syndrome or other conditions is still relatively small: according to statistics, the chance is said to be 1% if you are 35 years old, and 3% if you are in your 40s. Jean Twenge, the author of the famous article which was referenced above, assumes the best way to plan having babies is to have your last child by the time you turn 40. You can have a baby later too, but it can be more difficult. Up to this age, the chances do not differ to the extent that everyone must be hurrying couples. After all, it is a natural process, and it is for a couple to decide when they can try to have a baby. Besides, a recent research showed that those who become mothers at a young age (before they turn 20) have a higher chance of developing cardiovascular diseases. Being a parent means great responsibility, as your duty is not only to provide for the child, but also to bring up a good person. That being said, a woman can try to become a mother when the couple is ready for it, and the psychological readiness is what matters most.
If you are still worrying about not having a child in your late 30s, read about Sarah and Abraham: who said you cannot have a child when you’re old?..