Health

Women Getting Pregnant at 50? Study Says "No Problem"

| by Lindsay Stidham

On average, the age when American women enter motherhood has risen over the last 20 years, and advances in technology make it possible for post-menopausal women to have children.

A new study, the largest of its kind, even says post menopausal pregnancies really face pretty much the exact same risks as pregnancies for younger women. 

The study followed 101 women age 50-and-older who all became pregnant through in vitro fertilization. 

The study found women over age 50 had similar rates of complications, such as gestational diabetes and preterm labor, as women under age 42 who became pregnant after receiving donated eggs.

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Dr. Mark Sauer, senior author of the article and chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Columbia University Medical Center, where all the women in the study received IVF did stress that the women involved in the study were under great supervision and care. 

Sauer says that "under a microscope, the uterus changes very little with age." The one marked difference in the study of older women versus younger women coming to term with IVF pregnancies is that older women tended to have higher blood pressure, but the variables for the higher blood pressure haven't been pin-pointed. "If they're well-screened and well cared for, they really should do O.K.," Sauer said.

The study begs the question, how old is too old to become pregnant? Many IVF clinics cut women off around 55, simply citing worries of women living long enough to care for their children. But with more medical proof these pregnancies are safe, will clinics be held responsible for age discrimination of woman who has waited?