Rise In Birth Rate for Over-Forties
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that the birth rates among women in their teens, 20's, and 30's have dropped while those women aged 40-44 had a 4% rise in their birth rate. The women in the over 45 group also had the exact same 4% increase in their birth rates. Meantime, the report also tells us that women over the age of 40 are now also more likely to be first-time moms than in years past.
"This increase is part of a general trend that we've seen over the past few decades," said Brady Hamilton, the lead author on this study and a researcher for the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "A rise in reproductive technology gives women more options and more women are choosing to postpone childbirth or have a second or third child later in life," said Hamilton.
But Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, who authored, "The Working Woman Pregnancy Book" cautions women not to assume this means a woman can conceive with ease in middle age. Greenfield who is the director of general obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center commented, "Statistics like this encourage putting off pregnancy even more. It gives women the illusion that the biological clock doesn't really start ticking until later, but most births over 45 are from egg donors." Dr. Greenfield further states that after the age of 40, the rate of conception without resorting to assisted reproductive techniques (ART) stands at only 10%.
Hamilton agrees that the reproductive technology boom is in large measure responsible for women becoming mothers in middle age. Dr. Richard Paulson concurs, "Assisted reproduction therapy and fertility treatments are feeding this trend," says the chief of the University of Southern California's division of reproductive endocrinology, "but it would be hard to tell how many people are actively waiting to have children [due to the availability of this technology] and how many are older women wanting to have children that now can because of an increasing social acceptance of being an older mother and this technology."
Paulson explains that our society has a great many aspects that motivate couples to put off childbearing, for instance career advancement and the attainment of financial security. He suggests that ART has served to "level the playing field a bit" but warns women not to wait until they reach their fifth decade to become mothers.
Still, says Paulson, it's a good thing to know that ART is out there if it ends up being a necessary option.