Delaying Pregnancy and Parenthood
The Risks and Rewards

Summary

In a new report, the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC has confirmed that the average age at which American women deliver their first babies has increased in the last 40 years. The Center reports that there were more than nine times as many first births to women 35 years old or older in 2012 than there were four decades earlier. Juxtaposed to this trend is a decrease in the last decade in first birth rates for women younger than 30 years old. This Forum examined the societal and technological factors driving delayed pregnancy, including fertility treatments; delved into the health risks to older mothers and their babies; and explored both the risks and the benefits to older parenthood.

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Presented in Collaboration with PRI's The World and WGBH

Background Articles

Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Rinelle

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    As emerging nations transition, many couples are more educated and also are delaying childbearing. Many couples in developing countries do present with infertility/subfertility, and recent data from WHO has shown higher infertility prevalence in low and middle income countries, than in developed countries. These same couples, do not have access to any fertility care and lack of diagnosis, and often are unaware of their fertility status.

    When these couples begin to delay childbearing, they will be presenting with greater problems: possible subferility due to aging – and perhaps an unknown previous undiagnosed tubal factor infertility. Currently, very limited access to fertility care.

    How will finding solving delayed childbearing issues within high resource settings help couples in lower resource settings?

    Dr Sheryl Vanderpoel

    Family, Women and Children’s Health Cluster

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    Why women’s (with 36 or more years old) chances of getting pregnant decrease even if she is ovulating and in good health?Something changes in fixing the fertilized egg in the uterus process?

    Thanks

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    –At what age of is an amniocentesis recommended? Is this a danger to the fetus?

    Thanks!

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    What does the panel think about the relatively recent push (since fall 2012 when the procedure was no longer considered experimental by the ASRM) to encourage women to freeze their eggs?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    I’m a journalist and am planning on sitting in for tomorrow’s conference, and was hoping to pass a few questions along:

    1) The conversation about delaying pregnancy typically focuses on how it becomes harder for women to conceive as they grow older. Are instances of miscarriage also influenced by the age of the mother? Has there been any research into the propensity for miscarriage or factors which contribute to it in older women?

    2) As the “self-tracking” phenomenon has become more popular, a number of new apps and devices are being developed to help would-be parents monitor their ovulation cycles or the development of their unborn child. The local app developer Ovuline, for example, claims to have had a hand in 50,000 conceptions over the past year or so. I wonder what the panelists think the impact Big Data will have on pregnancy and what we know about maternal health in the next few years.

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM EMAIL

    Polycystic ovaries syndrome in over 40 years old women increases the chance of conceiving a baby with chromosomal syndromes? Does the same statistics probability apply if the woman already gave birth to a healthy baby after turning 40?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM ONLINE CHAT

    Kevin John Healy: What are the absolute numbers in comparison to the seventies? Number of births, percentage of births.

  • Kristen

    QUSTION FROM ONLINE CHAT

    Is there any research that shows egg freezing will lead to preterm babies? And, how does the mother’s age (38+) impact pregnancy?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM ONLINE CHAT

    Is Preimplantation Genetic Testing now standard practice in Massachusetts for IVT, and what DNA sequence data is obtained? Just for large aneuploidies, or is testing for copy number variation or exome sequencing available, even if not covered by insurance?

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM ONLINE CHAT

    ok – any other numbers for women age 40-45. figures of premature delivery for example??
    eg x number of women age 40-45 delivered at week 27-week 30 or other such figures

  • Kristen

    QUESTION FROM ONLINE CHAT

    Delayed pregnancy that comes with age is RISKY in Africa,what can be done to fix?