Hi, my name is Karissa Choi, and in my original argument, I supported later life motherhood. As the average age of first time mothers is increasing, it is clear that women who give birth later in life are more financially stable, and can provide more educational and emotional support for their children. Today, I will take the opposite stand, and argue that having children at an older age is risky because a woman’s fertility decreases with her age, the child is more prone to having a health disorder, and the woman might have less energy than when she was younger.
The harsh facts about a woman’s chance of conceiving after 40 are disheartening. A fact that most people do not know is that women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have when they are born. As a woman’s age decreases, up until menopause, her eggs also decrease in number and quality. Despite the presence of eggs, a woman’s fertility begins to decrease from 35 onward, and even more significantly from 40, due to age-related hormonal fluctuations.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), married women between the ages of 40-44 have a 60% chance of never conceiving, and all women in this age group have a 34% risk of miscarriage. At the age of 40, there’s a 1 in 106 risk of Down Syndrome.
Women that gave birth over the age of 40 were also five times more likely to have complications during delivery.
When a woman is over the age of 35, there is a risk of suffering multiple problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, low birth weight babies, stillbirth and premature delivery.
Complications such as miscarriage and infertility can cause emotional stress for couples.
In addition, later life motherhood also comes with long-term disadvantages. Consider that you’ll be 70 when your child is only 30. Plus, you may not get to see your grandchildren, or spend as much time with them. You will also have to prepare your child early for the possibility of your death, and your child will not receive as much support in their lives.
According to NY Times, women who have children young tend to believe that family ties are important. Parents might be physically healthier because of their youth, and the children’s grandparents are younger and often live nearby. Younger parents may have a larger social circle, and receive more support from families and friends.
However, the trend for later life motherhood has been increasing. Elizabeth Gregory, author of Ready: Why Women are Embracing the New Later Motherhood tells Business Insider that women who waited to have kids had significantly higher salaries and more education than women who had kids earlier. Getting an education and establishing themselves in a good financial situation allow them to make well informed decisions for their own and their child’s health. When you learn as you grow up, intellectually and emotionally, it may help you in the complicated job of taking care of your own children.
But, think for a moment about how having a baby at 40 will affect you personally in the long run. The older you get, the harder it will be to do anything that’s physically and emotionally demanding. Do you really want to run after a little toddler in your mid to late 40’s? Will your knees be able to take it? Or do you want to deal with the stress from arguing with a teenager in your mid to late 50’s? Having children for most of us is a huge and complicated situation involving relationships and personal factors, but it is roughly summed up as life, love, and happiness. After all, we all want to make the best decisions for our child.