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How old is too old for pregnancy?

May 24, 2013

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A 33-week pregnant woman is seen by a midwife in a routine checkup.; Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Reports about mothers giving birth well into menopause and celebrities who are having babies into their 50s have been making headlines for the past few years. Improved fertility treatments and hormones that can stave off menopause are making it possible for women to become pregnant much later in life but it’s also raising the question about what age is too old to have a baby.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recently updated their recommendation to physicians, now saying that women ages 50 – 54 shouldn’t be discouraged from pursuing pregnancy using donor eggs.

Should physicians encourage postmenopausal women to have children? What are the health risks to pregnancy after 50? What are the ethical concerns of later motherhood? Why do older mothers receive more scrutiny than older fathers?

Guests:
Sharon Steinberg, mental health clinical nurse and lecturer at the Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates

Dr. Richard Paulson, Director of USC Fertility; he is also a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the the school

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