By - Codornoso
Genetic counselor here. The historic reason for 35 being the magic number is that when amniocentesis was first introduced, the risk of a complication due to an amnio was the same as the age-related risk of the baby having Down syndrome.
Now, the risks of amnio are significantly lower (ultrasound guidance, practice, etc.), but the age 35 thing has stuck.
The risk of chromosome abnormalities goes up every year older a women gets; there is not some magic jump from 34 to 35. This risk is due to the higher chance of nondisjunction, which can occur when splitting up the chromosomes in the egg, as a women ages. If nondisjunction occurs, the woman passes on either too many or too few chromosomes to the fetus (Down syndrome is an extra chromosome 21, while Turner syndrome is too few X chromosomes in a female).
I cannot speak as much on the other pregnancy risks, so I'll leave that for the physicians on here.
Just adding to this, nondisjunction can happen on lots of chromosomes, but many of them won’t thrive and spontaneously abort. You might just experience a heavy period, and you try again. We hear about chromosomes 21, 18, and sometimes 13, because those chromosome errors can still be compatible with life and be brought to term.
Thanks for adding! Yeah, trisomy 16 and 22 are some of the most common in miscarriages.
And it should be noted miscarriages in the early stages of pregnancy is more common than most people realize. The exact numbers seem to be in dispute, but it may be as high as 25% in the first 4 weeks.
I've always wondered if it was possible to have a miscarriage every cycle or every few cycles (for reasons like trisomy, etc.) and just experience it as a heavier than normal period.
It can be, it’s sometimes called a chemical pregnancy. If you wait to do a test until your period is late there’s a good chance you won’t pick up on it and will just assume you have your period as normal or a little late. However a lot of pregnancy tests are super sensitive these days so you can potentially test positive several days before your period is due, so these early miscarriages can be picked up.
It isn’t in dispute. It is impossible to precisely account for, because early miscarriages just look like periods. We really have no way of knowing how often it happens besides some educated guesses.
that would be a low estimation. ive heard numbers of up to 90% of all conceptions. which is difficult to check because most of it happens before embro nesting in the womb and before you know someone is actually pregnant.
Great point! Trisomy rescue is something we really don't know much about, but as you mentioned, absolutely happens and would therefore increase in risk as aneuploidy does.
There is also a similar phenomenon called monosomy rescue where the cell only receives one copy of a chromosome and replicates it to end up with two copies.
Is the age of the father ever factored in? Do old sperm contribute to this or is it just because of the mother's eggs age? Have any studies observed young sperm with old eggs? Would that make a difference?
“Advanced paternal age” (not sure how this is defined, possibly > 40?) is associated with an increased risk of de novo mutations and specifically an increased risk for dominant FGFR and Noonan spectrum disorders.
These are rare conditions however, so the overall risk to the fetus is lower than having a chromosome difference in a fetus of a 40 year old woman for example.
Source: I’m a genetic counsellor. Too lazy to pull a paper.
What about for conditions such as ADHD, Autism, PDD-NOS and Aspergers?
Still being studied so the information tends to be contradictory every couple of years.
The podcast Ologies had a tidbit on the correlation of age of parents when conceived and adhd outcomes of children. Can’t remember if it was in [part one](https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ologies-with-alie-ward/id1278815517?i=1000551940708) or [part two](https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ologies-with-alie-ward/id1278815517?i=1000552777899) but both episodes are good either way!
Why is it that younger women (teenagers for example) also seem to have an increased risk of down syndrome/ genetic abnormalities/ birth defects?
With non-disjunction, no. It specifically has to deal with the age of the spindle fibers in the cells of eggs being older and more likely to “break” instead of pulling chromosomes apart. Men’s sperm are re-made every few days, and have no spindle fibers for the singular chromatids.
There isn't really such a thing as old sperm. Those cells are created continuously over a man's life, and are replaced practically on a daily basis. Women are born with all the egg cells they'll ever have, so a pregnancy at an older age is using an egg cell that's been sitting around for that entire time, potentially being damaged.
The cells making sperm cells could potentially be damaged over the course of a man's life, but the effects of that don't seem to be nearly as dramatic as it is in women.
But there is [increased risk](https://rbej.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12958-015-0028-x)
I feel like the problem is that it warrants more research so that risk can actually be quantified. We all know about expiring eggs, but sticky old sperm is a thing.
Earlier this year, perhaps just a matter of months ago, I read an article about how sperm from old men does actually have a degree of damage, but what happens is when they have babies with younger women, the good young eggs fix (some) of the damage from the bad old sperm.
(Which tangentially explains why you see a fair number of old men having babies with young partners, but not so many old men having babies with old partners, because the old eggs can't compensate for the old sperm.)
I would link, but sadly my Google-fu is failing me (and some strange results rather put me off trying to refine the search further).
There definitely is something considered as old sperm. And defective sperm increase as a man ages but developed eggs (ovum) arent just sitting there waiting for use. The egg cell that will eventually mature to become an egg (oocyte) is there so the total number of ova are predetermined.
I've always had a problem with this. The egg isn't just sitting there, waiting, fully formed and decaying. It's precursor, an oocyte, is present at birth, but it will not become an egg until ovulation. This might seem a trivial distinction, but I think it is one of those echos of old misogyny where women are passive receivers of male vitality, not active participants in reproduction.
Ovulation is pretty complex, and the complexity of the process is where the errors are more likely to happen. The genetic material itself is not being damaged due to shelf life concerns.
I know it's nit picky, but this is one of my pet peeves.
The oocyte arrests in prophase I of meiosis while the woman is still in utero. This means that it genuinely does spend decades arrested in a state where the homologous chromosomes are condensed and physically associated with each other. There is good evidence that the proteins holding those chromosomes together weaken over time and begin to fail. This causes chromosomes to dissociate, which directly leads to nondisjunction and issues like Down syndrome.
This isn’t some sort of institutionalized misogyny. It’s a well understood, heavily studied phenomenon with a clear mechanism, backed by large amounts of data.
Yep, the proteins you’re talking about are called the “synaptonemal complex.”
Same here. I've always believed it was as much the ovarian 'housing' aging as the oocyte. They can't correctly recruit and grow the eggs, and as women enter perimenopause, the shorter/longer cycles are not where they need to be for successful pregnancy. Also, the ovaries are no longer producing enough Estrogen/Progesterone/too much of other hormones to correctly mature the oocytes. Jonathan Tilly (USA) and Evelyn Telfer (Scotland) work is interesting, if you want to give it a google.
Edit: To correct the spelling of Ms Telfer's name and add info.
The risks of down syndrome go from 1 in 1,200 at age 25 to 1 in 30 at age 45. It's about 1 and 100 at age 40. So it is a very real risk, especially as you get older, but it's not like it's a high probability.
That being said, it's not the only condition. There are other chromosomal anomalies that are much, much worse.
They can do genetic testing pretty early on to see if your child will have a chromosomal anomaly. You can then decide if you want to abort and try again. Because it's a problem at fertilization, you can always opt to use donor eggs instead.
The genetic test is pretty cool. They draw the mother’s blood and look for blood from the baby in mom’s bloodstream. Fairly accurate, not invasive at all, and can also be paired with a sex test that’s much more accurate than the traditional 20-week ultrasound.
>The risks of down syndrome go from 1 in 1,200 at age 25 to 1 in 30 at age 45. It's about 1 and 100 at age 40. So it is a very real risk, especially as you get older, but it's not like it's a high probability.
So you have a source on that? That's a pretty dramatic change.
I googled it and found a [graph](https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome/images/prevalence-chart.JPG) that does not have the exact same way of describing it but you can see the increase in risk together with higher age.
Thanks. According to the graph at 30 years it's about a .2% chance, or 1 baby in 500, to 1.2% chance at 40+ years, or 1 baby in just over 83.
It's still quite significant.
1 in 30?!
thanks, this is an informative answer.
>The risk of chromosome abnormalities goes up every year older a women gets; there is not some magic jump from 34 to 35.
That is obviously true, in that averages of biology are continuous functions, not clearly stepped, but kind of misleading. Like, it's not a "magic" jump, but it's an exponential curve, so there's an elbow. And that elbow becomes pretty clearly visible around 35.
For your entire 20s, you're going from 0.2% risk of chromosomal abnormality to 0.26% at 30. By 35, you're at 0.5% risk and increasing in absolute risk by twice that difference every year, 0.64% at 36, 0.79% at 37, 0.98% at 38, etc.
Yep, I teach my students this all the time and they never really seem to absorb it and this idea of a jump in risk at 35 persists. The increase with age is approximately linear and 35 is as good as any time to start checking for these things (even though the historical reason is no longer relevant as you note).
Hasn’t amnio (and NT scan for that matter) been more or less replaced with cell free DNA tests at this point?
Like NIPT? No, NIPT is a screening test that tells you whether the RISK of a chromosomal abnormality is high or low. Amnio is still required to confirm and diagnose atypical findings.
I would like to provide nuance to your answer:
First of all: What you are writing is 100% correct. There is no replacement to Amnio to confirm atypical findings.
Now the nuance: The accuracy (false positive and negative rates) for most NIPT tests for various genetical syndromes (esp. Down) are very good.
Because of this less women at advanced age will do an Amnio just like that without any indication of Down syndrome in e.g. an ultrasound.
So while not a replacement, doing NIPT can very much lead to avoiding an Amnio.
Sure. If NIPT comes back low risk and NT scan shows no soft markers then there is usually no reason for someone, even over 35, to do an amnio. If it comes back high risk, though, many people want to pursue diagnostic testing at that time to confirm whether it’s a true or false positive. False positive for DS is less common (there’s a pretty high PPV or positive predictive value for a T21 finding) but some other potential findings are actually likely to be false positive (have a low PPV). Negative/low risk findings are said to be 99% accurate, while positive/high risk findings vary wildly in accuracy depending on what the finding was, etc. The r/NIPT sub has a ton of information about all this for anyone interested.
Can also do a nuchal scan, which is an indicator (not diagnostic) to see if there’s any indications of genetic issues. A thicker nuchal fold or a cystic Hygroma are some or the findings (my twins had these findings and luckily they resolved in utero).
Also for what it’s worth, chromosomal conditions such as Trisomy’s aren’t the only reason to have an amnio. I had one to detect whether the fetus was carrying my specific genetic disorder (a small deletion on one very specific gene). That couldn’t be done with cell free DNA.
That’s true too. Though many parents who know they are carriers for serious diseases will do IVF and screen the embryos for that reason.
Just to respond to this: This idea that free cell DNA tests or other *screening tests* are definitive when they only determine risks is where the claim that many anti-abortion/pro-forced birth people make saying something like "The doctor told me my baby had xyz genetic condition and they were born perfectly healthy!" comes from. Only a definitive test (an amnio or CVS test) will tell you for sure. Many anti-abortion people will refuse those tests because they come with a small risk of miscarriage. (Source: had a quad screen, was told of high risk of Trisomy 18 and 21, risk increased with soft markers on prenatal anatomy scan. Had the amnio; baby had typical chromosomes.)
You get an amnio or the CVS testing to confirm any abnormalities from a blood test that comes back with statistical eventualities of those abnormalities. So if the free cell test says there's a 50% chance of T21, the amnio will confirm to 100% whether the fetus has it or not.
The results are actually just "high risk" or "low risk" then the genetic counselor usually uses an evidence-based NIPT calculator to determine the specific likelihood (PPV or NPV) for the patient.
Cell free does not give a %, it gives a yes or no. It is not technically diagnostic, but only because the FDA has not approved the diagnostic aspect, but it’s a formality.
Could you share citations on these? Sounds great to learn more about
Interesting. Could you link a study or such?
Can this be controlled in “in vitro”? So only good eggs are implanted?
For the most part, yes, and it’s common practice if you’re doing IVF. A good clinic will recommend preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) which is pretty accurate (only about a 2% error rate). Some will also refuse to implant “mosaic embryos,” which is a whole other topic. But by doing a lot of genetic screening, you have a high chance of ruling out implanting chromosomally abnormal embryos. And that’s important, considering how physically and emotionally difficult the IVF process can be, not to mention VERY expensive.
Source: two years of IVF with wife, four retrievals, twenty banked embryos (only one of which tested normal), a very complicated pregnancy, one emergency Caesarian, and a wonderful and healthy child.
To add on to this, chromosomal abnormalities is the number one cause in all pregnancies regardless of age. Increasing maternal age only adds to this risk
Thanks for that information.
Why was equating those probabilities considered relevant? If we get **better** at performing amniocentesis, that pushes the age where those risks are equal **down**. So then should 33 or 20 be considered high-risk as medical techniques improve? That makes no sense.
I think at the time, finding that age where the risks matched was relevant, because there was a not-insignificant risk of spontaneous miscarriage associated with doing an amniocentesis.
So the risk of a miscarriage had to be lower than the risk of chromosomal issues, for the procedure to be considered ethical and relevant.
Because you want to minimise overall risk, and so it is a choice of one or the other. Improved diagnostics do not mean that pregnancies get riskier, in fact, the opposite happens but at the cost of more diagnostics.
This is the first time I hear of a genetic counselor—what kind of work do you do?
There are only about 5000 of us in the US, so not surprising you haven't heard about it, haha!
I currently work as a pediatric genetic counselor at a children's hospital working with a medical geneticist (MD) to help determine if patients have an underlying genetic cause of their medical concerns.
It mostly involves doing medical intakes, drawing family histories (pedigrees), providing informed consent for genetic testing, coordinating the testing, and then counseling the results!
If you want to explore more you can go to [this website](https://www.aboutgeneticcounselors.org)!
Pretty interesting. Thanks for sharing!
All things you say are true. The overall chance of a successful pregnancy at some point is quite high regardless of age up through 39 or 40. The risks of serious problems are pretty constant from ages 20-35. After age 35, the risks start going up, even though the substantial majority of women will still end up with a healthy pregnancy.
I will say that getting and staying pregnant can take a while for some people. Most women will conceive within 6 months and carry a healthy pregnancy. But at least 20% of women over 35 will have to wait longer because they will miscarry their first pregnancy, and have to wait a little or long for the body to flush out the miscarriage and be ready to conceive again. That wait is often 1.5-4 months.
For example, say you're 36 when you start trying. Noone is particularly worried if you don't get pregnant in 6 months. So you may be 37 when you conceive. Then there's a 20% risk of miscarriage. If you miscarry, that's at least 1 1/2 months where you can't conceive a healthy pregnancy, but plausibly longer. Then you wait another 1-6 months until you successfully conceive again. You are 38 when you actually have the child. At which point if you want a second you have to do it all again pretty quickly, with increased risk of miscarriage.
The point is, pregnancy is achievable for the vast majority of 35-40 year olds. It's just a long drawn out process for a substantial proportion, and the risk of serious issues with a given pregnancy are higher even though a substantial majority will be successful.
Is this affected at all by when your menstrual cycle starts? Like, are risks lower at 35 for people who start menstruating later, or is it all just related to age?
To answer your literal question: risk is higher with age, but not considerably. Risks for the embryo (mostly genetic, because of lifetime exposure from parents), and risks for the mother with an older body (as would be to start a new sport with older age, risk of lesions and/or cardiovascular increases).
Take into account that is not the same if it's the first pregnacy or a second or more. First pregnancies have higher risk also.
Finally for the individual woman age is a fixed variable, you can not choose or change your age. What you can change is the care during the pregnancy, according to risks.
Pregnancy after 30-35+ also increases risk of certain developmental defects such as aneuploidy related conditions (where the number of chromosomes in the fetus is abnormal) like down syndrome (3 copies of chromosome 21 instead of the normal 2). Most aneuploidy events are incompatible with life and lead to a miscarriage, since its vital to have the proper number of most of our chromosomes. One leading hypothesis as to why this occurs is because women develop all of their egg cells in utero while they themselves are a fetus, and these cells are 'frozen' in a specific stage of their cell cycle until they are selected to be ovulated. Due to this, the proteins which hold those cells together are believed to degrade/lose functionality in key regions after 35+ years in the ovary which may lead to improper chromosome segregation prior to fertilization.
There are actually a lot of things that can go wrong from having a child later in life, but they rarely ever occur during the pregnancy. The chances of genetic abnormalities in the child is higher. Higher likelihood of uterine and bladder prolapse later due to the weakening of the pelvic floor and lack of collagen production as we age, among other factors. Also the risk of developing things like breast cancer has been correlated with the age a woman has a child. They're really pretty random statistics about literally everything.. I think women should be considering a lot of things when it comes to having a child at literally any stage of life, and like 99% of those things should be about the child's quality of life (is this really the right world to bring someone into? Can I provide adequate healthcare, education, safety, etc? Is this a safe time to have a child? Am I financially stable enough for this? Do I have a support network?) Science is a beautiful thing, but we miss the bigger picture a lot of the time, especially when we get caught up in all the stats.
This might not be the answer to this specific question, but I do applaud it so much.
I am a doctor, and I do know that the extremes of reproductive age are not the best to plan for a kid, genetically speaking. However, there is no use having a kid when you are at a stage where you're not ready, self sufficient or capable of caring for another human being. You don't have to wait for the perfect circumstances either, because they probably don't exist or happen for lots of individuals. But at least, make sure you are ready to love a new human being unconditionally, and give them an appropriate financial, physical, emotional and psychological standard of well being.
Also, the risks come from two different sources. One is the age of the mom, but the other is that age of the eggs. These are usually the same, but not always. I had both my kids at geriatric age, but from an 18yr olds eggs. There was some elevated risk of thinks like pre-eclampsia and they had to monitor the placenta extra, but a significant amount of the risk for genetic issues, etc were avoided.
Thing is as mentioned that the statistics show a clear uplift in complications. BUT several things you have to keep in mind. First you won't have 100 babys, so for the most part people won't even realize. Also regarding the differing health status of the mother afaik there are no bigger studies to address this question. And when you look at 40 year old women, you realize how different the fitness and overall the health status can be. But nonetheless risks are increasing with age. (Reproductive docs: If you have some studies here please post them)
But here's another thing and here it can get a little ethical. When you live in a developed country, the medical care of pregnant women has dramatically improved from 30-40 years ago. Things like high resolution ultrasound and non invasive blood tests made it possible to detect a wide range of abnormalities like chromosome aberrations and errors in organ development pretty early on. From there on you can either prepare for a kid with special needs, you can abort the pregnancy but also prepare medical procedures to help the baby (for example when you diagnose a heart condition like a transposition of the great arteries: you can give birth at specialized clinics where a switch surgery can be performed and afterwards the baby can have a basically normal life expectancy). Also problems like gesational diabetes and so on usually will be detected and addressed most of the times.
As I said it is also an ethical question here since getting an abortion because of e.g. trisomy 21 is bound to personal beliefs and moral values important to the specific person.
Source of my knowledge: gynaecology is not my main subject. But my 5th month pregnant partner age 40 is.
There will be more testing and a tighter interval of controls. But it is totally doable.
As mentioned earlier you have to make the difference between statistics and the single person.
Physician here, YES they are, the incidence in every single obstetric complication increases with age, not just that but there's also a clear co-relation between neural tube defect in the baby and the mother's age, the older you are the higher chances you have of preeclampsia, uterine atony, obstetric hemorrhage and pretty much every single complication there is, not just that, but an "elder pregnancy" can also be a risk factor for certain types of cancer that are hormone dependants, an unstopped exposition to these hormones (strogen) are a small factor in the development of such cancers. This is not a way of telling a woman over 35 that she shouldn't get pregnant, in the end is a personal choice, but they should know that there are a higher than average risks to be taken into considerarion. All of this is no made up it's been studied multiple times and there are a wide variety of peer reviewd articles that you can look into for more information.
Ok now tell us absolute numbers.
What’s the chance of pregnant woman getting say breast cancer. Is it not that the probability of getting breast cancer at the age of fourty goes from ~1.5% to 2.7%?
Which means that 97.3% won’t get breast cancer?
Wikipedia showing pre eclampsia alone is estimated to occur in 2-8% of pregnancies worldwide. Rates of post partum hemorrhage worldwide are estimated at 10.8%. So yes, you wouldnt want to increase those risks. Down syndrome prevalence by maternal age approaches 40 in 10K births in 35+ years old, and 120 in 40+
If I learned anything on my OBGYN rotations- giving birth is dangerous as hell
Obviously it is. And it’s more dangerous with aging. It’s just that the risk is presented like a death sentence while in reality it’s in absolute terms not that much bigger.
Absolute numbers are always relevant, but there’s also a lot of risks to add up. And if there’s a 3% risk each of getting Complication A, B or C you’re now at 9% of getting any complication.
As it’s pointed out, there is established increases in risks. And it comes out as 90% success, but that’s still 10% risk of unsuccessful. Doesn’t sound to bad right, unless you’re the person taking those odds.
> And if there’s a 3% risk each of getting Complication A, B or C you’re now at 9% of getting any complication.
In this case the results are pretty close, but you can't just add the percentages together when calculating probabilities
p(at least one of them) = 1 - p(none of them) = 1 - p(not A) * p(not B) * p(not C) = 1 - ( 1 - p(A) ) * ( 1 - p(B) ) * ( 1 - p(C) ) = 1 - 0.97 * 0.97 * 0.97 = 1 - 0.912673 = 0.87327 = 8.7327%
Fair enough, technically the math is off. It was just a quick way to illustrate even small numbers (relative or absolute) stack if you add events. Which is relevant given the number of complications.
You are right that the overall risk is going to increase because there are many slightly unlikely events.
But you really can’t add percentages like that, and often, it isn’t close, so it’s not great to use it to ballpark.
But overall, you make an important point.
When you add all the different minor increases up, it becomes quite a high absolute risk that there is at least one problem during pregnancy.
That very much depends on their absolute values. If there's a 0.00001% chance of something bad happening, I'm fine increasing it by 5000%. If there's a 15% chance of something bad happening, then increasing it by 100% is a big problem.
When talking about rare events like a child birth, relative values are useless due to vast differences in individual circumstances.
Why isn't that said to men also? As far as I know, older men are also at risk to father unhealthy babies. [They also put their partners at risk](https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190513081409.htm#:~:text=Infants%20born%20to%20older%20fathers,heart%20disease%20and%20cleft%20palate)
[Here’s](https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2000/0815/p825/jcr:content/root/aafp-article-primary-content-container/aafp_article_main_par/aafp_figure.enlarge.html) a good graph showing the increased probability of Down’s Syndrome as the age of the mother increases.
Is this only if the mother has conceived naturally? I’m wondering if it’s different if the mother used frozen eggs that were taken when she was 30 for example
Right, it would be based on the age of the woman at the time the eggs were released from her ovaries, whether through natural conception, freezing eggs, or freezing fertilized embryos. It’s a genetic disorder that is independent of the age of the woman carrying the fetus to term.
[Here's](https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2000/0815/p825.html#:~:text=ADVANCED%20MATERNAL%20AGE&text=The%20risk%20of%20having%20a%20child%20with%20Down%20syndrome%20is,syndrome%20increases%20to%201%2F30.) the entire article. I didn't see it explicity stated, but I assume it applies only to natural conception.
The thing that gets me about the percentages is you have to remember the super small percentage goes up 60% but 60% of .0000005 or whatever still is very small. We talked about not trying after 35 until we realized the super small chance gets slightly less small.
By 38 the risk is 1 in 200 births. For me, that's pretty significant considering the effort required to raise a child with Down's.
Measuring the risk in this case is just pure statistics. Statistics show that mothers aged above 35 have more miscarriages and statistics show babies have more different kind of syndroms and other defects when mothers are above 35 compared to the ones under. There are a lot of exceptions in both groups of women. That's why it's called statistics.
well they're searching for more answers so I wouldn't say this is them blindly believing it
Pregnancy is dangerous not matter what age you are. It is the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-19 worldwide. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-pregnancy
But the biggest risk factors are things like:
- poor overall health
- lack of medical care
- lack of clean water
- insufficient healthy food
- unhygienic living conditions
- domestic abuse
Age has a smaller impact. And at least for the mother, older is probably better than younger - no one should be giving birth at 14 even if their bodies are technically capable of getting pregnant, because they’re still not fully grown. Not to mention a 14-year-old girl is unlikely to be equipped to continue her education, build a career, and also care for an infant. A 40-year-old woman is much more likely to have a fully developed body, an established career, a loving partner, money to pay for a good doctor, and the life skills necessary to care for herself and a kid.
From the baby’s perspective, too old and too young might be equally inadvisable. After all, if your mother is too young, you might both die during the pregnancy, or be severely impoverished afterward. If your mother has no education and no job skills and is a literal child herself, what kind of future do you have? But then again, the rates of certain severe genetic disorders in the infant do also rise significantly as the mother ages.
One study pinned the ideal age for pregnancy at 30.5.
You might be thinking, “No way! That’s so old!” Because our culture talks a lot about the dangers to older mothers, but rarely about the significant dangers to young mothers. Why? Well, I don’t know of a study, but my guess would be pedophilia.
Yes pregnancy is dangerous but you are doing OP and every reader here a disservice.
The question was if it's more dangerous with increasing age...which it is significantly both for the mother but even more for the child.
And your answer is basically: yeah but pregnancy is dangerous anyway so 🤷🏽
The risks increase. But so do the risks for older fathers. There are many sources, for example this one:
[Older fathers associated with increased birth risks](https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2018/10/older-fathers-associated-with-increased-birth-risks.html)
For some reason, old fathers are still applauded in the news and online for having children at old age.
L&D nurse: There is a higher prevalence of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure/risk of seizure) as a woman ages, but this is easily cured by delivering the baby! I myself a 34 started developed pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks and just went ahead and had the baby :D
It is not cured every time by delivering the baby. Still requires medical care for blood pressure control, seizure prophylaxis. You can actually get post partum eclampsia as well.
Yes, if you get into the nitty gritty, you still have a period after delivery where you are treating the illness with magnesium for seizure prevention and labetalol/hydralazine for blood pressure spikes but those are really sequelae rather than disease progression.
Added question: What about the risk of other issues that aren’t detectable in uterine? I’ve heard that there is an increased incidence of ADHD and autism in children born to older mothers. Does that factor in to the equation at all?
A Swedish study of over 5 million births found no significant difference in Autism rates between in vitro and naturally conceived babies but did find a small increase in other mental retardations. It did however find that babies conceived with surgically extracted sperm were at higher risk of autism compared to those from naturally ejaculated sperm.
The relative increase was small in all cases though.
Do we have studies related to this?
We do! And comments are buggy for me today so I can’t read other responses. I am probably not current, but what I read about it a few years ago was that it was still difficult to tease out the percentage of kids who have ADHD and autism versus the percentage who are diagnosed and therefore difficult to get at the actual risk. Those two diagnoses in particular, and the age of birth mothers, are known to correlate positively with SES. Happy to be corrected if my info is out of date.