Now or Later: It’s a Decision We all Have to Make

As a child whose parents decided to start a family at a later time, I personally can relate to this subject. When I was at the age of 8, I was one of three children who were told by their parents that they would soon be having an additional child. At that time I didn’t know what to think. I was the youngest and I had never experienced being an older sibling to someone. As I remember it though, the talk of a little brother was exciting. Little did I know at the time, there were risks involved and both of my parents were more than a bit concerned. To make a long story short, a few months later, my younger brother was born to two excited and very relieved parents. I forgot to mention that at the time my father was nearly in his mid-fifties and my mom was pushing 50 yrs.

We tend to live in a society that sees marriage and child rearing as a thing that can be done later on down the road. (Utah is an obvious exception.) It has been shown that more and more couples recently are having children in their thirties because of careers and schooling. Over the past century, women who are giving birth to their first children in their thirties nearly quadrupled, and women doing the same in their forties have doubled (Child Development Text).

Not only am I part of a family in which this happened, I also saw a lot of it on my LDS Mission in South Korea. In a lot of Asian cultures, including South Korea, education and job status is very important. Among the many families I knew, a lot of them were parents who had had children at a later age. I could really relate. With our growing global economy and an increasing demand for higher education, I can really understand why this is a growing norm.

Although there are many good reasons to to have children later in life (particularly parents wanting to be better able to financially support their children), waiting involves taking a risk. Studies have shown that women who attempt to have children at a later age face increased risk of infertility, having babies born with birth defects, and miscarriage (Child Development Text). Studies done in England and Wales show that a woman having a baby with a genetic deficiency such as Down’s Syndrome, Patau’s, or Edward’s rises from 1 in 500 in ages ranging from 35 to 39, 1 in 250 in ages ranging from 40 to 44 and nearly 1 in 70 if the expecting mother is 45+ (http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/antenatalhealth/ageandpregnancy/).

Having children at a later age isn’t necessarily good nor bad, but with the scientific evidence shown to us over the years, one may consider starting a family sooner rather than later — even though having young parents doesn’t necessarily guarantee a perfect birth.

-James Frost

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~ by kersey3 on September 7, 2009.

2 Responses to “Now or Later: It’s a Decision We all Have to Make”

  1. This is very interesting as I’ve also seen respective research (CDC.gov) suggesting likewise yet applied towards numerous health disparities, abnormalities, etc. We discussed Metal Handicaps. And yes, statistically Utah seems to demonstrate higher numbers in birth rates.

    We discussed gestation in ages 30-40. I wonder how that is affected by increased numbers of gestation in the those ages.

    i.e. As women grow older, do they loose levels of estrogen and/or that of others? If she has already had numerous boys, a mother may not have enough testosterone to generate for her new boy. Thus, research seems to show contributing factors that affect the fetus with regard to the LGBT community.

    Zach Rusk

  2. Deciding at what age to start a family is definitely a factor that needs to be weighed along with every other lifestyle aspect. I think that having a child later in life is a risk, but like mentioned in the post, it doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
    Rebekah Pinegar

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