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Advanced Maternal Age or, 'Geriatric Pregancy'

"Age is not a barrier to the miracle of life;

it is a testament to the strength, wisdom, and love that comes with embracing motherhood at any stage"


If I had followed through with the pregnancy my daughter would be 27 years old this year. Even though every fibre of my being assures me that I made the right decision, I often wondered if I would have made a different decision had I known that that pregnancy would be my only chance of motherhood.

It was just before my 45th birthday when I made the decision to stop trying for a child. The relationship wasn't a great one but after much therapy, my then partner agreed to try for a baby with me. I remember standing on his balcony with the surreal knowledge that this pursuit of motherhood had come to an end.

For most women, pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative experience, regardless of age. In recent years, there has been a rise in what is known as 'geriatric pregnancy', which refers to pregnancies in women who are 35 years or older. While the term may sound daunting, it's important to understand that with the right care and support, pregnancies later in life can be just as successful and fulfilling as pregnancies at a younger age.

The Biological Clock and Fertility:

One of the primary considerations for women contemplating a pregnancy in midlife is the impact of age on fertility. We know that as women age, the quantity and quality of our eggs decrease, making conception more challenging. However, advancements in reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg freezing, have provided viable options for women who wish to delay pregnancy until later in life.

Medical Considerations and Prenatal Care:

Pregnancies in midlife often require additional medical attention and monitoring due to the increased risk of certain complications. These may include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, chromosomal abnormalities, and preterm birth. Regular prenatal check-ups, specialised testing, and close collaboration with healthcare professionals are crucial to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

Embracing the Benefits:

While pregnancies in midlife presents unique challenges, there are also a number of benefits associated with becoming a mother later in life.

Women in their 30s and 40s often have more life experience, emotional maturity, and financial stability, which can contribute to a nurturing and stable environment for the child. Additionally, older mothers may have established careers and support systems in place, allowing them to balance the demands of motherhood more effectively.

Support and Self-Care:

Navigating a pregnancy in midlife can be emotionally and physically demanding. It is essential to prioritise self-care and ask for support from loved ones, healthcare professionals, and support groups. It's also vital to engage in regular exercise, and maintain a healthy diet, as well as managing stress levels can contribute to a smoother pregnancy experience.

The term geriatric pregnancy should not deter women from embracing the joy of motherhood at an older age. With the right medical care, emotional support, and self-care, women can navigate the unique aspects and challenges of pregnancy in midlife with confidence and grace.

Age is just a number right and it's never too late. Also, the love and bond between a mother and child transcend any numerical value. If you're in midlife and are embarking on this journey, embrace it, celebrate the miracle of life, and cherish the precious moments that lie ahead.

"I never gave up on my dream to become a mum!"

Carolyne Ness

I travelled to India alone in 2017 just before my 58th birthday to undergo IVF treatment at the International Fertility Centre, whose cut-off age was 58. I had chosen an Indian egg donor and an American Caucasian sperm donor. Dr Bakshi transferred 3 embryos at her clinic in New Dehli. While in India I spent a couple of weeks travelling, and I was unsure if the treatment has been a success. The pregnancy was confirmed by a blood test on my return to Australia. As an older mother, I was closely monitored, and I had a healthy pregnancy. At 37 weeks I had a planned caesarean due to a slowdown in the baby's growth, my son Javed was born healthy in November 2017.

I'd like other mature and possibly single women to realise that it's not too late to become a mother with help from IVF.

Carolyne will be a guest speaker at the 2023 Silver Sirens Redefining Ageing event.

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