Can women be pregnant and give birth after 50?

Yes, advances in fertility and assisted reproductive technology (ART) have made pregnancy possible for many women over age 50. Although their bodies produce less or no eggs, egg donation and hatching techniques allow older women to conceive.

Although pregnancy risks associated with age increase in women and men, particularly over age 45 and 50, are greater, statistics in the UK reveals that 20 plus babies are born to females aged 50 and over due to advances in ART and fertility treatments. Women aged over 60 have given birth to healthy babies in the UK and in India.

However, risk of stillbirth or fetal morality is double than mothers below age 35 and risk of low birth weight, premature birth, and disability as a result of chromosomal abnormality is much higher.

Are there legal issues to giving birth after 35?

Legal issues surrounding pregnancy and birth to mothers over age 35 is quite similar as to the issues faced by all pregnant mothers, and do differ between countries. The main legal issues pertain to women's reproductive rights, abortion and stillbirth.

International human rights law recognises women's rights to control their reproductive functions, rights to education to make informed and unthreatened choices for reproduction, rights to legal and safe abortion, rights to access to quality healthcare including contraception and treatment for STDs and STIs, and right to protection against sexual violence and genital mutilation.

Where some countries do not permit abortion, many do as long as it is before the 24th week of gestation. In the UK, two doctors need to consent with grounds and include the signed patient consent. Many British doctors will not abort a pregnancy after the 18th to 20th week of gestation based on moral not legal grounds. Information is available through NHS Choices about abortion.

Women who experience stillbirth with either assisted delivery, caesarean section, or natural birth, still need to register their deceased baby with the Registrar of Births in the UK.

What are moral arguments for and against aged pregnancy?

Aged pregnancy, although of higher risk, demonstrates to deliver healthy babies. Even so, certain groups still oppose pregnancies over the age of 35 due to the moral considerations attached to the risks. Some critics are concerned for the mother's health during and after birth and her ability to look after her existing family. Others question the fairness to the child who lacks the benefits of the mother's youth during upbringing.

During the 1990's, the French government at the time outlawed postmenopausal pregnancy as an “immorality”, and women over age 50 in Italy were denied fertility treatments. Britain also had age restrictions on In vitro fertilisation treatments during this time which were removed during 2005. However, still today, many clinics and hospitals exercise their own policy limits in providing fertility treatment to women over age 35 and accepting sperm donations from men over age 39 that are not legal restrictions.

Although hotly debated, populations all over the world, such as in Australia, are moving in the direction of acceptance, especially in acknowledging the benefits of In vitro fertilisation and the advantages of older parenting to society.

Having a baby after 35:

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