February 28, 2024

Green light for older mums

The world’s leading science journal, Nature, has declared that there is no place for “ageism” in reproductive medicine. In a special issue on human fertility, Nature argues that scientific advances which could delay menopause should be welcomed and that older women should not be discouraged from having children. Research into women’s reproductive health is important for its potential benefits to quality of life and overall health. It should not be sidetracked by detractors who make the patronising and outdated argument that older women shouldn’t have babies that they will be too old to care for.”

A double standard of fertility exists, says Nature. Men in their golden years are congratulated when they father children, but many fertility clinics turn away women over 50, and even over 45. It acknowledges that children of older women have a higher risk of birth defects, but this, it argues, can be countered by using pre- implantation genetic diagnosis to screen out and destroy high-risk embryos.