When is it too late to become a parent?

By Dr. Anthony Cheung and Dr. Bronwyn Williams

With the advances in medical care that have occurred in the last 100 years people’s life expectancy has increased in developed countries as well as in underdeveloped countries, particularly where there has been impact on the control of infectious disease.

… the potential for people to be having children well beyond years

Concomitantly in the area of reproduction we now have the capability of delaying childbearing for women by fertility preservation with egg and ovarian tissue preservation, and where needed to accelerate pregnancy probability through IVF and related technologies for women of advanced age or younger women with underlying causes of infertility.

… should there be an age limit in the area of reproduction?

Donor eggs are also more available and now surrogacy is becoming more into focus for individuals other than as an option predominantly for women with medical reasons who cannot carry a pregnancy. With these changes and advances come the potential for individuals to have a child well beyond years previously considered the “norm” by using donor gametes and surrogacy.

Are there indeed greater advantages in being a new parent in one’s 50’s and 60’s?

For individuals in their 50s and 60s contemplating assisted conception using gamete donation and surrogacy, there can be challenges and uncertainties related to their own circumstances beyond medical and scientific capability. Until clearer social guidelines emerge, careful consideration needs to be given to how well one is able to anticipate and provide for the long term needs of the o spring. “Delayed childbearing however is an established trend and some individuals are creating families in midlife and beyond. Scientific advances often precede social, ethical and moral analysis. For individuals in their 50s and 60s contemplating assisted conception using gamete donation and surrogacy, there can be challenges and uncertainties related to their own circumstances be-yond medical and scientific capability.”

Note: The Office for National Statistics indicated the births to women over 50yrs quadrupled from 53 in 2001 to 218 in 2016.