At 35 weeks into my twin pregnancy, I'm 36 years old—with my 37th birthday coming up in two weeks. I have joked all along that these kiddos are welcome to enter the world any day they're good and ready, with the exception of July 15, because that's my day to be a princess forevermore!
All birthday jokes aside, I know all too well from personal experience that being pregnant after 35 comes with a huge swirl of scary rhetoric, with the phrase "advanced maternal age" following you like a dark shadow to every appointment and every test result. Even scarier, perhaps, is the swirl of rhetoric surrounding women in the 35-and-up category (so, basically, all of my closest friends) and their reduced chances of conception.
Well, there's good news out now for those consumed by such worries: The Daily Beast notes that commonly cited statistics that suggest one out of three women older than 35 will not get pregnant after trying for a year come from an analysis of statistics as old as 350 years! And indeed, more modern studies suggest much better results: "About 80 percent of women 35-39 will get pregnant naturally in a year of trying," according to the Daily Beast. "That's barely different from the 85 percent of under 35's who will succeed."
And beyond even that, the Beast cites a study that suggests 92 percent of 35 to 39-year-old women had at least one normal embryo to transfer after a single IVF cycle. So to sum up, these newer studies both conclude that stats for both natural and IVF conceptions seem much stronger for women through their late 30s than prevailing discourse might otherwise suggest.
And furthermore, a new study published last week and cited in the Washington Post found that women who conceive naturally after age 33 have a greater chance of living longer than women who had their last child before the age of 30. (Though that statistic is not uncomplicated, as this analysis shows.)
So what do you make of all this: Are new studies convincing enough to crush mythologies surrounding pregnancy after 35?
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New baby image courtesy of Shutterstock