Regarding your story on older moms

Dear Editor:

Sorry for the belated comment on your article but I’m just now reading the prior issues. In general I agree with most of what you have in your article, but I have a bone to pick with the quote from Dr. Principe “Right now, 50 is like the new 30.” The article implies that IVF can allow women to get pregnant through the age of 50 and although the article indicates that it can be difficult and take longer than if you’re 30 years old, that it is possible. This myth is a big part of the reason that many women are waiting longer to have children – they are under the false impression that although it may be more difficult to get pregnant in your 40’s it is very possible and with some cash outlay for an IVF that it’s extremely common. Pregnancies in the mid-40’s are indeed possible but statistically unlikely because of the very small proportion of quality eggs that a typical woman has at that age. IVF just helps the sperm and egg to successfully meet – if a woman doesn’t have quality eggs, IVF can do nothing to help unless donor eggs are used.

Although I am not a medical doctor, I speak to you from several years of studying infertility due to age-related causes as a lay-person and patient. I have prematurely aging ovaries and was in a much worse situation than normal when my husband and I decided to start having children when I was in my mid-30’s. So, although my situation is unique, I, too, was led to believe that there was no hurry to have children because of all these babies being born to women in their late 40’s. You hear about these babies all the time in the media and the parents are celebrities. What is not mentioned in the media (and often it’s left out due to privacy concerns) is that the celebrities who are having babies in their late 40’s are doing it with donor eggs.

Sorry if my message seems to be rambling a bit – my point is that women need to be made aware that although IVF can help infertility in certain cases, a typical woman simply cannot use her own eggs to get pregnant at age 50 and even in the mid-40’s it’s extremely unlikely. Your article does, however, draw attention to the phenomenon of older women as new mothers and raises a lot of the pros and cons.

Anonymous in Hoboken


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