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Inside E Street

Having Babies at 50 and Beyond

Advances in reproductive technology helps older women to have a child — is that a good thing?

Women giving birth in their 40s hardly seems unusual any more. But what about having a baby at age 50 or older? It's the new frontier of motherhood.

Inside E Street
examines whether the reproductive technology that allows older women to have babies is good for society.

See also:
More older adults seek to adopt.

The age of first-time mothers is rising in North America and Western Europe. In 1970, the average age of a woman having her first child was 21. Today, it's 25. In some European countries, it's even higher at 30. The reasons: more women are postponing childbirth to pursue careers; women, on average, are marrying later; and many women are starting second families following a divorce and remarriage.

more women like Lynn Laszewski are having babies later in life

More women like Lynn Laszewski are having babies later in life.

And while birth rates are generally down across the board, birth rates for older women are up. And while birth rates are generally down across the board, birth rates for older women are up.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the birth rate for women aged 40 to 44 rose 3 percent in 2009. For those 45 to 49, births also rose 3 percent. For women above 50, the number of births increased 5 percent.

Lark McCarthy talks to Elizabeth Gregory, Director of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Houston. Gregory is the author of Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood.  And, Bonnie Steinbock, professor and medical ethicist at the University of Albany.  She’s also the author of Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses.

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