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many an older woman has been surprised by an unplanned baby

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Monday, August 06, 2007 | 0 comments

A woman's fertility falls after the age of 35, but many an older woman has been surprised when she has fallen pregnant with an unplanned baby in her late 40's or even early 50's.

Cherie Blair, the Prime Minister's wife, was certainly not alone in assuming that her fertility was negligible, only to be surprised and delighted to be proved wrong. Late pregnancy can and does happen, and for this reason it is important to get correct advice about contraception even beyond the menopause.

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The oldest woman on record to have a successful [natural] pregnancy and birth in the world, was aged 56 years in North America in 1956. The oldest woman in the UK was 54 years.

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In response to your question, you've no doubt heard of "change of life" babies - where unplanned pregnancies occurred when women thought their childbearing years were over. While statistically there is less likelihood of becoming pregnant at this time, there are many exceptions. If you are certain you do not want to become pregnant, you will need to use birth control.

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Dr. Christos Coutifaris: In our program, the oldest patient to have a successful pregnancy with her own eggs was 46 years old.

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One of the mothers in Expecting Miracles is a South-African woman who tells the story of how her first pregnancy didn't come until age 49. But when she found out she was pregnant with twins, she wasn't at all surprised.


A year before she conceived, her meditating husband had envisioned a boy and a girl who announced, "We are your unborn children." These children continued to visit him on Shabbat and on the holidays - the girl outspoken, and the boy silent in his prayer shawl, until his wife conceived.

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"In 2005, there were more than 104,000 births in the United States to women ages 40 through 44, and over 6,500 to women 45 and older. In 2004, there were 1,786 live births to women over 42, using donor eggs."





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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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