Thursday, September 16, 2010

Article: Influence of age on infertility and birth defects

The London Independent (3 September 2010) carries an interesting article entitled: ‘Revealed: why risk of infertility and birth defects rises with age – Study pins blame on declining protein levels’.

Now, it is very possible, and probable, that declining protein levels do indeed affect fertility. But it does happen also that couples, who for reasons of career, etc., postpone having children until their later years, find at that stage that it is not possible or it is less possible to become pregnant. For those who find themselves in such a situation do they ever wonder how it is that they remained ‘un-pregnant’? Do they realise (maybe they were never told) that the contraceptive pill, and other methods of contraception, could very well have contributed to their infertility? As the Independent says:
‘ The trend of later motherhood is one of the most significant social developments of recent times, but it has brought heartache as an increasing number of women discover they left it too late to have a baby.’
And it also says,
‘Births to women aged 35 and over have soared 50 per cent in the last decade and among women in their 40s by 90 per cent (to 2009). Down’s syndrome pregnancies rose by more than 70 per cent in the 20 years to 2008, driven by the trend to later motherhood.’
The article is accompanied by a photograph of an ultrasound scan of a baby in her mother’s womb. Beautiful. So the baby is a human being in the process of growing! It’s good to see this acknowledged.