Parenting

Is 50 too old to have a baby?

Is 50 too old to have a baby?

The cover of New York Magazine this month features a naked, pregnant, 50+ woman under the coverline: is she too old for this?

Further down, the story asks: is there anything wrong with being 53 and pregnant?

Related: I had a baby at 50 – without IVF

The story taps into the controversy over older mothers, amid criticism from some quarters that women over 35 are “selfish” for having babies.

It points out that IVF technology is allowing more older women to have babies, but also points out that criticism that older women don’t have enough energy to look after babies is hypocritical in an age when grandparents are relied upon more than ever before to share childcare duties.

Recently, The Australian Women’s Weekly featured Anthea Nicholas, who became a mother for the first time at age 50 by accident.

Related: Advertising exploits women’s fear of infertility

Her story prompted an overwhelming response from readers, many of whom had their own “change of life” babies in their late 40s or early 50s, or had been children of older mothers themselves.

Perth obstetrician Barry Walters certainly thinks 50 is too old — in fact, he also thinks 40 is too old to have a baby.

He told the West Australian women were selfish to have a baby when they were older, and he was worried about potential complications such as premature births.

“The selfishness side of it is a small aspect but I think that when women are over 40, yest they’re having a baby who’s a baby for a little time but that child will grow into a person in their 20s and 30s who will have, if the parents are still alive, elderly and potentially unwell parents,” Dr Walters said.

Your say: Do you think 50 is too old to have a baby?

Video: Leading doctor criticises older mothers

Related stories


Unwind and relax with your favourite magazine!

Huge savings plus FREE home delivery