Against the Odds
By Marni Jameson, Orlando Sentinel
A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have. As she ages, so do her eggs, which not only dwindle in number, but also have a greater chance of conferring a chromosomal defect.
For instance, at age 30, a woman’s chance of having a baby with any chromosomal abnormality, including Down syndrome, is one in 385, said Trolice.
By 35 — the age at which doctors recommend women have genetic testing — the risk jumps to one in 192. By age 46, it’s one in 16.
“In the world of reproduction, nothing gets better with age,” Paulson said.
Nonetheless, thanks to women’s desire to postpone pregnancy and advances in infertility treatment, the number of women having their first child at age 35 or older has increased ninefold from 1970 to 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Still, fertility experts don’t encourage women to defer pregnancy.
“In no way does a women want to use this example to defer fertility until they are older,” said Trolice. “After age 40, women still face huge hurdles. Their risk of complication gets higher every step of the way.”
If an older woman does conceive, her chances of miscarriage, high blood pressure, diabetes and problems with the placenta go up, so much so that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine tells doctors not to implant embryos in women beyond age 54.
Even Slaughter’s pregnancy was not without complication. Halfway through her pregnancy, her cervix grew weak and needed suturing to prevent a too-early arrival. After that, she stayed in the hospital for 10 weeks, until at 31.5 weeks (8.5 weeks shy of full term), she had a cesarean section and delivered baby Jackson, who weighed 3 pounds, 8 ounces.
“I always knew it was going to work,” she said, offering this advice to other women: “Pray for direction, then go for it. Don’t live with regrets.”
This story was originally published: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-05-26/health/os-orlando-woman-sets-oldest-mom-record–20140526_1_eggs-orlando-woman-infertility