Risks And Rewards Of Having Children Later In Life

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Julie Dollinger loves being a mom. At 48 years old, Play-Doh and dress-up with her two young kids is now a part of the Brookline pediatrician’s daily routine. Dollinger says she was always hoping to have a family the conventional way.

“But it didn’t work out that way,” she says. “I didn’t meet anybody and I thought I’d like to try to have a family an unconventional way.” A sperm donor and five rounds of IVF later, little Bayla was cradled in Dollinger’s arms just 8 days shy of Dollinger’s 45th Birthday. Two years later Rafi arrived.

More women are deciding to have families later in life. According to the Department of Public Health, the average age of first time moms in Massachusetts is 27.7, the highest in the country.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

Fortunately for Dollinger, she had healthy pregnancies both times. But, there are increased risks with age. “About 50% of the pregnancies for women over the age of 41 or 42 do end in early miscarriage,” says Dr. Diane Kaufman of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Older women are also more likely to deliver pre-term babies or have complications related to high blood pressure or diabetes. Dr. Kaufman says the hardest part for her older patients is “just getting pregnant is probably the first complication. With improved fertility treatments and prenatal care often women who do get pregnant do quite well.”

In Massachusetts, most insurance companies cover fertility treatments until the age of 44. After that, would-be moms have to pick up the tab themselves.

Dollinger does think about the age difference between herself and her kids. “I always do the math and I think how old will I be when the kids go to college? How old will I be if they get married? I also think that life teaches you a lot that prepares you for parenthood.”

Child psychologists says its the quality of the mothering, not the age that really matters when its comes to raising kids.

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