Parenting over 40

At the recent ASRM convention for those in the fertility industry, Choice Mom friend and therapist Andrea Braverman led a discussion titled “Wrinkled Parents: Medical, Ethical, and Psychological Issues of Parenting at an Older Age.”

I’ve been asked in the past if there are any studies about the impact on children of having older parents, and thus far there are no particular research studies I’m aware of that have focused on the child. And not many on the impact on the mother of parenting over 40.

But Andrea’s discussion at ASRM did at least provide some interesting viewpoints from those in the medical establishment. The event audience was largely filled with 225 doctors and therapists who work in the fertility industry. They used cell phones to respond to several polling questions during the talk.

When she asked through interactive technology for audience members to vote on a few questions, here’s what they said:

  • How old is too old to parent (not clear if they meant to START parenting)? 51% said over the age of 50; 25% said between ages 50 and 55; 11% said between the ages of 45 and 50.
  • My biggest concern about older parenting: 44% life expectancy of parent; 19% emotional burden on child of having older parent; 16% ability to be a “good” parent; 12% medical risks of pregnancy interesting that it is such a small margin among the medical establishment in attendance; 9% child potentially being caregiver to parent at young age.
  • Most donor-conceived people will want to have some contact with their donor: 48% agree, 19% disagree, 12% neither agree nor disagree; 11% strongly agree; 10% strongly disagree
  • I have a responsibility to consider a parent’s fitness before helping them conceive a child: 44% agree, 38% strongly agree, 10% disagree; 5% neither agree nor disagree; 3% strongly disagree
  • Everyone has a right to have a child: 46% disagree, 19% strongly disagree, 14% strongly agree, 10% agree, 10% neither agree nor disagree

What are your thoughts on these questions? Use the comments field below to respond.



  2 comments for “Parenting over 40

  1. Mikki
    November 10, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Lara: I’ve been to Andrea’s ASRM discussions in the past using the new interactive polling technique with those in the audience. It’s actually just meant to gauge the reactions of those in attendance to the questions, as a matter of curiosity and talking points. The ethics of fertility is always an interesting subject with a wide variety of opinions. Similarly, I’m bringing these questions up with the Choice Mom community as a point of discussion. I don’t expect we consider ourselves to have right answers to any of these. But it’s interesting to think about what our views actually are.

  2. November 10, 2010 at 6:27 am

    I find the entire survey offensive. It is asking these professionals to make nonprofessional, subjective statements about prospective parents. The questions imply that these people have moral judgment skills which are superior to the general public. I would hope that there were some members of the audience that refused to participate.

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