Biological clocks: your thoughts


#1

Hi everyone, I was listening to CAF from a past episode and the guest said the idea of a biological clock is sometimes exaggerated with mainstream doctors. She said a lot of children are born to women who are above 35 and that a lot of doctors place undue emphasis on avoiding children after this. This sometimes leads to women opting for sterilization after a certain age or not attempting to have (possibly more) children.

What are your thoughts on the biological clock?


#2

Medical evidence shows that a woman over 35 has a greater chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome. The risks are so pronounced that a woman in her late 40s/early 50s who gets pregnant has a 25% chance of having a baby with the condition. These children have to be cared for full-time for the rest of their lives. What happens when the parents die at 70-75? Hopefully they will have a brother or sister who is willing to take them in. It is a very serious reason to avoid pregnancy at that age.


#3

Having children over the age of 35 is a very recent thing that has come to be accepted in society. I would say it only became acceptable in the 90s. I know first hand. I was born in 1970 in a time when that was a scandal. One cousin even told me behind my mother's back they were always saying 'Poor woman she will be crushed when the kid comes out like a vegetable'.

Well the joke is on them, I was the top of my class in grade 1. We were the only family in town that were English (I grew up in the french part of Canada) so I managed to learn a language and be the top student over kids who already spoke it.

So...... God's will is God's will. Why he chooses to statistically send down syndromes kids to slighty older women is a mistery to me.

I keep thinking of my Aunt who was pregnant in her forties for her 6 kid. There was a great concern about the health of the kid. The doctor recommended abortion. My aunt told that story as her perfectly healthy 5 year old girl was palying around.

People with Down Syndrome are on this earth because God wants them here and no amount of edcation gives a doctor the right to contradict that

CM


#4

In 1934 Sicily 3 little boys were born to three sisters.

The sisters were aged: 46, 44 and 42.

All three little boys were well loved, healthy and considered blessings. One was my Dad, born to the 46 year old.

So, it isn’t a new 1990’s phenomenon. Older women have had babies, I guess, forever.


#5

[quote="cmscms, post:3, topic:229687"]
Having children over the age of 35 is a very recent thing that has come to be accepted in society. I would say it only became acceptable in the 90s. I know first hand. I was born in 1970 in a time when that was a scandal. One cousin even told me behind my mother's back they were always saying 'Poor woman she will be crushed when the kid comes out like a vegetable'.

Well the joke is on them, I was the top of my class in grade 1. We were the only family in town that were English (I grew up in the french part of Canada) so I managed to learn a language and be the top student over kids who already spoke it.

So...... God's will is God's will. Why he chooses to statistically send down syndromes kids to slighty older women is a mistery to me.

I keep thinking of my Aunt who was pregnant in her forties for her 6 kid. There was a great concern about the health of the kid. The doctor recommended abortion. My aunt told that story as her perfectly healthy 5 year old girl was palying around.

People with Down Syndrome are on this earth because God wants them here and no amount of edcation gives a doctor the right to contradict that

CM

[/quote]

I don't think it is correct that having children was looked down on, at least not everywhere. My grandmother had 13 children, she was born 1920 and had her last child in 1961, at 41 years old. My great Aunt had 17 children and I am sure her last children were born at a similar age. In fact big families were common in that area and having babies later in life would have been also common. It was not looked down on. :shrug:


#6

Whether a child is loved or more likely to be born with Downs or another syndrome are 2 different things.

I could love a Downs baby with all my heart.

That does not change the fact that if I'm predisposed to having a Downs baby (predisposition is a KEY factor here), that the older I am the more likely I will have a Downs baby.

As a woman that will turn 40 soon, and was just informed that perimenopause is the stage I'm in... No, the biological clock is not a fallicy...

That said, a dear friend of now 45 had wonderful healthy twin boys not to long ago. Two 40 y/o friends very healthy babies... and a now late 30 friend on her way to a healthy baby God willing!


Copied from [an online source]

Unlike men, who produce new sperm daily throughout most of their lifetime, women are born with all their eggs in one — okay, two baskets (ovaries). To be more precise, a woman is born with about one to two million immature eggs, or follicles, in her ovaries.

Throughout her life, the vast majority of follicles will die through a process known as atresia. Atresia begins at birth and continues throughout the course of the woman's reproductive life. When a woman reaches puberty and starts to menstruate, only about 400,000 follicles remain. With each menstrual cycle, a thousand follicles are lost and only one lucky little follicle will actually mature into an ovum (egg), which is released into the fallopian tube, kicking off ovulation. That means that of the one to two million follicles, only about 400 will ever mature.

Relatively little or no follicles remain at menopause, which usually begins when a woman is between 48-55 years of age. The remaining follicles are unlikely to mature and become viable eggs because of the hormonal changes that come along with menopause.


So, Yeah, a woman runs out of time... hence the reference to the clock... And some women do great coming in at the very last minute. There are tests that can determine egg quality...


#7

I think God already thought of that and took care of it :).


#8

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:4, topic:229687"]
In 1934 Sicily 3 little boys were born to three sisters.

The sisters were aged: 46, 44 and 42.

All three little boys were well loved, healthy and considered blessings. One was my Dad, born to the 46 year old.

So, it isn't a new 1990's phenomenon. Older women have had babies, I guess, forever.

[/quote]

I agree that women in the 40s have always had children. I am simply stating from my experience of being born to a 42 years old women in 1970, I was the but of a lot of ignorant comments. I think society should welcome all children as a gift from God regardless of the mother's age or the physical ability/disability.

Also, I am a bit confused about the whole title of this post. It states 'biological clock' which I always though was the need for an older women to have a kid that then there seems to be talk that it is wrong to have kids later in life. I guess I am missing the key point

CM


#9

When my mother was pregnant with me (she was 44), the doctors told her that there was a 95% chance I would be born with Down Syndrome. My parents were devastated. Sometimes I think about it now, and it makes me so sad knowing how panicked my mother must have been for that 9 months. They said they would have loved me regardless, but my dad is over 70 and just now beginning to think about retirement. If I had been born with DS, they would have never been able to fulfill their dreams of traveling the world; they would have had to take care of me till they were physically unable.

Of course, the happy ending is that I was a perfectly happy, robust, 10 lb. baby. But it's something I think about . . . a lot.


#10

I've seen a few studies that point to Downs et al only being increased in mid 30s, 40s if the woman is having her first child. Apparently if you already have children then the risk is deminished.

The stats are pretty sound really, and I myself wanted chidlren before I was 30, but I'm still single at 29, so I've moved teh number up to 35 - after that I'll look at adoption. Simply because I know there are some genetic time bombs in my blood line. I'd welcome any child regardless of health status, but I don't particuarly want to run the risk in an older age bracket, for teh sake of the child.

But at the end of the day, I"m more about the math, if you have a kid at 40, then when they are 20 you'll be 60, that's not so bad, its this kids at 50, 60 that I wonder about when its their first, or they seek IVF. I dont' think its right to deprive a child of physical parents who can run around after them.


#11

[quote="phil8888, post:1, topic:229687"]
Hi What are your thoughts on the biological clock?

[/quote]

I think it is a concept somebody dreamed up to get women to do some stupid things like sterilization, abortion, and hustling to marry or get pregnant by some man, any man to beat the clock.

It is also a concept that had no real meaning, beyond "when does menopause really start?" before the age of artificial contraception, because back in the dark ages (pre-60s) when children were considered a gift from God, and bearing and raising children the natural part of a woman's life for 20 years or so, not an illness to be treated, at least 1/3 to half of pregnancies were among women over 30 so it the fear factor was much less. So much of modern medicine, particularly in GYN care is fear-driven it is hard to remember what "normal" looked like.


#12

[quote="faithfully, post:6, topic:229687"]
Whether a child is loved or more likely to be born with Downs or another syndrome are 2 different things.

I could love a Downs baby with all my heart.

That does not change the fact that if I'm predisposed to having a Downs baby (predisposition is a KEY factor here), that the older I am the more likely I will have a Downs baby.

As a woman that will turn 40 soon, and was just informed that perimenopause is the stage I'm in... No, the biological clock is not a fallicy...

That said, a dear friend of now 45 had wonderful healthy twin boys not to long ago. Two 40 y/o friends very healthy babies... and a now late 30 friend on her way to a healthy baby God willing!


Copied from GoAsk Alice

Unlike men, who produce new sperm daily throughout most of their lifetime, women are born with all their eggs in one — okay, two baskets (ovaries). To be more precise, a woman is born with about one to two million immature eggs, or follicles, in her ovaries.

Throughout her life, the vast majority of follicles will die through a process known as atresia. Atresia begins at birth and continues throughout the course of the woman's reproductive life. When a woman reaches puberty and starts to menstruate, only about 400,000 follicles remain. With each menstrual cycle, a thousand follicles are lost and only one lucky little follicle will actually mature into an ovum (egg), which is released into the fallopian tube, kicking off ovulation. That means that of the one to two million follicles, only about 400 will ever mature.

Relatively little or no follicles remain at menopause, which usually begins when a woman is between 48-55 years of age. The remaining follicles are unlikely to mature and become viable eggs because of the hormonal changes that come along with menopause.


So, Yeah, a woman runs out of time... hence the reference to the clock... And some women do great coming in at the very last minute. There are tests that can determine egg quality...

[/quote]

That website you quoted is a disgusting sex-promoting one, that instructs on masturbation, homosexual sex, including "fisting," recommends contraception, etc. I think you could find the information on some other website.

Here's their index, notice under fetishes it lists bestiality.

goaskalice.columbia.edu/Cat6.html

And if you click on "More," you get this

goaskalice.columbia.edu/Cat6-full.html#77


#13

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:12, topic:229687"]
That website you quoted is a disgusting sex-promoting one, that instructs on masturbation, homosexual sex, including "fisting," recommends contraception, etc. I think you could find the information on some other website.

Here's their index, notice under fetishes it lists bestiality.

[Edited out link to web site) And if you click on "More," you get this

Again, edited link... quote]

Sorry, it was the first one that popped up... I didn't review their entire content... only that the description of what happens to womens eggs....

You'll notice, however I just COPIED relevant information... I didn't link to a disgusting website... you did..... Jeez!

I was just looking for better words than could write quickly...that would give the gist in a few paragraphs....since I copied the words... I thought I should still give credit... :eek:

[/quote]


#14

I need to apologize for posting those links to a website. I really wasn’t thinking I should bring it up to a moderator and let them handle it.

Sorry about that folks, it won’t happen again!

:blush:


#15

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:14, topic:229687"]
I need to apologize for posting those links to a website. I really wasn't thinking I should bring it up to a moderator and let them handle it.

Sorry about that folks, it won't happen again!

:blush:

[/quote]

I didn't see them...and they apparently have been removed...so don't worry. :)


#16

I had my first baby at 34 and the 2nd one at 36. We did get amnio for the first but refused it for the 2nd. Both were healthy. I had to deal with having my chart labeled "advanced maternal age" but oh well. God wasn't ready for me to have kids before then.

I am sure we would have tried for another had not I gone into early menopause at age 40. I sure wasn't ready to stop but I had no choice...it was over...

:(

But I thank God every day for my 2 blessings. I feel so fortunate that we had no problems conceiving either of them, especially considering I was on ABC since the age of 15.


#17

[quote="Thoughtfulone, post:2, topic:229687"]
Medical evidence shows that a woman over 35 has a greater chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome. The risks are so pronounced that a woman in her late 40s/early 50s who gets pregnant has a 25% chance of having a baby with the condition. These children have to be cared for full-time for the rest of their lives. What happens when the parents die at 70-75? Hopefully they will have a brother or sister who is willing to take them in. It is a very serious reason to avoid pregnancy at that age.

[/quote]

At the age of 35 a woman has a 1 in 400 chance of having a baby with Downs Syndrome so that means she has a 99.75 % chance of NOT having a baby with Down Syndrome.

At the age of 45 a woman has a 1 in 32 risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome so that means she has a basically 97% chance of NOT having a baby with Down Syndrome.

In most other areas of life people would consider 97% odds pretty good.

More than 75% of babies with Down Syndrome are born to women UNDER the age of 35.

The median life expectancy for a child with Down Syndrome is now 60 years of age. So given your reasoning, I guess nobody should have a baby, because it might be born with Down Syndrome and the parents might die before it does and there will be nobody left to care for it.

Many persons diagnosed with Down Syndrome today do extremely well and some are able to live some sort of independent life once they hit maturity. Many hold jobs and some are able to drive etc. Sometimes they live in a group home, sometimes they even manage to live all on their own.

Honestly, illness, disability can afflict any of us at any time. People have accidents and can no longer care for themselves. What if you can no longer care for yourself. What will happen to YOU? Well whatever your answer is to that question, apply it to the person with Down Syndrome, who might actually be more capable of caring for themselves then you, if you should become ill.

It seems that It is this negative portrayal of Down Syndrome that leads to such a high percentage (I believe it is now 90%) of those that are diagnosed prenataly being aborted.


#18

[quote="bhall0689, post:9, topic:229687"]
When my mother was pregnant with me (she was 44), the doctors told her that there was a 95% chance I would be born with Down Syndrome. My parents were devastated. Sometimes I think about it now, and it makes me so sad knowing how panicked my mother must have been for that 9 months. They said they would have loved me regardless, but my dad is over 70 and just now beginning to think about retirement. If I had been born with DS, they would have never been able to fulfill their dreams of traveling the world; they would have had to take care of me till they were physically unable.

Of course, the happy ending is that I was a perfectly happy, robust, 10 lb. baby. But it's something I think about . . . a lot.

[/quote]

So if you had DS, why couldn't you have travelled with them? Do you know people with DS? Of course there are some that end up with some severe effects, but just as many do fine, and would be able to do things like travel. It certainly would have been a different life for your parents, but it likely wouldn't have had to mean the end of all their dreams either. You may have been one of the ones who goes on to live independently or semi-independently. There are many options out there today now that the value and potential of those who happen to have this extra chromosome is being recognized.


#19

Women have been having babies into their '40s for as long as women have been reaching their '40s in good health.

The historical rate of maternal death is about 1%. In the 1800s, there were places where it rose to as high as 40%. There have been many stretches of history in which early childhood mortality claimed 30-50% of children before their fifth birthday. Compared to that, our chances of having a child with a birth defect at any maternal (or paternal) age is like getting struck by lightning. Furthermore, in terms of being able to live a productive and independent life, there is no better time in history to be a person with abilities that are atypical, whether that be above or below average.

Although some couples may have information that gives them a serious reason to avoid future pregnancies, it is not immoral to be open to children when there a chance the child could have a genetic abnormality, any more than it was immoral to do so back in the days when the chances of death or crippling injury or disease were so high. Life is dangerous, but you have to live it, anyway. It has been worse.


#20

[quote="puzzleannie, post:11, topic:229687"]
I think it is a concept somebody dreamed up to get women to do some stupid things like sterilization, abortion, and hustling to marry or get pregnant by some man, any man to beat the clock.

It is also a concept that had no real meaning, beyond "when does menopause really start?" before the age of artificial contraception, because back in the dark ages (pre-60s) when children were considered a gift from God, and bearing and raising children the natural part of a woman's life for 20 years or so, not an illness to be treated, at least 1/3 to half of pregnancies were among women over 30 so it the fear factor was much less. So much of modern medicine, particularly in GYN care is fear-driven it is hard to remember what "normal" looked like.

[/quote]

Very well put. I have heard that many celebrity women have used birth control and sometimes had abortions while furthering their careers in their early and best reproductive years, then have resorted to IVF and surrogacy and such things when the bio clock catches up with them. And I would venture to guess that everyday women have followed their example or the prevailing anti-family pressures of our culture.

I remember being 23 and having medical treatments geared toward protecting my fertility in case I did marry. I didn't. The hardest part was 35 and above wondering if it was still possible, then in the mid-40s in addition wondering about my baby having problems but if I'd gotten married around that time it would've just had to be a prayerfully discerned matter with the potential hubby. Now that I'm surgically infertile for good, I don't have those fears but I know they can be a source of stress and anguish.

Seems like the best approach just has to be prayer and trust, though, and being informed but not being too swayed by the scary statistics. Like someone pointed out, the odds of things going well are much higher than the odds of problems. Not to dismiss that as a concern, but just keep it in perspective.

And I think if they have the chance, women should give more consideration to starting their families at a younger age, because our bodies are more designed for that, and there seems to be some protective factor for the eggs' health as well not to have the first pregnancy be at the so-called "advanced age." It is just biological fact and we ignore it at our peril. Sarah and Elizabeth in the Bible were the miraculous exceptions but ordinary gals shouldn't bank on that!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.