Women's reproductive years are increasing, reveals new study

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"The reproductive years for women are increasing and instead of 35, we should think of 37.1 as the age where female fertility declines." Photo: Getty Images
"The reproductive years for women are increasing and instead of 35, we should think of 37.1 as the age where female fertility declines." Photo: Getty Images

There's no way anyone would call a 35 year old woman a geriatric, right? However, an exception occurs when the same 35-year-old woman is pregnant

Pregnant women aged 35 and over are considered of advanced maternal age and face risks to their pregnancy, which include miscarriage, genetic abnormalities, fetal growth issues, preterm birth, preeclampsia and stillbirth. 

35 is considered the age when a woman's fertility begins to decline, and fertility professionals begin to suggest taking steps such as freezing eggs or saving towards IVF treatments if she plans to have children in future.

While male fertility also declines with age, women face much more pressure in this area. 

A new study has however revealed that 35 may no longer be the definitive cut-off point. The journal of the American Medical Association in 2020 revealed that reproductive years for women are increasing, stating "Trends of increasing age at natural menopause have been reported worldwide".

This study, using 60 years of data, suggests that 37 is the new age of decline, buying women two more years of fertility. 

The data also showed that the average age of menopause for women has increased from 48.4 years to 49.9. The report also found that the age that a girl got her first period has dropped slightly, on average, from 13.5 years to 12.7. 

Read: Would you wait till your 50s to have a child, just to avoid debt?

The best age to become a parent?

Despite what our biology tells us, there seems to be a double standard where age is concerned with parenting in men and women.

A recent UK survey asked the public to express their views on when is the best age to become a parent.

Results showed that men believe that 36 is the best age for men to have kids, while 36 is 'too old' for women to have children.

Both genders were asked to name the ideal age to have children, and both settled on 28 years as an ideal age to become a mother, and 30 the ideal age to become a father.

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