This is my mum (with one of her precious grand children). She has done the best job of maintaining herself. She doesn’t wear sunscreen (unless exposed for long periods of time), she doesn’t use fancy creams on her skin. She eats well, she exercises, rarely drinks, has never smoked and she is the absolute picture of health. Oh and she is one of the least stress beings I know. She has the recipe for youth all shaped up.
Is 50 at the ‘ancient’ end of the scale when it comes to becoming a mother? On the 7pm project last night, the issue was raised after a 50 year old women shared of her search in finding a donor to provide her with a chance at conceiving through IVF. Is 50 the new 25? Well, unfortunately when we look at this from a health perspective, no it isn’t. Typically 50 year old women are physically at the time of gearing down, not up.
In the clinic I am seeing an increasing number of women 40 years and above beginning their fertility journeys, be it through IVF or natural fertility. Just last week I shared on her my thoughts with regard to Sami Lukis’ donor journey. If you took the time to read that post, I shared my view on a womans absolute right for a child. I also spoke about how it is never too late to slow down the clock. One thing the chinese know is preserving health and youth – Chinese Medicine supports youth wonderfully as it maintains good kidney function – the kidneys are what we believe (in chinese medicine) to be the foundation of the bodies regular function, including hormone regulation and reproductive function. I’m sure you have seen an Asian person and been blown away by their ‘youthfulness.’ They preserve their ‘essence’ and do it well.
So here is my answer; in my professional opinion, no two 50 year old women are the same BUT if a women isn’t able to conceive naturally at 50, I’m not sure her body is really in a position to be conceiving. A 50 year old woman who has maintained great health is going to have a very different physical and mental status than somebody who hasn’t. Her biological age may be 10 years before her, just as a women who is 50 and has lived a life of high stress, poor diet and very little time for herself is most likely 10 years older on the inside. Health is something that shines from the inside out. Poor health is easy to spot. Great health, even easier.
Now to be clear, I am really only talking about the physical health of a woman. I don’t dare to open up the can of worms that comes with the controversy of having a child at 50 – nor am I really in a position to comment – I’m not 50, although I did make the decision to have my children in my more fertile years. As women we deserve the right and choice, I’m not disputing that at all – but from a physical perspective most 50 year old women are not particularly fertile. That’s the bodies natural progression.
But even this raises further questions since poor egg quality and possible complications during the pregnancy of a 50 year old woman are far more likely than that of her younger sisters. So where do we draw the line? Fertility isn’t simply a switch we can flick on and off when we feel like it. It is something that must be preserved, appreciated and cared for.
Whatever your view remember this – look after your body well now and in the days ahead. I expect the majority of us will not be seeking babies at 50 – but remember that fertility is just one part of reproductive function. Today, I will leave you with one word. Protein. Protein holds the key to preservation. I’m not talking protein alone, but making sure there is a good balance of it in your diet is essential.
Lay the foundations now for a smooth transition through the later years and you will be forever thanking yourself you made the effort! Babies are only one part of a big picture. I’d love to hear your thoughts on having a child at 50 – it’s a really tricky subject that comes with so many questions.