Life can be complicated.
Especially when deciding to have
children. If the choice is made later
in life, that choice can come with
trade-offs—as many parents are
In Canada, a third of first-time
mothers are 35 or older, reports
the Canadian Institute for Health
Information. The average age of
fathers also increased to 29.1 from
27. 8 between 1995 and 2006.
Women’s fertility is highest and
the risks of complicated pregnancy
and childbirth are lowest from age
24 to 32 of their childbearing years.
The Society of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists of Canada advise that
men’s semen quality and fertility also
decrease with age.
Would-be moms and dads need to
understand the risks
Tania Sablatash had her daughter,
Grace, at 41, after trying diligently
for two years. For her, waiting to
have a baby was about maturity and
a secure relationship with a willing
“I had fears about being a mom,”
says the artist and educator. “But
I could hear my biological clock
ticking. I was in a situation that was
as perfect as it would ever be—and
I knew if I didn’t have a kid then, I’d
never have one.”
Sablatash is like many other older
first-time moms, says researcher
“We talked to 1,500 women and
500 men who made an individual
decision to have children later,” says
the University of Calgary professor
and scientific director at the Alberta
Centre for Child, Family and
Community Research on her study
into delayed child birth.
Most women said they did not
intentionally wait longer to have
children. Nor was waiting to have
children a career decision.
“The vast majority told us they
were waiting for the right partner,”
She adds that the study also found
few women understood the health
risks of delayed pregnancy.
Maternal fetal medicine specialist
Dr. Sue Chandra says for moms, those
risks include diabetes, high blood
pressure and a more complicated
delivery (such as Caesarian delivery).
Men and women who wait until after 32 to start families can face difficulties
getting pregnant and having a healthy baby.