Ladies who dared to give birth over the “advanced maternal age” of 35, boy do I have a lovely mid-week treat for you. By delaying parenthood for reasons relating to your career, your education, or simply taking the time to get your life in reasonable order to care for a baby, you’re upping the birth defect rate — in over 14 European countries. Cheers!
The Telegraph reports that upon reviewing 5.4 million births across the EU (between 1984 and 2007), researchers found that the overall congenital birth defect rate rose by 50 percent. In there was also a noted 27 percent increased “risk” for multiple births like twins.
Professor Helen Dolk, from the Centre for Maternal Fetal and Infant Research, University of Ulster, who co-authored the study, said that the uptick in multiple births can be explained both by assisted reproductive technology (ART) and shifts in maternal age. Nevertheless, she still thinks we need “more research” to properly understand how ART is contributing to multiple births and birth defects.
John Thorp, deputy-editor-in-chief of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, where the study is published, says that these changes in maternal health deserve “extra specialized help” by physicians:
“This increase in babies who are both from a multiple pregnancy and affected by a congenital anomaly has implications for pre and post natal service provision. Extra specialised help should be put in place for affected families, recognising than there are now nearly double as many affected families than there were 20 years ago.”
Hey, at least they’re not capping that off with a hearty helping of “hurry up and procreate.” Goodness knows you hear that mantra more times than you have fingers and toes.