A surprisingly definitive new study is out and it might make you think twice about waiting until your mid-30s to have that first baby. Dr Leonid Gavrilov, co-author of the study and Principal Investigator of the NIH research project at NORC at the University of Chicago, says that if you want your child to live to be 100, you’re going to want to have them before you turn 25. Given how late most people are waiting to have kids these days, looks like we might not have many people hitting triple-digits in future generations.
Gavrilov’s study looked at the effect of maternal age on longevity and found a pretty alarming trend. He explains,
“Our study found that persons born to young mothers (aged less than 25 years) had significantly higher chances of living to 100, compared to their siblings born to older mothers. Even at age 75 years it still matters what was the mother’s age when a person was born,” as people born to mothers under the age of 25 have nearly an 80% higher likelihood to live to 100.
The study looked at children born in the same family, to reduce the opportunity for genetic or environmental factors to skew the results. And while it was a relatively low sample size and demands further investigation, the results are still shocking as they stand.
Personally, my mother had me when she was 25. I had my daughter at the age of 22. I guess as far as that goes, the two of us are doing pretty good? My husband on the other hand. Well… he was a “late miracle” according to his mother. Looks like I’ll be 100+ all by myself.
There’s something inherently morbid about this information, even though the researchers are obviously trying to educate us. It doesn’t change the fact that every person reading the results is not thinking, “Welp, thanks Mom. I either will or will not live to 100.” Apparently, I just really don’t like the idea of knowing when someone will die.
The research also adds to a growing divide in the discussion over when people choose to start families. On one hand, it seems responsible to wait until you’re financially stable and established in your career. On another, growing evidence shows that waiting might lead to a larger change of health complications for your children. I’m not sure if anyone really takes these meta ideas into consideration when planning their own family, but they’re definitely interesting concepts to keep in mind.