The number of women giving birth in their 50s in Estonia has increased in recent years, gynecologist Gabor Szirko said. But health risks increase as parents pass 40.
Earlier this month, the media reported that a 70-year-old woman in Uganda had given birth to twins. ETV's "Ringvaade" spoke to Szirko about fertility trends, both in Estonia and abroad.
"Statistics show that over the last 20 years, the number of women over 50 giving birth has risen by 500 percent," he said.
"If you hear that a famous film star gave birth at the age of 54, it is likely that the procedure was done by artificial insemination using a donor egg cell. But there are women in Estonia who have given birth at 50. Estonian law provides for infertility treatment up to the age of 50 and state-subsidized fertility treatment up to the age of 40."
But there are risks with having a baby in your 50s. The child's health is directly related to the mother's, so gynecologists do not recommend pregnancy and carrying a child to people over 55.
"Pregnancy is an endurance sport that ends in a sprint and puts all your organs to the test. As you get older, all the risks increase and there is a high risk of having a premature baby," the expert said.
"In Estonia, there are women who have become pregnant by themselves just under the age of 50 and also those who have become pregnant through artificial insemination," added Szirko. "But there are also women who have crossed the threshold just under the age of 55 because laws are very different in different countries."
"However, 55-year-old women giving birth are still isolated cases in Estonia too," Szirko added. "If a person is informed of all the risks, who is the doctor to overrule a woman's desire to have a baby?"
Looking at younger people, Szirko said egg freezing is currently very popular.
"The idea is that if you're over 30 and you're not ready to have a baby, but you want to increase your chances, you can freeze some eggs. But of course, this doesn't guarantee a 100 percent success rate," he said.
Szirko said we must also talk about men's health.
"Everyone knows that men can have children until they die, but in fact, there are now such scientific papers that men over 40 should still be careful," said the gynecologist, who is over 40 himself.
"But of course, it's also true that the older I get, the more I like being with my children and dealing with them, they seem to fit into my life much better now. If I were a woman, I would also wonder why there are limits placed on me."
Editor: Helen Wright