Published online Dec 8, 2012. doi: 10.5409/wjcp.v1.i4.34
Revised: October 9, 2012
Accepted: October 20, 2012
Published online: December 8, 2012
Delayed childbearing (DC) is common in most Western countries. The average age of first-time mothers increased in United States from 21.4 years in 1970 to 25.0 years in 2006 and from 25.4 to 30.8 years in Australia in the same period. It is commonly believed that this has no ominous consequences. But several negative consequences of this behavior are described: stillbirth, prematurity, twins, birth anomalies. Age also decreases women’s fertility, thus many couples undergo in vitro fertilization. And we highlight a paradox: medical reproduction techniques decreases their effectiveness with maternal age, but their availability can be an incentive to postpone parenthood. Of course the risks of delayed parenthood involve a minority of cases, but are parents entitled to accept any risk on the behalf of their baby A complete information would make people cautious before deciding to postpone childbearing, though this is often an obliged rather that a free choice: the consumerist society pressure and the difficulty to find an employment have their heavy weight in this choice. But if this choice is not really free, people’s interest is to overcome these pressures and to claim for a real broad choice on when becoming parent, despite the pressures made by their cultural environment to postpone parenthood. Moreover, even reproductive techniques have some risks. Unfortunately, mass media often praise and endorse DC, disregarding the increase of premature babies born because of DC, a real alarm for public health. Pediatricians should discourage the culture that makes DC a normal event.