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What is a “geriatric” pregnancy?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2023 | Surrogacy

For women who chose to delay having children in their younger years, or those who experienced problems getting pregnant or carrying their babies to term, they may have heard the term “geriatric pregnancy” used by their doctors.

Typically, the term “geriatric” is used solely for those in their golden years. But in this case, it can be used for women having babies after age 35, because they are perceived as being in the latter portion of their child-bearing years. One of the most high-profile geriatric pregnancies taking place right now is that of reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian, who is 44 and carrying husband Travis Barker’s baby.

The terms are changing

Perhaps due to the negative connotation of the old term, more and more obstetricians are referring to these later-in-life pregnancies as “advanced maternal age” (AMA) pregnancies instead of the traditional term “geriatric.” 

As women delay marriage and childbirth to build rewarding careers or pursue their own goals in their 20s and early 30s, there is an uptick in women who are entering motherhood later. These women often face increased challenges with fertility, as women’s ability to conceive decreases markedly with age. For instance, 40-year-old women have only a 5% chance of getting pregnant each month.

Risks come with maternal age

But many women hesitate to conceive after a certain age due to the health risks to both mom and baby. In the example of the Kardashian-Barkers, the mother of three had to have emergency fetal surgery to fix an unknown problem with the baby she carried. 

Some women just don’t want to deal with that level of risk and turn instead to surrogates who statistically have better odds of carrying a healthy baby to term.

Is surrogacy for you?

There is no right or wrong answer to that question. Before making such a major decision, it is always prudent to explore all the legal ramifications of a surrogate pregnancy.