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Yesterday, AARP broadcast a long awaited program on “Inside E-Street” for PBS television, titled “Babies @50”.
Lynn Laszewski—from our “A Child After 40” online community—who had her son at 51, kicks off the program with her story. After Laszewski, I was interviewed on controversial social issues, including maternal ageism, and the rising need for FPM’s continued advocacy for later life mothers. To watch the video, click here (http://www NULL.aarp NULL.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-01-2012/babies-after-age-50-inside-estreet NULL.html). Click here for info on A Child After 40 (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/a-child-after-40-online/).
We were followed by a debate between Elizabeth Gregory, Director of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Houston, and author of Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood and Bonnie Steinbock, professor and medical ethicist at the University of Albany.
An over-40 mom herself, Gregory came out in support, quoting figures on the rise of later motherhood—in the 1970’s, 1 in 100 women gave birth over 35, compared to today’s figure of 1 in12. She focused on the amount of preparation later mothers tend to put into child bearing.
Steinbock voiced serious doubts about long-term health and ability to cope with teens. She had several key concerns, and one of the most significant was the use of reproductive technology by fertility doctors to aid menopausal women in becoming mothers.
Steinbock advocated for informed decision-making between parents and doctors. However, she also mentioned Carmen Bousada de Lara as the oldest mother on record–information which is now dated. (For more on “world’s oldest mothers”, see “Elephant Mom”.)
Steinbock’s talk on the gender-based double standard for parental age would have been better supported with a mention of the health risks faced by children who come from older men’s sperm. This would have further emphasized the irrational foundation for the maternal age bias. (Click here for “Legislating Larry”, a blog on medical research, and “Our Dirty Double Standard” (http://www NULL.doctoroz NULL.com/videos/why-are-we-against-later-motherhood?page=4#copy) on Dr. Oz.)
“Menopausal motherhood”—meaning women who have reached menopause and still wish to become mothers—is today’s hotbed of debate and is likely to continue in a snarl of ethical as well as moral issues. Yet, some experts argue that menopause is “evolutionary relic” and outdated in modern childbearing. This is covered in more detail in “Do You Look This Old at 50?” and in Lisa Miller’s now notorious New York Magazine piece (http://nymag NULL.com/news/features/mothers-over-50-2011-10/).
According to Laszewski, who was disappointed by the negativity against later mothers in the recent debate on Dr. Oz, the Inside E-Street (http://www NULL.aarp NULL.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-01-2012/babies-after-age-50-inside-estreet NULL.html) program was a step in the right direction.
“I was very pleased to see that Lark and the two professors did a nice job of presenting the issue rationally and realistically”, she says.
“All in all, I think it is the first rational explanation I’ve seen of the issue”, concluded Laszewski.
Notes for this blog:
AARP’s Inside E-Street program, aired on PBS: http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-01-2012/babies-after-age-50-inside-estreet.html (http://www NULL.aarp NULL.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-01-2012/babies-after-age-50-inside-estreet NULL.html)
- (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/health-headlines/women-increasingly-going-online-to-seek-free-sperm-donors-1 NULL.1590245)
Angel on CNN(http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)
CNN Mother's Day: "Mature Moms" (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)(http://youtu NULL.be/atScMih4_d0) (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
AARP's "Inside E-Sreet" on PBS TV (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
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