Health

Social Media Is Shaming Janet Jackson for Her Advanced Aged Pregnancy

May 4th 2016

By:
Thor Benson

News broke on Wednesday that Janet Jackson will be having her first child at nearly 50 years old. Jackson recently postponed her tour, saying she needed to focus on planning her family. She's married to a Qatari businessman named Wissam Al Mana.

Many people on Twitter have reacted to the pregnancy with offensive comments or general confusion.

Indeed, a woman having a child at nearly 50 years old is unusual, and there are many issues associated with it that must be addressed. The fertility rate for a woman over 40 is only 5 percent per month, and it only goes up to 10 percent when in vitro fertilization is utilized. Beyond that, complications can occur when women have children later in life.

Pregnancy Infographic

"As a woman gets older, the risks of carrying a pregnancy increase," Dr. Richad Paulson, medical director of the USC Fertility program, told ATTN:. "Generally ... we're talking about complication associated with the pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and gestational high blood pressure. With those conditions, you just have them during the pregnancy, and they usually go away afterward. Those kinds of risks go up with age, and they take a big jump at 50, and at 55 they take another big jump. So typically women over the age of 55 are advised not to be pregnant."

However, medical advances make pregnancy more viable for older women.

"The biggest misconception is that these people are getting pregnant with their own eggs [when they're older]," Paulson said. "Typically, people who get pregnant after the age of 45 are either not getting pregnant with their own eggs, unless they froze their eggs when they were younger." He said people typically use egg donors if they're having a baby later in life.

Pregnancies after the age of 50 only started becoming generally viable as of the mid 1990s, when medical procedures like in vitro fertilization started to become more common, according to USA Today. That said, Paulson believes women having children at that age is still relatively uncommon. It may be rare, but as medicine advances, it's becoming safer and easier.