Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oops, Forgot One

Thanks again for the questions. I realize that I forgot one good one, so...

  • Frema - I assume you are talking about the case of Frieda Birnbaum of Saddle River, NJ (the sixty year-old woman who gave birth last month). Medically, I guess that everything turned out all right; it seems that the age at which it is "safe" to have children just keeps on increasing (although the age to which women stay fertile may not). Essentially, it was her choice to do so and I am sure she understood the implications of such a decision (or one would hope). A bit of simple math (that I am sure we all did in our heads) leads to the conclusion that, if Ms. Birnbaum lives to the average age for a woman in the U.S., she will be lucky to see her children turn twenty-two. If she's O.K. with it, so am I.


Matt Jenks said...

I think the age of fertility and "safe" child-bearing is pushed back by advances in our scientific knowledge of how reproduction works. We can safely monitor a pregnancy from a distance and, especially for those who are classified "high-risk", give the patients all the care they need in order to safely deliver. This is a trend in history rather than a trend in evolution (as I've heard some people call it).

As we've been able to better take care of ourselves, we've been able to live longer and thus help the next generation survive, as well.

One interesting add-on here. Some people believe that the secret to longevity (especially in women) is tied to the ability to have children. The notion is that we (and especially women) are now living longer perhaps not because of medical science, but because we are typically waiting longer to reproduce (average ages in the early to mid-30s now, as opposed to the mid-20s of days gone by). Interesting theory, and now here's an exceptional outlyer to check and see if this holds true.

Frema said...

Yep, that's the case I was referring to. Since you're so passionate when expressing your opinions, I was interested to see what your take would be on this!

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