Older mums discuss about fertility and the risks the face during pregnancy.
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Dr. Judith Hibbard: Now the older a woman becomes the greater chance that she has that a baby will have down syndrome or some other aneuploidy, some other chromosome abnormality. So for example, a woman who is 40-years-old, having her first baby is at greater risk than a woman who is say, 25-years-old. Lucia Rice: I am 41-years-old, it is my second pregnancy, I miscarried early on, about four months back. Well, my concern is to find out if there are any genetic defects. Dr. Eugene Pergament: In the United States if you walk through the door and you are 35 at the time you are going to deliver, we have a standard where we offer you invasive testing like Amniocentesis. For women who are 35 and older, all that procedure carries a small risk, the medical community believes that benefits of such testing outweigh the risk. Dr. Lauren Streicher: I always tell women particularly who are 40 or over, a positive pregnancy test is not a baby. You have to be very cautious when someone comes in and they are very excited because they have been trying to get pregnant and they are 40-years-old and they call us and say, wonderful news, the home pregnancy test is positive, and we need to caution them that before we can say, yes, this is a good pregnancy, we need to establish viability, and the older the mother is, the more concerned we are. Male Speaker: In the early 90's may be only 5% were 35 and older, and that number is easily doubled and it is suspected in the few years to even double then. Lucia Rice: Well, I didn't marry until a year ago, and for myself I have seen family and friends and many people around me, some being single parents and I know how difficult it is and it just was -- and that's something I wanted for myself, I mean I wanted a family but I wanted a partner first. Jennifer Bunge: I had hard time being pregnant and I did in vitro and I got pregnant, I was pregnant with twins and one of the twins stopped developing really early on. But I did have a healthy baby boy; and I am just concerned that -- I don't know if that makes that miscarriage rate higher. Dr. Lauren Streicher: How old are you going to be? Jennifer Bunge: 35. Dr. Lauren Streicher: 35, okay. Now you are on that magic number that everybody knows about, that they start to worry about genetics and think in terms of genetic screens Amniocentesis and what you need to realize it's not as if something terrible or different has happened just because you are 35. And if you look at this chart of the age of the mother at the time of delivery and the risk of the chromosomal abnormality, at age 34 which was just like steer, your risk of the baby with downs would be one out of 465. At age 35 your risk is one out of 365. So it's not as if something has changed that dramatically. The reason that we start talking genetic screening historically at age 35 is because that's when the risk of having a baby with down syndrome is greater than the risk of miscarriage from Amniocentesis. Jennifer Bunge: Well, it's really early right now, so obviously I am really concerned about having a miscarriage and just giving that right pre-natal care. Dr. Lauren Streicher: If the hormone level is doubling every 48 hours, once it gets to a certain critical threshold, we know that we can do an ultrasound and see if everything is forming correctly and if there is a heartbeat. Once we get to the heartbeat stage, while it's not a guarantee that it's going to proceed and be a viable genetically normal pregnancy, it's the first step that you get to, in terms of being optimistic about the pregnancy. Male Speaker: But I really believe that women can consider pregnancy at almost any point, if they take into account these kinds of factors that there are screening and diagnostic tests available to them and would do they want to take advantage of that.