Risks for girls born to women after mid-30s
MOTHERS who have baby girls in their late 30s and 40s may be compromising their daughters' chances of starting a family when they grow up.
Advancing age not only reduces a woman's ability to conceive but also raises the risk that female offspring will struggle to fall pregnant, new research has found.
The findings come at a time when women are increasingly postponing having children until they have established their career. One in seven coupled women already has difficulty becoming pregnant, and this is likely to worsen as more daughters of older mothers reach adulthood and try to conceive.
Peter Nagy, of Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta, Georgia, who led the study, said: "What is frightening is that if we think of our parents, most of them were relatively young when we were born. Today society is changing, and a lot of women are delaying childbirth.
"What we see in 20 to 30 years' time will be completely different," he said. "We are likely to see more fertility problems in the future."
Any such effect could be heightened by the growing popularity of a type of IVF known as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, which was developed to treat male infertility and now accounts for about half of all procedures.
Because ICSI involves injecting an egg with a single sperm, which might not otherwise have been capable of fertilising it, concerns have been raised that boys born in this way could also grow up to be infertile.
It has long been understood that the quality of a woman's eggs worsens as she approaches the menopause, causing a sharp decline in her fertility after the age of about 35.
Dr Nagy found women were more likely to become pregnant if they were born to relatively young mothers.