What the Meghan Markle case tells us about pregnancy at 40

Last Sunday Meghan Markle announced that she was expecting her second child, who will also be Prince Harry’s second child and will be born around June, just before she celebrates her 40th birthday. A phenomenon that is becoming more and more frequent in this part of the world and that we can see reflected in our country with the example of personalities such as Toñi Moreno, Ana Rosa Quintana, Anne Igartiburu or Gloria Serra.

All of them have been mothers well into their quarantine. According to him INE annual report, in 2018 more women aged 40 than 27 gave birth. A number that has grown to 63.1% in the last 10 years, so we can speak of a clear social trend. The reasons for delaying motherhood? There are many and several factors are often mixed, from the lack of job stability, to not finding the right partner. Although reforms such as paternity leave have been implemented, to balance the situation of men and women in the world of work, the reality is that women have an added problem if they want to grow professionally and have career ambitions. In many cases, motherhood implies interrupting work life or finding many closed doors, and many do not want to give up something that has cost them half their lives to achieve. To this you can add the maturity factor, which currently takes much longer to arrive. Young people are emancipated later than ever, at an average age in Spain of 29 yearsTherefore, many couples do not consider looking for a child until well into their thirties.

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CHROMOSOME RISKS AND GENERATION GAP

Nowadays, thanks to advances in medicine, it is possible that women over 45 years of age can carry their pregnancies to term without major problems, although it is something that involves some risks. That is why some experts recommend preserving oocytes before reaching 35 years of age, to avoid later difficulties in becoming pregnant. According to studies, eggs from women over 40 have a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities, in addition to the fact that the ovarian reserve has decreased. In men, the ejaculate volume is lower, and sperm motility may be insufficient for conception, in addition to possible chromosomal alterations.

Psychologists also point to differences between the upbringing and education of mothers and fathers in their 20s, and those in their 40s. The generational difference is larger, although not insurmountable, but it does affect relationships. When the age is delayed excessively and difficulties arise, the fact that the children are highly desired can lead to an excess of overprotection that will have consequences on the personality of the children. On the other hand, it can cause these children to not be able to enjoy a carefree childhood and are forced to mature earlier, since some of their natural life experiences will be advanced.

Be that as it may, precariousness and inequality are the main factors that have caused many couples to have their first child almost at an age when they should traditionally be grandparents. Even in the case of Meghan Markle.

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