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Pregnancy After Menopause

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Women having babies after menopause. We have the technology to make it happen, and a new study says it's safe. But it is creating a little controversy. Dr. Mulvihill has the story.

When a woman goes through menopause, her ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the past that meant she could no longer get pregnant.

But that's all changed. Today a growing number of women are going high-tech. using donor eggs from younger women to have babies later in life, even after menopause.

Some say there are big benefits. Older moms may be better prepared to handle hte financial, emotional, and psychological stresses of motherhood.

But is there a downside to pushing the fertility envelope? Is it risky for mother or baby? Those important questions are now being answered.

As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from U.S.C. tracked 77 healthy postmenopausal women, age 52 to 63, undergoing invitro fertilization using donor eggs.

The researchers found that compared to younger women having i.v.f., postmenopausal women were just as likely to get pregnant, had similar rates for miscarriage, and were just as likely to have twins, triplets, or low-birth weight babies.

But there were differences. The older women were much more likely to have complications of their pregnancies. They were up to five times more likely to develop gestational diabetes, and ten times more likely to have pre-eclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension.

What's more, 78 percent were delivered by Cesarean section, well above the national average.

So the debate over turning back to biological clock continues. While some argue it's unethical to help women deliver children they may not see grow to become adults, others say it's unethical not to give them the opportunity.

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