Researchers claim advanced age may be beneficial in certain cases
Parents who decide to wait to have children until their 30s got some reassuring news from one presentation at the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in New Orleans this February. While older women still face greater risks of bearing children with chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome, the odds of other defects decrease with age.
In the study, the second-trimester ultrasounds of more than 76,000 women were reviewed. Researchers found that mothers aged 35 and older were 40 percent less likely to have a child with birth defects known as major congenital deformations, which affect the heart, brain, kidneys, bones and digestive system. Study co-researcher Dr. Katherine Goetzinger, an assistant professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Washington University in St. Louis explained in a news release, “Findings from this study may provide some reassurance for these women regarding the likelihood of having an anatomically correct child.”
The study has not been embraced by the entire medical community. Dr. Luke Moritz of Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York Coty points out that “they are looking at mothers in their second trimester — many of the 35-year-olds [and older] will have had a miscarriage or not even gotten pregnant due to age.” To be sure, there are still considerable risks of failure and defects with pregnancies among older mothers. Moritz also added, however, “I do agree that if the older mother did get to the second-trimester ultrasound they have a better outcome.” At this time, the precise cause of this correlation between age and reduced incidence of birth defects is unknown.
These new findings do have a direct impact on mothers who have given birth to a child with a birth defect. While in the past it may have been assumed that the mother’s age was a key cause of the defect, it is now more possible than ever that other factors were at play, including environmental and chemical influences, along with the quality of treatment during delivery. This study gives new hope for older mothers that with the proper medical care and treatment, they can give birth to a healthy child.
The attorneys at Mallon & McCool, LLC, follow research like this to help determine precisely who or what is responsible for a client’s birth defect. They encourage anyone who has a child with a birth defect to contact an experienced legal representative to help determine who is at fault and what their legal options are. Their law offices are located at 300 East Lombard Street in Baltimore, Maryland.