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Advanced maternal age and offspring outcomes: reproductive ageing and counterbalancing period trends

Barclay, Kieron and Myrskylä, Mikko (2016) Advanced maternal age and offspring outcomes: reproductive ageing and counterbalancing period trends. Population and Development Review, 42 (1). pp. 69-94. ISSN 0098-7921

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2016.00105.x


Women are having children later in the developed world. The mean age at first birth has increased in each of the 23 OECD countries since 1970, now averaging 28, and advanced-age fertility has also been increasing. Advanced maternal age is associated with increased risk of poor perinatal outcomes, as well as an increased risk of mortality and cancer in offsprings’ adulthood. The research documenting these negative outcomes, however, neglects the potential benefits of being born at a later date. For a prospective parent, delaying parenthood means that the child is born in a later birth cohort. This is beneficial, as for many important outcomes from health to educational attainment, secular trends are positive. We illustrate this general principle using data from Sweden, and show that the macro level contextual trends outweigh the individual risk factors. As a result, fertility postponement even beyond age 40 is positively associated with long-term offspring outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Population Council, Inc.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2016 11:59
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:09
Projects: 336475
Funders: European Research Council, European Research Council

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