Childbirth later in life? The future, where women in their late 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond could get pregnant and carry a child to term, is now. But, Véronique Morin asks, can science really outsmart mother nature?

When “Louise,” a successfuL TV producer, talks about children, her voice softens and her arms instinctively open wide, as if to welcome a baby into them. “Strangely enough, now would be the best time in my life to have a child,” the 53-year-old says. “I’m settled in my career, I feel secure and confident and, a few years ago, I finally met the man who is the love of my life.” Louise has not reached menopause yet, and it is clear she has everything it takes to be a good mother. But nature, statistics and public opinion stand between her and her desire.

Even if the trend in the developed world is for women to have children late in life, the hard fact remains that 22 per cent of women are infertile between the ages of 35 and 39, a number that only increases as they age.

Even so, celebrities such as Madonna and Susan Sarandon have seized headlines by giving birth after 40, and John Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, who turns 48 in october, is expecting later this year. (Cheryl Tiegs, the famous model from the ’70s and ’80s, became a mother at 52. Tiegs reportedly used her own eggs, but a surrogate carried her twins.) And in India, a woman said to be 70 gave birth to triplets in 2008. But these experiences hide the real story: women rarely manage to get pregnant after 45 without the help of costly, difficult and far-from-guaranteed fertility treatments. Even if an older woman succeeds in conceiving, her risk of miscarrying or having a baby with genetic anomalies such as Down syndrome are greater than they are with younger mothers.

> Continue reading this article in Zoomer