The fact that you can have babies later is life is an indicator that you remained fertile for an extended period of time. It is said that women’s fertility peaks in the 20s and sharply diminishes into the 30s. However, a recent study has shown that in case your fertility lasts well into your middle thirties, you are more likely to live longer! The people who conducted the study would like to conclude that there is indeed a link between extended fertility and longevity for women. And today we’ll actually take a look at the study in question…
A research team from the Perls’ Boston University culled their data from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS). This is a unified effort by the said university and three others and in which is recorded the facts from 551 families, many among whom demonstrated exceptional longevity. Out of this, 462 women were picked for the said study.
During the study it was found that women who had their last child after the age of 33 were much more likely to live longer than those who had their last child before that age. In fact, the surprising fact was that by having at least one child (not necessarily the first) after the age of 33, the women had literally doubled their chances of surviving till the merry old age of 95!
And that is saying quite something when you consider the statistics…
Women’s fertility statistics
The chance of a woman naturally conceiving (without external help or treatment) within a year greatly varies as you step on the other side of your 30s.
At 30, recent statistics show that the chances are at 75%. But by the time you reach 35, the chances have decreased to 66%. And at 40 – they’ve gone as low as a meager 44%.
However, if you actually gave yourself 4 years to try – the chances increased greatly to 91%, 84% and 64% respectively.
From these studies it would seem that most women aren’t exactly at their most fertile when in their early thirties. And therefore, the ability to conceive, bear and give birth to a baby at the age of 33 indicates that you are indeed healthy and fertile for much longer than many other women around you.
And logically it follows that this should affect your longevity too…
The female reproductive system is one that ages quite fast in the human body. And most of your other organs follow through. However, surprisingly long fertility figures indicate that your reproductive system is actually not aging as fast as you’d feared it would. And that is usually an indication that the rest of your body is also fighting aging at a healthy rate.
And so long as your body is fighting aging – you are bound to remain hearty and healthy – and live longer… But unfortunately most of the conjecture is based on the findings of this one study. But as it stands – there can be a few criticisms of it too….
Things to consider
There are a number of factors that can actually point towards both female longevity as well as a late child. And in that case, the longevity itself is attributed to those factors and not to the late childbirth at all! Among them, here are the major ones to consider:
- During the study, the fact that some of these women may have come from families with a propensity for longevity was never considered as a premise. This could be one contributing factor to the result.
- Also, the ability of a woman to have a child at or after 33 usually also signifies that the woman is probably better educated; more comfortably placed in society and has a generally healthier and more responsible lifestyle. All these factors independently also contribute to extended longevity – without the child playing any role as such.
- Finally, you must also consider genetics. There are the genetic variants that give a person slower aging and longer life. And the variant itself enables her to have children when she is older. In the process she is also passing on the variant to her next generation, thereby continuing the cycle. And yet – merely having children later in life does not mean that you or your offspring has that variant.
The theory is one that is well supported, and yet is one that hasn’t been proven inconclusively. But if you were to consider now – the link between extended fertility and longevity for women – keep the findings of the study in mind. And if you are indeed on the other side of 30 and still considering a baby or babies – let this be one more tick in the ‘pros’ column!