Naomi Campbell has been the queen of the international fashion runway for long. She is an icon in her own right. In 2021, the supermodel turned heads as she surprised her fans with news that she had become a mother for the first time at 51. Now two years later, she has revealed she has become a mother again thanks to the arrival of her newborn baby boy. There have been speculations around the child’s birth, with some reporting that Campbell had her son by surrogate. That’s because she was recently seen without a baby bump at a fashion show in Paris. Surrogacy or not, Campbell made it amply clear through her Instagram post that it’s “never too late to become a mother”. Taking her example, an expert shares how motherhood is possible at 50 and beyond!
It was just last week Naomi Campbell posted a sweet photo of her family on Instagram. The photo didn’t focus on anyone’s face, but showed a woman, seemingly Campbell, holding her baby in her arms with his little hand nicely wrapped up in hers. In the image, there is also a small hand holding onto the supermodel’s hand.
Campbell addressed it to her “little darling”, wanting him to know that “you are cherished beyond measure and surrounded by love from the moment you graced us with your presence.” She called the baby “a true gift from God.”
While people have a lot to say about women and their motherhood choices, choosing this phase of life after 50 can be a whole new ballgame. To know more about becoming parents later in life, Health Shots connected with Dr Madhu Juneja, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician-gynecologist, Cloudnine Group Of Hospitals, Kalyani Nagar, Pune.
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Motherhood after 50
There are some women who are busy breaking the glass ceiling in their 20s and 30s. So, expanding their families is not on their minds. But after achieving it all in their professions, some want to give motherhood a shot. Case in point, Naomi Campbell, who had both her children in her 50s. Even though we are not sure if she got pregnant or used other methods, she sure is a mom now. Dr Juneja says that motherhood after 50 is possible through several avenues, including natural conception. But she points out that it is quite rare. Most commonly, women in their 50s become mothers through assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with donor eggs or surrogacy. Adoption is another way to become a mommy later in life.
Pros and cons of assisted reproductive technologies
The main advantage of assisted reproductive technologies is the possibility to become a parent later in life when natural conception isn’t an option. However, the downsides include high costs, low success rates and the potential emotional distress caused by unsuccessful attempts, says the expert. Moreover, pregnancy and childbirth at an older age are associated with increased medical risks for both the mother and baby.
Risks of becoming a mother later in life
Natural conception in the 50s is unlikely due to menopause, but IVF with donor eggs can make pregnancy possible, says Dr Juneja. The process involves fertilizing a donor’s egg with sperm in an IVF lab and then transferring the embryo into the woman’s uterus. However, the expert warns that pregnancy at this age carries substantial risks. So, it’s good to consider planning for parenthood at a younger age.
Here are some issues that older parents may face:
1. Fertility decline
Female and male fertility starts to decline as they grow older. For women, this decline starts becoming noticeable in their early 30s, accelerating in their late 30s and significantly dropping after 40. Age affects the quality of eggs and sperm, impacting the chances of a successful pregnancy and the baby’s health.
2. Health risks
Unlike older women, younger ones typically face fewer health risks during pregnancy. The risks of complications such as gestational diabetes and birth complications increase with age. Similarly, babies conceived by older parents have a higher risk of certain genetic disorders, says the expert.
3. Energy levels
Parenting is not a 9-to-5 desk job as it requires a considerable amount of energy. Unlike older mommies, younger parents might find it easier to cope with the demands of parenthood, like sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, and the active years of childhood.
4. Life expectancy
While younger parents are likely to have more years to spend with their children and grandchildren, the same can’t be said about older mommies.
Still, it’s important to remember that not everyone’s situation is the same. If you are considering becoming a mom later in life, consulting a doctor to understand the implications and potential challenges is essential. Once everything is set, you can pursue motherhood later in life.