Motherhood After Age 50 and Parenting Stress
Pregnancy Beyond Menopause
With the advent of oocyte donation, women beyond the age of natural menopause may conceive and deliver with success rates similar to those of younger women. Despite reassuring perinatal outcomes, concerns remain regarding the ability of older parents to meet the emotional and physical demands of parenting. We sought to explore these issues by comparing the parenting stress and physical functioning of older mothers to that of their younger counterparts.
Every woman who conceived and delivered after age fifty (N=49) following egg donation at our institution between 1992 and 2004 was matched to a woman in her forties (n=49) and a woman in her thirties (N=49), who conceived through assisted reproduction with a similar date of embryo transfer and gestational order. All subjects with a current address (N=129) were mailed previously validated questionnaires on parenting stress, The Parenting Stress Index / Short Form, and on physical and mental well-being, Version 2 of the SF-36 Health Survey. Demographic, family structure, and childcare information was also collected.