MY hero, Mick Jagger, once said: “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!” This is the quote I thought about when I read the news that the Rolling Stone frontman is expecting his eighth child at the age of 72. Jagger’s representative announced to the world his girlfriend, who probably can be as young as his granddaughter, at the age of 29 is pregnant. Melanie Hamrick, a ballerina who performed with the American Ballet Theatre, will be giving birth to the singer’s eighth child. Jagger’s other children are aged between 17 and 45. How does he do it? This is what most men would think about. Is he a lucky sod who strikes Jackpot in spreading his “seeds of love”? Or is he a poor sod who will be on his Zimmer frame when the child is enrolled in primary school? This week, we address the dilemma of a reader when faced with an unexpected pregnancy of his wife. Dear Dr G, We have a problem! My wife is pregnant again! Don’t get me wrong. We are overjoyed with the good news of the pregnancy. However, things are clearly not going to be straightforward. I am 47 years old and my wife is 45. My wife has been on the pills since the birth of my daughter 14 years ago. We assumed the chances of pregnancy are minimal, and of course the frequency of intimacy is getting lesser these days. Shall we say my wife is “less compliant” with the use of contraceptives recently. I also must accept some responsibility, as I am not a big fan of condoms. I often assume men’s sperm quality depreciates at my age and the “withdrawal technique” has served us well in the last few years. We were very surprised that my wife’s period was late last month. I thought she was peri-menopausal. Now the test has confirmed that she is two months pregnant. I am in dilemma. Shall we keep the baby? What are the risks of the pregnancy to the mother? What are the chances of deformities in the baby? Besides, I hear older fathers will have higher risks of abnormal children. Is that true? My other worry is the age gap between the child and my two children is more than 15 years. Isn’t that embarrassing? Need your advice. HELP!!! D People term the fourth decade in life as “fabulous 40”! I guess this is when men and women feel better than ever with stable career, income, marriage and almost done with raising their children. Despite the fact many career women these days would choose to have children at their early 40s, the reality of pregnancy in this age group is much more difficult. The egg quality in women diminishes slowly over time, and by the age of 43, the supply of eggs has basically dwindled to absolute minimal. Even with the help of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology), the successful pregnancy for women at the age of 40 is 25% and plummet to 1.6% at the age of 44. In reality, the miracle of life works in a mysterious way. Although the chances of pregnancy is near impossible beyond the age of 45, the couples still have to “face the music” when pregnancy occurs by accidents. Generally, the risks increase with the advancement of maternal age, and the risks will impact on both the mother and the child. These include diabetes, placenta previa and preeclampsia for the mother. The child may also face the complications of genetic disorder, low birth weight, premature delivery and miscarriage. In general, the percentage of miscarriage at the age of 40 in a woman can be as high as 34% and rises to 53% at the age of 45 years old. In addition, the potential complications of chromosomal defects such as Down’s syndrome increases dramatically from one in 106 at the age of 40, to one in 30 by the age of 45! Although many men would argue nature allows men to be like Mick Jagger and continue to father children well into the seventh and eight decades of their lives, recent studies highlighted the risk of children associated with older fathers. For example, studies revealed the offspring of men over 40 years old might face an increase risk of miscarriage, increased frequency of autism and birth defects. Although the overall risk is exceedingly low, older men appear to be more likely to father babies who have disorders such as achondroplasia. Children born to older men are also noted to be more likely to develop mental conditions such as schizophrenia, according to certain studies. Although the statistics of all the adversities seem to stack against having a child at the older age, it should also be pointed out that many babies are born completely normal and healthy, especially nurtured and raised by healthy parents. Needless to say, the ability and will to take on parenthood again would also be an absolute “envy” of your peers. Mick Jagger told his audience: “It’s all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back.” When it comes to “breeding like Jagger”, I guess the same principle also applies that letting go is all right, as long as one has the stamina and will to embrace parenthood! Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.