Older mum Stella Mastin with her three youngest children Sapphira, 11, Skylar, 6, and Selena, 4.
Older mum Stella Mastin with her three youngest children Sapphira, 11, Skylar, 6, and Selena, 4.

50 the new 40 for child birth

QUEENSLAND fertility doctors say mothers older than many grandmas are delivering babies without complications, confirming that 50 is the new 40 when it comes to childbirth.

International researchers have found that, thanks to medical and technological advancements, including egg donation, the age at which a woman can safely give birth has gradually increased to over 50.

Their paper was presented at the Society for Maternal and Foetal Medicine 39th Annual Pregnancy Meeting in Las Vegas.

"Women in their 50s are not using their own eggs. Celebrities give the wrong idea about that, but when a woman uses a donor egg the DNA is usually fresh and young and there is a lower risk of abnormalities and miscarriage," Brisbane IVF specialist Dr David Molloy said.

"Doctors need to keep a close eye for diabetes and high blood pressure in these older women and there are risks, but yes, we are in an era where some much older women are birthing safely," he said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that, in the past 30 years, the fertility rate of women aged 35-39 more than doubled and for women aged 40-44 it had tripled.

"There is no doubt that medical teams will need to handle increasing numbers of births for women over age 50," researcher Dr Eyal Sheiner, director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Soroka, said.

The study included 242,771 deliveries at Soroka, of which 234,824 occurred in women younger than 40. The rest occurred in women from age 40 to 50 and older. Surprisingly, there was no escalation of complications in women over the age of 50, compared with women who gave birth between the ages of 40 and 50.


Gold Coast mum of five Stella Mastin is 57 and has three young children.

One was conceived naturally and born when she was 46. Two others were born when she used gifted donor eggs. She was 52 and 53.

"All my pregnancies were wonderful with no real problems, although I did have gestational diabetes with one pregnancy. I delivered the babies naturally," she said.

"I keep myself very fit and healthy and that has helped. I enjoy being an older mum as I don't have to work and can be with the kids," she said.