According to the recent figures given by the UK's Office for National Statistics, the number of women having babies in their forties has doubled in the past 10 years. In a bid to pursuing a career, saving for a house and delay in finding a "life partner" thousands of women are delaying in starting a family.
Another reason behind women over the age of 40 having children now is that they are healthier than they used to be. And advances in medical procedures such as IVF and donor insemination have made getting pregnant easier.
AdvertisementThe figures indicated that 13,200 women over 40 became pregnant in 1995, accounting for 1.7 per cent of all pregnancies which rose to 23,600 - 3 per cent of all pregnancies in 2005.
The same figures showed that 8,200 women over 40 went on to have a baby in 1995; by 2005, that had risen to 15,900.
However, abortions also rose. Around 7,700 women over 40 had an abortion, up 2,700 since 1995. Jill Kirby, director of the Centre for Policy Studies think tank expressed his disappointment over so many girls having abortions in their twenties when they should tempt to them to have a family at that age.
He felt that financial pressures might also be one of the reasons behind delaying pregnancy. "The problem seems to be that young couples are under financial and other pressures which stop them from becoming young parents, and that is very sad," Telegraph quoted Kirby as saying.
"It is sad because it may mean they push back motherhood to an age when they will not be able to have as many children as they would like," he added. Kirby also said that having children at 40 may not be safe.
"Having a child at an older age - such as 40 - is not the safest time to have a baby," he said. "We need greater incentives for women to have children in their twenties, when they are at the best age for childbirth," he further added.
The number of women having babies in their late thirties rose dramatically, from 54,500 in 1995 to 90,500 in 2005. The figures also showed that their has been an increase in the number of children born outside marriage from 47 per cent to 55 per cent. It also disclosed that 42,300 girls under 18 fell pregnant in 2005 compared to 37,900 a decade ago despite the taxpayer-funded campaigns to reduce them.
Celebrities also seem to be following the trend to have babies in 40's. Actress Emma Thompson used IVF treatment to conceive her daughter Gaia, born in 1999 when the Oscar-winning actress was 40.
Even singer Madonna was 41 when she gave birth to her son Rocco, in 2000.