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If you want a child, do it before you're 30, says leading obstetrician

146 Comments

When entertainers speak, the world listens, and one message they’re delivering lately is profoundly disturbing to at least one leading obstetrician – namely, that giving birth relatively late in life is okay. It’s not, Kyoto Medical University professor and infertility expert Nobuhiko Suganuma writes in Shukan Bunshun (April 12). Suganuma has a message of his own: “If you want children, have your first before you turn 30.”

The influence of celebrities on matters remote from their talents is a remarkable fact of life. When Mariko Shinoda of the girl band AKB48 mused in January about getting married around 40 or 50, Suganuma took notice – he could easily imagine young women listening starry-eyed and thinking, “Me too.”

Suganuma has been treating women for infertility since the dawn of the artificial insemination era more than 30 years ago. His own patients over the years number some 5,000. He has seen the numbers soar nationwide during those decades – and no wonder, he says. Ovaries, wombs and hormones, in his view, are in prime condition before 30. A first childbirth then can prolong the reproductive peak, but starting after 30 “entails risks” – of Down’s Syndrome or other diseases in the child at worst, of miscarriage, or simply of infertility. “There are no firm statistics,” he writes, “but the rising number of women marrying late and then being unable to conceive is an undeniable fact.” Moreover, “the success rate of infertility treatment starts dropping at age 30 and plunges past 35.”

Entertainers whose own highly public lives have popularized late marriage and childbirth include the model Rika, who had her first child at 38; Shoko Aida, formerly of the pop duo Wink (41); actress Koyuki (35); and comedian-actress Naomi Matsushima (40).

For a woman of a certain age who is aware of the risks and decides to proceed with pregnancy anyway, “that’s a matter of individual freedom,” writes Suganuma. The problem, he claims, is that many are not aware of the risks.

Liberal-Democratic Party Lower House lawmaker Seiko Noda was 50 when she gave birth a year ago through artificial insemination. Her son Masaki has been hospitalized ever since with serious medical problems. Suganuma in his Shukan Bunshun article quotes Noda as saying, “No one ever told me that having a child after 40 could be difficult.”

Every year, says Suganuma, the number of women giving birth past age 35 is rising. In 1985, late births (not necessarily first-time births) comprised approximately 7% of the total. By 2010 they accounted for 23.8%.

“Japanese sex education,” he writes, “is all about birth control. Of course, it’s important for teenagers to know how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But it seems to me it also needs to be taught that under 30 is the most suitable time of life for women to begin giving birth.”

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

146 Comments
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My wife had our first one when she was 23 and bounced back like a kangaroo, second one at 33 and bit slower but not bad. Now third one late thirties and pretty tough on her constitution based on the complaining I hear. Setting that aside, my first son definitely is lucky to have a lot more time with grandparents when they were relatively young and genki. That is something that a lot of people forget. If you have kids in your 40s, then most likely your parents are too old to help or enjoy.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

A woman will never regret having a child, if she takes that step, however she may well regret her choice of father for her baby, as net ninja often makes abundantly clear.

I couldnt give a monkeys if woman have a baby or not. I dislike the idea that a child who has a genetic disorder is worth less than a genetically healthy one. In the case of Down's syndrome, individuals can and do go on to have wonderful, productive lives, full of love.

Marie, I doubt if most people care or not if you choose to be child-free, it is totally your choice. The point where is grates with those who have children is where you have a strong opinon on every story which involves a child, you habitually run down those women who have chosen to be mothers, and force your ideas onto other people, saying their choices are not as good as your ones.

A baby is a baby, its common sense that younger mothers are fitter and have fewer issues, and perhaps this doctor might make younger women think twice about delaying having children if they want.

As for money, it always works out, money is not everything by any means. If that is the reason for delaying starting a family, it will never be the right time!

15 ( +18 / -3 )

This is surely nothing new. My MIL (a trained midwife and nurse who has seen all there is to see in the field of obstetrics) couldn't hide her relief when I got pregnant at the age of 28 - 'It won't be a late birth,' she said. 'Much less likelihood of complications.' Other folk, not qualified in obstetrics, made similar comments.

I knew about Noda giving birth, but I hadn't heard about the kid being unwell. Poor kid. As for 'Nobody ever told me...' - she's supposedly an intelligent, well-educated woman. Did she never stop to find out the possible consequences of her actions before she went ahead? Doesn't bode well for any political decisions she might make. Remind me not to vote for her if they ever allow us PRs to vote.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

This problem is not entirely social, but rather also economic. As the cost of living outpaces salaries the number of families where both partners work full-time is increasing. Women know that if they take time off to have a baby the Japanese male-dominated workplace will make allowance (allow them to take ikukyu - the year off to spend with their baby, allowing them to leave at actual closing time rather than asking them to work the ridiculous and unnecessary overtime that is part of Japanese corporate culture, etc), but at the cost of their future career advancement.

As a result many women (quite logically) delay having children until their career has "peaked". Unfortunately Japan's career progression is largely seniority based and so this means waiting until you're about 40 or 50.

I'm sure you'd see much happier career women (and men!) if companies stopped the mandatory overtime, had office hoikuens (rather than city ones), and stopped discriminating against women simply because they wished to have a child.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I dont think we shud be jumping all over the Doc here, he is just pointing out what SHUD be common knowledge, that is after a certain point in our lives its harder to make a baby & for the woman there are some more risks with age.

Nothing more nothing less.

But yes when you toss in work, love life, economics as I have been saying since forever on jt, for the majority its just BAD, most have very poor work/life balance & it is hurting us all, period. I dont think the Doc in this case is like the dumb politicians who want young women to churn out little ones without thought, he just pointing some simple basic truths

7 ( +7 / -0 )

So you need to be a leading obstetrician to know this? I'm sure anybody who went school knows it.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Men has zero business talking or even voicing opinion about women's bodies.

I'd rather have a qualified gynocologist of either sex dealing with my female problems than a well-meaning but otherwise unqualified person who just happens to have a womb. Of course it's their business to comment, if that's their line of expertise.

I have seen many topics about impotence and defective sperm in men over 40 and I wouldn't dare to comment on those.

So if your husband is getting on in years and wants to try for a baby, you'd have no qualms whatsoever? Personally I'd consider his aging sperm to be as much of a problem as my aging eggs.

Not to mention the problems others have mentioned, of grandparent-aged parents trying to keep up with teenagers and kids in their early twenties having to care for ancient parents - giving them even less chance of starting their own families.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

As a male reading this article and the following comments, I have two observations regarding you ladies.

First, the worst thing you can say as a male is that women are lacking in intelligence or reasoning ability and are emotion-driven. But, look at this article?

There is a Professor at a leading university who has studied women's reproductive organs for thirty years, treated 5000 patients, and he makes the simply medical statement that women are better of having their first baby in their twenties, and he gets bashed. 30years? 5000 patients? Probably read a few books and done quite a few internal examinations. All he is saying is that medically, biologically, women have a higher chance of fertility, and delivering healthy babies when they are younger. That's a fact. He's talking as a doctor. And no doubt he's seen the pain and anguish of women who weren't able to conceive no matter what they did or how much they paid. He's just stating facts ladies.

We all know some 21 years olds have trouble conceiving, or have sick children, and we all know that many women in their 40's have healthy babies. He's talking basic medical facts. Why get upset about that? As a male, I have no problem with a doctor saying that men in their 20's have more testosterone and healthier sperm than a 50 yr old, or a 40 yr old.

But for people with no medical background to argue with a man of his background and experience is truly bizarre. But maybe not as bizarre as a supposedly intelligent, educated woman who thinks she can run a country announce that she's never heard that a woman over 40 could have difficulties with pregnancy. My image of women has gone down a peg.

Secondly, women complain about how hard it is in a man's world. Reading these comments all I can say is that women are their own worst enemy. Start a discussion about staying at home or working and it's the women who are the most vicious.

You guys beat yourselves up too much. (And that goes for your fashion and weight too).

Last point, we have a problem if we all think people aren't mature enough at 30 to have children. It's probably true for many, but it shouldn't be so. And I know 38 year olds who aren't mature enough.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Only mother nature has the final word about when you can and cannot reproduce. Never listen to some old stuffy (probably single) Japanese doctor.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Some people are reading way too much into what he wrote. It's a known fact as well that prior to 30 it is safer for women to have children. Health issues aside here for a moment, women have the choice OF COURSE, but there are plenty of other issues as well involved with having a child later on in life too.

My father was in his mid-fifties when I was born, my mother in her late forties, and believe me from experience my parents were more like grandparents when I was growing up and I wasnt able to enjoy playing with my parents like other kids my age.

Hence my desire not to do the same things when I had kids, I wanted to be able to play basketball, baseball, ride bikes together, all sorts of things and not have to worry about Mom and Dad getting tired out, or worrying about Mom's arthritis, or Dad and his numerous age related ailments.

Again it's a woman's choice, sure many women can and do have children in their 30's and 40's and many if not most are healthy and fine. Yet it is not a knock on the Doctor for stating the fact that late 20's is a better time physically speaking for women to have children.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

He is correct, although 30 is a bit arbitrary and it does not mean it is dramatically more dangerous. We do know that women's fertility starts declining rapidly after 35. If you choose to wait to after 35 for your first, then you are playing a lottery, both in terms of conception rates and with health problems, such as downs syndrome.

Unfortunately nature does not care that you are "emotionally" more ready at 35 (and the human race survived very well despite very young adults having children) or have achieved some personal career goal.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So when Seiko Noda's child becomes 18 she'll be 69. So instead of her child enjoying his youth he'll be stuck at home taking care of his grandmother-aged mother.

It's not fair for her child to have such an old mother. It was selfish of her to have a child without thinking about the child's situation.

What's next, women at 60 giving birth and then passing away 10 years latter only to leave an orphan?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

If you want a child, do it before you're 30, says leading obstetrician

i thought that, that was common sense

6 ( +5 / -0 )

He is absolutely right... It looks like it does take a tremendous amount of stamina to go through a child birth (having seen two, I kind of know what I'm talking about). At least the first one should happen at an as early as economically feasible age...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@tmarie

Having kids doesn't have to mean the life stops. 

It does a bit.

As for feeling empty what a horrific thing to say

I think the word "horrific" is exaggerating a bit.

All I am saying is I can't understand why some people don't have kids.

Of course everyone makes their own choices, but I want to say to childless people is tat you are missing out on life's best adventure.

I meet some childless people in their 30s or 40s occasionally and sometimes they start going on about their wonderful trip to Vietnam or wherever... I try to nod politely and of course my 3-day trip to Atami with the kids pales in comparison but in the back of my mind I'm thinking that I felt they feel about traveling when I was 22 years old.

And just the other day some guy with no kids about 40 was gloatingly showing me his new iPad 3 and I was thinking wouldn't it be better if you could introduce me to your kids rather than the iPad3

I just want to say that the most magical thing in the world is holding that little bundle of humanity in your arms, gazing into its big eyes and feeling its hand grip yours.

When it then poops in the nappy (daiper) the magic evapirates a bit but there's kids for you... ups and downs

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Child care availability? Nil

Money problems? Ippai

Ready to have kids? Most not until 30

Consumption tax being raised on food, baby clothes, diapers, formula etc.? It is a given thanks to the lies of Noda.

I am starting to believe in Ozawa.

Do not listen to talento, but to your heart.

Plenty of kids up North without families now. Adopt

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Having kids IS fun, more fun and more satisfying, more fulfilling than any non-parent can possibly imagine (Yes you can hit me with the 'condescending' stick again :-)) and the things that seemed so important before simply fade into the background.

I can't say how much I agree with this.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

tmarie, I'm not necessarily against helping women who can't have kids. I suppose it depends on the reason for their inability to have kids. If it's because they're 50, then yes I'm against that. If it's because hubby is infertile and something as simple as AID will do the trick, I see nothing at all wrong with that. But putting an infertile body through all kinds of stresses and strains in order to produce a child with a higher than average risk of damage, of having the same genetic fertility faults as the mother.....it doesn't seem like a good idea to me. If a woman is so desperate to have a baby that she will go through all that...why not adopt, and give an already living child a better life?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Never listen to some old stuffy (probably single) Japanese doctor."

Especially not one who has treated 5000 patients and is a leading specialist with over 30 years experience.

Yeah, what would he know... Better off listening to someone with a couple of years of Japan Today commentating experience.

Why did we even give women the right to vote? Scary!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Nothing new here. The doctor is right that if you do have plans for kids, dont put it off because you are chasing the junior-partner position. I think it is just a shock for some women that they cant get their doctorate, then find the perfect guy who understands they are both a wife and a career-centered woman, then have their wedding in Hawaii and when the second investment property is paid off - start a family.

I admire this doctor's honesty. He must have to deal with the heart-break of couples whom are just never going to have a child, despite the sacrifice, cost and emotions that they have been through.

Some doctors in his field would encourage women to wait because it would mean more money for him.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Its both amusing and annoying how simple facts can really piss some people off for staining their starry-eyed fantasies.

And I am not half as concerned about fertility problems as the health of the baby. Its the health of the baby that is paramount here and all else is inconvienence. Well damn your inconvenience!

And its not only the age of the mother that can have negative effects, but also the age of the father. An older man's sperm is also more likely to be a source of birth defects. You can sort of get around it by ensuring the sperm is always fresh and has not been stored for more than a day, where it may get DNA damage, but still. Its better for the genetic health of the child to have babies younger.

As for economic stablity, its not all its cracked up to be. I grew up with a single mom supported by her parents. Both my sister and I were conceived by young parents. I am certain I would rather grow up poor and healthy than well off with genetic problems. I sure would not think twice about switching.

What is more, at my age, its hard to adjust to fatherhood. Learning ability really nose-dives from around 35.

Accept the facts, and spread them. I will certainly be encouraging my son to have children when young, if for any other reason other than what I have said, I and his mom will still be around to help.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

So you need to be a leading obstetrician to know this? I'm sure anybody who went school knows it.

All depends on where one went to school really. There are plenty of people in Japan and throughout the world I am sure that have no knowledge nor ever been taught anything about this subject.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“There are no firm statistics,” he writes, “but the rising number of women marrying late and then being unable to conceive is an undeniable fact.”

So he's commenting on a public health issue and he can't be bothered with details like supporting evidence? This is something I expect from anti-vaccine crackpots, not medical professionals.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

“There are no firm statistics,” he writes, “but the rising number of women marrying late and then being unable to conceive is an undeniable fact.”

so the fact is undeniable but there are no statistics? Good thing the Shukan Bunshun isn't peer reviewed or he'd be the joke of the week. He has a valid point but his method of presenting it is very poor.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If you want a child, do it when you're ready.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

This article is a little scary to me, if I'm being honest. I've met the woman of my life, and she is near 40. I believe we knew what we were getting into when we decided we were the ones for each other, but seeing this in writing is difficult to stomach. Well, guess we must start quickly!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My wife was 39 when she gave birth to an adorable downy baby boy. So yes the chances of abnormalties may increase with age, I can say. We sometimes talk about what if were younger, maybe in the late 20s, and would have likely an easier time catching up with our boys when they are in their 20s, but we will be in our 60s.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'd say aim to have the first child at about 30 (for both sexes).

By that time you should have got most of the yearning for traveling, having fun, buying silly little gadgets, etc out of your system and be ready for the next stage in life.

You'll probably be more financially secure and mature in outlook... it's the perfect time to have kids.

I can't understand singletons who continue without kids... people in the 30s or 40s who talk about their trip to Vietnam or wherever as if it's the most life-changing experience ever.

I mean, I used to feel like that about traveling, but when I hit about 30s I started feeling kind of empty inside. Having kids was the best thing that ever happened to me!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I didn't want to be working AND doing all the child rearing alone...

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. I didn't want to have to be going out making money for some faceless company while someone else was being paid to raise my kids. Why should someone else have all the fun? I know you're going to say I'm being condescending again, but really, until you hold that child in your arms you have no idea what an impact it will have on you, on the way you think, the way you feel.

As for the need to get over the "yearning to travel, have fun...", what I think Choi is referring to (correct me if I'm wrong, Choi) is that as a singleton, it's OK, if you want, to splurge all your income on whatever takes your fancy, since it affects no one but yourself. But when you become a parent there will be times when you have to choose between say, a trip to forn parts/new stereo system and for instance school fees. Or on a more basic level, new shoes for you or new shoes for the kid. And that if you think there is any kind of choice there, you're not ready to be a parent.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

tmarie, I read Choi's post again. I don't think I got it wrong. Yes, I enjoyed being a parent. So apparently did/does Choi. Obviously not everyone does - as you say, if they did we wouldn't have child abuse and parents offing their kids. I don't see how that indicates I don't have perspective; I've said time and again, people who don't feel ready for parenthood shouldn't have kids. People who don't want kids shouldn't have them. It isn't rocket science.

The problem being discussed on this thread is women deciding they want to have kids after their time has passed. Kids aren't just something that can be fitted in when it's convenient. The ticking biological timebombs can (not necessarily do) explode and cause a mess, and a woman thinking about having a child later in life 'when it's more convenient' needs to think long and hard about her choices. It isn't all about her and her career. (If it is - well, there's her answer.)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

her time hasn't passed if she's able to get pregnant

The article says the rising number of women marrying late and then being unable to conceive is an undeniable fact.” Moreover, “the success rate of infertility treatment starts dropping at age 30 and plunges past 35.” If a woman needs fertility treatment at the age of 50 (cf Ms Noda) then I'd say she's missed her best time.

what is wrong with waiting, getting work in order and having the right time?

Nothing. Just that if you leave it too late, you run the risk of missing the 'right time'.

not thinking ahead and just having them because you want them isn't a good idea

Couldn't agree more.

As for not having the money when young - little kids don't cost that much. Try putting a couple of youngsters through high school and university on a pension.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

tmarie, I'm certainly not in the 'OMG you're over 30!' camp. Neither am I in favour of kids having kids. Of course the 'right time' will be different for each person, but I can't help thinking that the person who is putting it off and putting it off until they have all their financial and career ducks in a perfect row doesn't really 'get it'.

try raising a few kids with one person working in this day and age....

Done that. I took seven years off work (from before the birth of the first until the younger was 3 and raring to go to kindergarten) and we managed on one salary. And no , Mr cleo wasn't earning gazillions of yen. It wasn't always easy, but what we missed out on in terms of forn travel, expensive gadgets & furniture, etc., we were more than compensated for by being a family.

Choi-

All I am saying is I can't understand why some people don't have kids. Of course everyone makes their own choices, but I want to say to childless people is tat you are missing out on life's best adventure.

I agree with you, but if people are childless by choice - because they think kids are going to spoil their lifestyle - then I think it's better if they don't have them. Not fair on the kids.

of course my 3-day trip to Atami with the kids pales in comparison

No it doesn't. :-)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Oh, my god. I clicked on this article because I thought it was interesting, and as I read it, I felt it was indeed interesting, and thought myself slightly more informed about a qualified professional's opinion.

Then I read the comments and I find feminism debates, angry readers questioning the guy's credibility, social and economic debates about when it is better to give birth, links to male sperm deterioration articles on a tabloid site etc.

This explosion of self-righteous sniping is pretty much the most amusing thing I've read today. Haha.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wow, hot topic! I had both of my kids after 30 and am glad to say that my kids and I are healthy. While I do agree that pregnancies get harder as you age, you can't really time it. A lot of things need to come into play to bring a life into the world. If the pieces come together before 30, awesome. If it comes after, awesome. No one has a right to judge without knowing all the facts.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Really sensei......

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree with Nicki and Cleo. If you are a well informed, read person you will perhaps understand the idea that fertility decreases with age and that as you get older, it becomes more difficult and the risks are greater.But in saying that there are women in their 20s that have had problems conceiving and their children have been born with problems too! I think its a hit and miss - kind of like the lottery! But if you are lucky enough to have your children in your 30s or before thats great but sometimes we dont have that option. In my 20s I was not emotionally or financially ready - I wanted to travel the world, work on my career - not having children. My partner at the time was not the person I wanted to have children with.Consequently..I had my first at 39 and about to have my second at 41 because I was ready and I have a husband I wanted to have children with. I just hope that my second child will be born happy and healthy...if not, then we will deal with it as it is!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

So instead of her child enjoying his youth he'll be stuck at home taking care of his grandmother-aged mother.

Never,

Good point, a lot of people who have kids late in life need to realize they wont be participating as much as watching their kids grow up which is certainly something to tjhink about. And could very well have their kid hitting 20 & having to deal with parents with health problems etc, .................... something to think about

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It should be downright ILLEGAL for a woman to have a baby after 40. Before you reply ignorantly hear me out. Chromosomal disorders are merely one of many potential issues of dealing with a late pregnancy. Here are the REAL statistics of those alone: Risk of giving birth to a child with down syndrome at 25: 1 in 1,250. Risk of giving birth to a child with down syndrome at 49: 1 in 11. ONE IN FREAKING 11. (Or 1 in 8 for chromosomal disorders in general.)

That's for chromosomal disorders ALONE! Do you have any idea the type of risks you are forcing a future child to deal with if you choose to have a baby in your mid fourties?

It's just selfish!

2 ( +5 / -4 )

the whole idea that you have to give up everything and not have fun is wrong. People keep telling me having kids IS fun so why would you give that up if you have them?

It isn't that you 'have to give up everything and not have fun'. It's if you think that no longer doing the frivolous things that teenagers think are important is going to wreck your life, you're not ready for parenthood. Having kids IS fun, more fun and more satisfying, more fulfilling than any non-parent can possibly imagine (Yes you can hit me with the 'condescending' stick again :-)) and the things that seemed so important before simply fade into the background.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

scary reading for men: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1223230/Older-men-likely-father-children-birth-defects.html

and for women:

There is a decline in a woman’s fertility as she ages be due to less frequent ovulation or to problems such as endometriosis. Women generally have some decrease in fertility starting in their early 30s and it is normal for a woman over 35 to take longer to conceive than a younger woman.

But there is good news. Since the late 1970s, birth rates for women in their late 30s and 40s have increased dramatically. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, between 1978 and 2000, the birth rates for women age 35 to 44 more than doubled. However, women should be aware of the risks associated with childbearing after the age of 35 so that they can make informed decisions about their pregnancies.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, about one-third of women between age 35 and 39 and two-thirds of women over 40 have fertility problems. However, once they conceive, healthy women over 35 or into their 40s usually have healthy pregnancies. Pregnant women who are 35 or older face some special risks, but many of these risks can be managed effectively with good prenatal care. Keep in mind that the increased risk, even for the oldest women, can usually be successfully treated.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

if they don't want kids, they shouldn't have them.

I don't quite agree with this. It denies the possibility of a person who didn't want a kid turning out to be a beautiful parent

Yes, it does. But it also removes the possibility of a person discovering they did in fact prefer the new iPad and annual trip to Cambodia or wherever - and the kid paying the price. I know it's a cliche, but every child deserves to be born wanted and loved, and the centre of his parents' world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

yasukuni, brother, nice bite. It would be nice if women could realize the important job they have as mothers.(It would also be nice if society was made easier for that to be undertaken without those who have concern for economics being concerned-like one wage family. Or the understanding that lifestyle is what costs people, not children.)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Also, careers can be had after child-rearing age(whatever age you individually like that to be)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My old man is a gynecologist so I asked him about this. He said that the chances of 'something going wrong' (having a baby with Downes Syndrome etc.) does increase slightly after 30 (more specifically after 35) but not really that much. He thinks this Doctor is exaggerating it a bit. I felt this article might be politically motivated. Given Japan's birth rate, it makes sense that the government might reach out to experts like OBGYNs to try and get people conceiving and having babies more. And yet they want to raise our taxes, which leads to more financial uncertainty and yet give birth to more kids?!?!?! These guys want to have their cake and eat it too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese women are no different from the rest of the world

Exactly. And there is plenty of evidence that doctors in other countries in the developed world are saying exactly the same thing as this doctor is saying. Since when did giving health advice become a human rights issue, for lawdie's sake?

http://www.thirdage.com/womens-health/the-dangers-of-later-in-life-pregnancy (UK)

http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/trying_after35.html (US)

http://www.canadianliving.com/moms/pregnancy/am_i_too_old_to_get_pregnant.php (Canada)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While I think it's common sense that having children in your 20s is less risky than having them later for a number of factors, I think that the original publication by Shukan Bunshun is pure propaganda. After it was announced that Japan's population will pretty much go gray by 2050, cheap media is doing its best to 'alarm' women that if they don't start having children earlier, they might be in danger. One of the key reasons is that -- based on their logic -- if you have your first child in your 20s you're more likely to have more in your lifetime, while having your first in your late 30s or 40s may leave you with only one, thereby less kids overall. That's a typical Japanese way of handling social issues. What the gov't and very much the media too forget is that adding pressure on women can only affect their fertility at any age. If they want women to have more children they should start talking about increasing day care, welfare assistance, and why not even cut infertility treatment costs? There are so many couples who try to conceive for years and they go bankrupt. One in vitro try costs 300,000 yen at the cheapest....As to what Noda saying "No one ever told me that having a child after 40 could be difficult," I find that a pure nonsense. As others said, an intelligent, educated woman, who has been battling infertility for years, simply can't say something like that. I guess it was taken out of the context -- again, something tabloids like and often do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Adopting sounds good, but no matter what, they'll never fully convince themselves that the adopted child is truly their own. No one can.

What an ignorant statement to make.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Who was it that said "2 of my 6 children were adopted. I forget which ones".

Carrying a child in your belly for 9 months, even pushing it out at the end of it all is the easy bit. It is the constant getting up in the night, comforting them when they are sick, supporting them when they are sad, listening when they need you to, worrying when they dont eat enough, worrying when they eat too much, sharing a laugh, a joke and an ice cream, getting climbed on, puked on, peed on and hit on for money every 5 seconds - THAT is being a parent. Makes shag all difference whether the child is biologically yours or not.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This guy seems like a crackpot (never trust anything you read in Shukanshi) On the other hand, Seiko Noda also sounds like a nut job, pushing a baby out at age 50. Extreme.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The doc is right.

Having and raising a child is not a convenience, or a fashion statement; it is work, sacrifice, and putting the needs of another in front of your own.

The rewards are there, everyday.

If that is not acceptable, buy a pet.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes I would support genetic testing if the results shows there was an EXTREMELY, note, EXTREMELY high risk of major disorder or death.

You realize that with the world's population as it stands, and the amount of needing children in existence, people should be adopting more as it is. I personally do not think it would be a tragedy to go out and save some of those kids who are already on this planet than to risk giving birth to a child who has to live a life with heavy burdens.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

healthy burdens*

1 ( +1 / -0 )

dear god... heavy health burdens...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As a man I would NEVER presume to tell a woman what she can or can-not do with her body. But from personal experience there is at least a little truth to what the doctor says in the article. When my (late) first wife and I started our family at age 21 it happened the month we wanted, when we expanded our family at age 24 it went just as easily. Both pregnancies ended with happy healthy children. After over 22 years of marriage I lost her, life went on and I am (my opinion) the luckiest man on earth as I met another woman I wish to spend my life with. She was 39 when we married and it is her first marriage and she had never been pregnant. Well it took almost a year for her to become pregnant and sadly it only lasted 10 weeks. The doctors here can not tell us why it took so long or why it was lost other than maybe our age. But I agree that with the way the world has changed in the past 30 years starting a family when you are young 20 something is impractical now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I made my comment ages ago but I do think everyone has a right to their opinion whatever that may be! I do wish that perhaps I had started my family earlier but circumstances didnt allow that! My husband and I had a serious talk about having another child (I am 40) but decided that if nothing had happened by the end of the year then my daughter would be an only child.........it is a serious issue (perhaps the doctor in question is playing on it a bit) and one needs to be aware of the risks both to mother and child! But lets not forget men as well..their fertility decreases with age and as they say "it takes two to tango"!!!!! At the moment, (thankfully) everything is going smoothly and I just hope and pray that both I (and my unborn child) are healthy at the end of it all! Thats all I ask for..........

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What rubish...with regular checkups, there is nothing wrong with having a child late in life.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I think most couples are more financially secure after 30. How is the gov't going to fix this?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

" It is the constant getting up in the night, comforting them when they are sick, supporting them when they are sad, listening when they need you to, worrying when they dont eat enough, worrying when they eat too much, sharing a laugh, a joke and an ice cream, getting climbed on, puked on, peed on and hit on for money every 5 seconds"

I think the good doc has just lost the argument! :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Frightening. Children having children. Sex education in Japan? That's a laugh, too. Parents are too embarrassed to have sexual talks with their own kids here, and a lot of them depend on the school nurse for information. Unfortunately the school nurses are not fully equipped to offer emotional advice nor do they have the power to give out condoms freely in the schools. As for the 20 somethings, they are far too immature and usually rush into relationships based on fear stats like this Dr. has stated. Frightening.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

This kind of thing perpetuate the "makeinu" mindset.

Quoting the unfortunate case of a celebrity does not make it a statistical likelyhood. In any case, many older women make better mothers because they have more life experience.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

good lord. BOTH are wrong!!! Most people dont even start life or get married until they are 30!!!!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

But it seems to me it also needs to be taught that under 30 is the most suitable time of life for women to begin giving birth.

I can imagine old fools like Ishihara adding this to the curriculum: there's nothing they like better than telling people how they should live their lives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Franchesca,

You need to try to set yr emotions aside on this one the DOC is 100% correct, just the way it works with ALL animals, as for the men/males of the world DITTO, sperm counts/quality DECREASE after a certain point, simple facts, nothing more, nothing less.

When people decide to try to have kids later in life there are some potenial risks, they shud simply be aware is all

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well, as with all matters of significant risk of impairment, lines are drawn. Blood alcohol level, radiation levels, the age that a child is allowed to drive a car or operate a gun. It's never easy to determine exactly how much is too much, but it is still done. For starters, I believe an easy line to be drawn would be at 50% risk. That is to say, when every potential risk factor is factored in, the child should at least have a greater chance of having no major health disorders than having them. As for beyond the half-way margin, experienced medical personnels could measure, in comparison to the risk factors of the average baby's birth, how far away from average is too far.

But of course you are right about the adoption thing. I sort of forgot about Japan's ways for a brief moment. It will never happen.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What don't they "get" Cleo?

You have to ask? I suppose that means you don't get it.....

Yes, it was a different time; but it was still a single, not very big, salary, with no guarantee that I would ever get back to work. And it was well worth it.

no one should try and make them feel guilty for those choices

Absolutely. It's the women who have babies just because they can't be bothered to use birth control, and the women who spend stacks of money getting pregnant with babies that are going to have senile parents before they've finished college, who are selfish.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ orange

Very good post orange. We're not all the same, yet there are those that insist on lumping us all together as if we are. Some people get so bent out of shape about us (=non-Japanese) being lumped together as one by the Japanese, yet these very same people have no problem lumping us all together as one when it suits their purposes. Their situation has to be our situation, their experiences have to be our experiences, and their choices have to be our choices. They are so insecure that anyone or anything different is instantly seen as a threat. I feel kind of sad for them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nooooo I still want to do a lot of things!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@tokyokawasaki - well said.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Invitro is not good for the children. It leads to many instances of twins, at least here in the US, and the babies have more health and other issues than children conceived naturally.

Japanese families need to start having children before age 30, and have more than 1 child. This result in both healthier babies, with young, energetic parents, and growth for Japan. People have to be given incentives to have children, and comfort that the cost and childcare responsibilities will not be onerous on them.

Otherwise Japan's population will fall precipitously, and be comprised of too many older people and an inadequate tax and work base.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No comment!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@orange- Look at the lifespan of people with downs. It's because of congenital heart disease by the way. That aside, look at all the obstacles they have to face in life just to live a semi-normal life. No, you're right, they're not worth less. They just weren't given the same fair chances at life that a healthy baby was given.

@choiwaruoyaji- You say that since it's especially beautiful when children are born to people that don't like kids, and then those people change their minds, you think people who don't want kids should still have them? That's absolutely sick. I know that I, for one, will probably never be able to give the loving care that a child needs and deserves- a.k.a. the love of someone who actually wants one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jump, the heart defects associated with Down's are increasingly not life threatening and can be corrected with modern surgical techniques. Its human life we are talking about, not survival of the fittest, and damn every human soul who is not NT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Geriatic Mother? Imagine the court cases now if they tried that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Read through some of the posts here... Wow it would seem as though parenthood has knocked out all common sense...

Really? Having a child with no savings, unstable economy, and a part-time job? I've relatives who were raised by not-so well off families, and it's something I wish upon NO one. It's not a great feeling to wonder if you will even be eating tonight, or if the lights in your apartment will be shut off or if the landlord turn off the hydro.

As well... Posters here seem to think life ends at 60. Is that some kind of sick joke? Retirement is 65/67 right now, but workers are healthy enough to work well into their 70s. Due to technology, and advancements in health and medicine, people are living to 120 now. We do NOT live in the 1900s anymore! It's just smart choices that if you eat healthy and remain active, you can prolong your life by YEARS.

My god, some people here shouldn't even deserve to have children because they seem to only be thinking about their own happiness, and not that of the future child.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Read any modern pregnancy book and they will tell you you need to gain anywhere from 25-50lbs depending on your own individual factors"

How modern are these textbooks you are recommending?

"I would put money on some JTers knowing as much as the "specialists" do."

I'd put money on the doctor here knowing more than all of the JTers when it comes to women's reproductive health.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

30?? Back in old Mexico, by 30 we are not just parents but GRANDPARENTS in many cases! Japan needs to learn from us down south of the border, enjoy life, enjoy sex and yes work but not like robots!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Conceiving kids from many points of view is a very personal topic. Some don't want kids. Some can't live without kids. Of course having kids over 30 is not a bad thing. There are many benefits to waiting at least until 30. For one, waiting just five years gives you a chance to be financially stable or even to say "maybe I can't afford more than one child or any children at all, without sacrificing a lot". Also, delaying the increase of the population is not a bad thing if people are living longer and longer. If people lived forever then you say with 100% certainty we'd already be out of space and resources. As people have increased their life spans by 20-30 years in most countries that means more people should choose have less children. Otherwise, it is only a few more exponential increases until the quality of life for your kids and their kids is so @#%$ that they will say "Wish I were never born ... how stupid my parent's generation must have been to screw like rabbits."

When he says "people should now the risks of having kids over 30", he should really say "you should know the risks of having kids period". I know of at least three friends or family members who had children before 30 that were unwell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The bottom line is: Japan needs kids! So, if you have love and a stable home life(financially and emotionally) to give a child: DO IT!

Yes, financially and socially speaking, being a parent in Japan is a "thankless" job, but being a parent (anywhere!) is still a very rewarding emotionally.

Who gives a rip what the so-called "experts" say, one way or the other!

--So says I: a single father(43) of two wonderful girls... But then again, I'm no "expert"...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Franchesca, oddly enough, I think a female urologist with 30 years experience and 5000 patients would know much more than any male on this board too.

Come to think of it, if I had to have a very private examination, i'd take the female urologist over any man on this board too.

Not that I want to spend too much time thinking of it...

And for the last time, I don't think he was dictating anyone to do anything.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What I'd love to know is how the mental health of a child is affected by the age of the parents?

I wonder if marrying too young and being emotionally immature, leads to more dysfunctional families, divorce and subsequent mental illness?

I agree that having children under 30 years is best for physical health of the baby and mother, but what about the mental health of them both?

Just a thought.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Noda advises other women not to take the course she has chosen.

"I want people who wish to start a family to have children when they are young. Society should offer support so that they can do so," she said.

Masaki turned 1 in January. He has never left the hospital because he had to undergo a series of operations due to heart and other serious health problems. In October, he temporarily stopped breathing and had a stroke as a result. His life continues to hang in the balance.

Poor little boy. I don't imagine this is what Noda meant when she said Watashi wa umitai.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120323f1.html

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The talento just say marriage from 40 t0 50 not necessarily mean bearing a child on that age bracket though thru advancement in Medicine that can be possible with some downsides. Who knows at that age bracket she could already have a grandson from a previous failed relationship and she/he just decided to give marriage a try late.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

so the fact is undeniable but there are no statistics?

Well, lets not forget that this article is being translated from a language which specialises in vagueness and ambiguity into English.

I would imagine that is there a mountain of data that he could present and if he is indeed a professor and expert, he has authored enough of this research to make his claims irrefutable.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When entertainers speak, the world listens, and one message they are delivering lately is profoundly disturbing to at least one leading obstetrician, namely, that giving birth relatively late in life is okay. It's not.

Please broadcast this across the world! Particularly, in the US, women view motherhood as a right, not as a "duty" (with certain moral expectations) so in instances where an older mother (40+) is seeking to have children, there is little to no regard for anyone but the mother until the child is actually born. It is really annoying/outrageous.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As has been pointed out, having a kid at 50 is irresponsible - if the child is lucky enough to be healthy, it will end up caring for its geriatric parent(s).

However, I have a friend in her mid 40s whose 4 kids are aged 6 to 22- guess which one has Downs? The oldest one, born when mom was about 23. Go figure...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just to add: I agree with th posters here who wish adoption was more prominent, especially in Japan. I would have been more than happy to adopt, and brought up the subject with my husband several times but he was absolutely 100% against it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Some people are born to be parents, some aren't. The smug posts that everyone ought to have kids, or that women are being "too emotional" in reaction to an issue that affects their lives enormously, just make me wilt a little inside.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I would imagine that is there a mountain of data that he could present and if he is indeed a professor and expert, he has authored enough of this research to make his claims irrefutable.

Please don't invent excuses for him. He is a grown man, he should find them himself, and if he's a professional, act like one and present the evidence.

Japanese women are no different from the rest of the world, but the social pressure to go to kitchen to make food and babies while young is extremely strong, an anomaly for a developed world. Japan has human rights issues not only towards foreigners, but to women also.

Stay healthy and you can have babies at a later time as well, no matter what Japanese experts say.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

yasukuniAPR. 16, 2012 - 08:47AM JST

As a male reading this article and the following comments, I have two observations regarding you ladies. First, the worst thing you can say as a male is that women are lacking in intelligence or reasoning ability and are emotion-driven. But, look at this article?

The Sweet and the Sour. I have met many intelligent and no so intelligent people from both genders. No worries there. ;)

There is a Professor at a leading university who has studied women's reproductive organs for thirty years, treated 5000 patients, and he makes the simply medical statement that women are better of having their first baby in their twenties, and he gets bashed. 30years? 5000 patients? Probably read a few books and done quite a few internal examinations. All he is saying is that medically, biologically, women have a higher chance of fertility, and delivering healthy babies when they are younger. That's a fact. He's talking as a doctor. And no doubt he's seen the pain and anguish of women who weren't able to conceive no matter what they did or how much they paid. He's just stating facts ladies.

The same I can say about an Urologist female friend I know from childhood regarding men's prostate issues and lack of men understanding when it comes to have annual rectal exams to prevent various types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. and yes, she is a WOMAN. But the question is..Would you take her word seriously regarding your own reproductive organs? You know, since you are a man. ;-)

We all know some 21 years olds have trouble conceiving, or have sick children, and we all know that many women in their 40's have healthy babies. He's talking basic medical facts. Why get upset about that? As a male, I have no problem with a doctor saying that men in their 20's have more testosterone and healthier sperm than a 50 yr old, or a 40 yr old.

Ever heard of the defective sperm in some males? Especially those above 40? Yes, defective sperm is one of the main culprits when failing to conceive. In this day and age society still places the blame on women for infertility issues and most prefer to ignore the fact that sometimes sperm is just not good enough or healthy enough. Now we have to deal with male infertility as well.

But for people with no medical background to argue with a man of his background and experience is truly bizarre. But maybe not as bizarre as a supposedly intelligent, educated woman who thinks she can run a country announce that she's never heard that a woman over 40 could have difficulties with pregnancy. My image of women has gone down a peg.

Not many women want to start having kids in their 20's. They want to focus on their careers, enjoy life with their partner or simply they are not prepared mentally and emotionally to have a child. Most people I know would rather wait a bit more. Late 20's~early 30's perhaps?

That said, in my own case I decided to have children the earliest I could and now after 4 blessings, I can say it was worth it. No regrets.

-1 ( +3 / -3 )

@yasukuni

A leading specialist in JAPAN. A country so backwards when it comes to obstetrics at times that yes, I would put money on some JTers knowing as much as the "specialists" do. This is a country that still puts pregnant women on diets and won't let them gain more than 8 kilos for Gods sake!

Even my own obstetrician admitted to me that there are some "leading specialists" here that should have been pensioned off years ago. He told me about an obstetrician he knows here who makes women chop wood with an axe to "prepare for delivery". He said the local hospitals hate him as emergencies are always coming their way from this guys clinic.

So no - I don't put a lot of faith in the majority of specialists here. As I said before this guy makes some medically valid points but modern medicine is more holistic than this and considers a patients emotional health as well. Something clearly missed in this report.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

makes women chop wood with an axe to "prepare for delivery"

Totally my grand-ma's style. Note that she never had delivery problems, and she had her kids after 30 and the last at nearly 50. But well, I wanted to bring my Granny here to say how this article is political and not factual. Not that I doubt the statistic risk and fertility rate stats. I learned about them in Junior High School like everybody. I also see well that 2/3 of the people I know have been born to women over 30. Then mothers and fathers are healthier longer. A couple of relatives are now 67, with 3 children aged 18 to 22, and that doesn't look like the old image of elderly-parents that existed 50 yrs ago. They take their kids skiing and surfing, not walking with a cane to go pruning the roses. So if better health combined with medical progress can push further the higher "relatively safe" childbirth age, that's not a bad thing. But I don't like Mrs Umitai Noda because of her mentality : "I am entitled to get my pregnancy, I'm the customer, serve me....". Even if she was 17, I would disagree.

This is a country that still puts pregnant women on diets and won't let them gain more than 8 kilos for Gods sake!

But Nicky, they do that in all rich countries in 2012. Maybe Dr Fertility could explain that to the public someday. Many friends in Europe and the US have been, or are, on pregnancy diets as that's a way to "control" gestational diabetes, for instance. And they prescribe it more often for "older mothers" (over 40, in most countries). A friend even lost 10 kg during her pregnancy. That's rare, and that was not the goal of the diet, they only controlled her sugar blood levels.

Moreover, “the success rate of infertility treatment starts dropping at age 30 and plunges past 35.”

But Sensei, you said women in their 20's didn't need your treatment... so that drops from what ?

“There are no firm statistics,” he writes, “but the rising number of women marrying late and then being unable to conceive is an undeniable fact.”

It's not a fact at all. That are not less likely to conceive due to marriage. Unrelated. The "rising number" is the number of women using the services of fertility clinics. And they do it because that became available. 50 yrs ago, they couldn't try in-vitro or anything as that didn't exist. But surely some women would have been interested. Older mothers get more tests and pregnancy monitoring as the risks increase, and precisely because they are aware of it. But not only. That's also because doctors neglect the risks for younger mothers. Is it because women in their 20's have less money that they could suck from them ?

80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.

Because they propose to check women over 35, they systematically check all those over 40... and nada for the younger ones. And for other problems idem.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well said Cos and Nicky. I think the price coming down is also a reason why more are doing that route - before they just would have given up. Heck, the UK covers treatment now for a certain period. Something I;m not sure I agree with.

Ogi, I agree with you too - shocking, eh? ;)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ Franchesca. I would just like to say that a doctor goes to 8-12 years of medical school, then specializes in 1 "field of the body". So that being said, Yes, a MAN or WOMAN with this education WILL know more about your body than you do. That is why we go to hospitals and doctor offices instead of siting at home trying to come up with a solution to what ever medical question we may have. You are right though, since I do not have this training, I will not give advise on this subject... other than if you have questions about this dont listen to anyone on this forum, go see a health care professional. As for horror storries, there are just as many female doctor screw ups than male doctor screw ups, they are human so mistakes can be made. This does not mean you should not seek out doctors advice before making any health care related decisions. So if you are more comfortable going to one than the other, make it so. This doctor is making a suggestion not a demand, take his advise or leave it. I would rather have people giving there professional oppinion than not having any information out there at all. One last thing for all, this artical is about how it MAY BE harder to get pregnant later in life and there MAY BE higher rate of berth defects if you do. Note the MAY BE in my statement, meaning not all the time, but can sometimes be the case. This is not a lie it is in many medical journals writen by heathcare professionals, take it or leave it. Any way, nice to read everyones comments, hopefully no mater what point in your life you decide to have children (or not at all) I pray they will be healthy and happy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I do tend to see that women who are over 30 having their first child tend to make the pregnancy issue like a sickness and in need of support, whereas a younger woman tends to go with the flow and enjoy it, knowing that she need to be careful-like bungy jumping with a big belly just seems obviously not going to work-but wont go the over-protective road and causing the pregnancy to be seen as in need of vitamins and constant consultation, evaluation, reassurance, and basically forcing a lot of worry into what is going on

Have you ever thought this is because of all the "oh you need to be careful, you're so old, you might lose it" crap women get fed here? My sister had her first at 37 and was very active. Many are. If you look at how the west approaches pregnancy in 30/40's and how Japan looks at it... You would think the women in their 30/40s are glass and about the break. I know of a few women who have been told to quit their jobs and stay home due to stress and the like. Utter crap. You can't blame THEM for walking around worrying like they do when the medical system here bullies them into thinking they might lose the baby and it would be their fault if they do.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Yes tmarie, he was being specific to Japan. He is a doctor specifically treating a certain population of Asian women who by and large throughout his career eat a certain way in general, deal with stress in a certain cultural way, over the years of his doctoring they are physically active or not in ways that are the norm for Japan. Not western countries. All of this has a DIRECT bearing on the womb as any stress releases chemicals in the body that can degrade systems of the body. How and what you eat and how you release stress or deal with it and not release it can be very different among cultural norms. Today's younger generation of girls may not be the same as their mothers but on the average how they eat, how much extra weight they put on, the amount of body fat they carry, average bone density, level of iodine in their diet, an on and on as well as the way they are taught to internalize....their are so many factors. Yes, the average Japanese woman has a different profile than the average western woman and that can have a DIRECT effect on the womb.

But even in the west the truth is the same.....have a baby younger (STATISTICALLY) less problems overall. This is not talking about wealth or emotions or stability...purely physical.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I think it depends a lot on the individual woman. I had the twins at 36 and my third after 40. Ive met a lot of younger ladies who arent as healthy as I am. Smoking,drinking, etc. I also personally think that it is harder to rebound back after the second or third birth as you are now dealing with a newborn AND siblings. Always cracked me up that mothers pregnant with their second or third child are preceived as okay and not needing help as they`ve already gone through it with the first one! They need a lot of support too.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

If you've been in the system you'll know that this issue is more than the biological truths. But the emotional, economical, and psychological state of most young people is shockingly ignorant and immature. Couples having kids in their 30 is a reality and it isn't going away anytime soon. This doctor is neither brave nor honest. He is capitalizing on an issue and getting some press for his findings. Nothing to see hear ... move along.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

So he's commenting on a public health issue

How, pray tell, is commenting about when or not women should conceive children a public health issue? Plus if you read the article he is quite experienced as well.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Frankly, most women shouldn't have babies BEFORE thirty. You ought to be financially stable and have more life experiences before you consider having kids, if you have any say in the matter. And please... sure, the older you get the greater the risk of complication. But in the thirties, we're still talking about a TINY chance. Don't act like popping one out at 38 means the kid's going to suddenly have Down's or something. I think this article is misleading, and just seems like one of those awkward ways Japan is trying to tell its citizens to start breeding asap so the population decline won't be so drastic.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

No pension, no secure jobs record high real estate costs and parents with no retirement money or plan.. BUT have a kid before you are 30!!!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

yeah why the heck would u want a child at such and old age @___@ become a mother around your 20's! ^o^

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

cleoAPR. 15, 2012 - 10:18AM JST

I'd rather have a qualified gynocologist of either sex dealing with my female problems than a well-meaning but otherwise unqualified person who just happens to have a womb. Of course it's their business to comment, if that's their line of expertise.

Good point there, but since its a matter of personal preference, I'll keep my Female doc that have over 20 years working in the field. I'll also keep my midwife who delivered 3 of my 4 children. If I want a male checking my genitals, I'll ask my husband. ;-) Just because someone is a doctor doesn't mean he isn't a man. The old hogwash "they are doctors, they have seen everything" might work only with children. Unfortunately, in my own experience not all male docs have been professional. Horror stories I'd like to keep to myself..for now.

So if your husband is getting on in years and wants to try for a baby, you'd have no qualms whatsoever? Personally I'd consider his aging sperm to be as much of a problem as my aging eggs.

Well, we have already 4, I had my uterus taken out for my own benefit. We agreed to not have anymore children. Full House.

Not to mention the problems others have mentioned, of grandparent-aged parents trying to keep up with teenagers and kids in their early twenties having to care for ancient parents - giving them even less chance of starting their own families.

That's true and I agree. Reason why I started having all my children in my early twenties. Mind you I just turned 31. ;)

-2 ( +2 / -3 )

Women generally have some decrease in fertility starting in their early 30s and it is normal for a woman over 35 to take longer to conceive than a younger woman

Ha! I wish! I conceived my third at age 35 in about 2 minutes. Believe me - I timed it! ;)

Francesca - sounds like you and me had the same doctor :( !

I think the problem with this debate is that a) everyone is different so you just cant apply a blanket "you should" and b) if the decision to have a child was based purely on whether or not your ovaries are in full bloom the doctor would be right. But unfortunately its a bit more complicated than that, and he is ignoring the many complicated emotional, social and economic pressures that go into the decision to start a family in favour of simply stating a medical fact. It IS a fact that statistically your chances of having complications rise with age. However, for the majority of people it is a balanced risk that they accept.

There is some evidence to suggest having your first child VERY young (like, by the age of 20) can protect you from breast cancer in the future. But this is not a good reason to go ahead and start a family at 19 either!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

WHOA! All of my favourite ladies born in 1982, could have complained lives when they have children if one of them as her husband

And these ones are in the criteria:

Arisa Mizuhara (Professional Cosplayer: 18/Nov/82) Yuko Kimura (Train Idol: 17/Aug/82) Isamu Itsuki (Professional Cosplayer: 28/Feb/92)

and this list keeps on pilin' up

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Another reason not to wait too long: Good luck trying to play with your 10 year old when you're 55 years old. The child may get the "thrill" of seeing their loving parent collapse and get carted off to the hospital. The child will be convinced for the rest of their life that the collapse was their fault.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Cos - thats a very good point you make. Just as young girls are hitting puberty earlier these days, people are also living longer and fitter lives. My Mum was 54 when she became a granny. Now at 64 she is still travelling all over the world, going to pilates, out drinking, and when here playing with the kids, carrying them around, no bother at all. 64 is still young but when I compare it with her Mother (my grandmother) at 64 - she was an old woman by then, having difficulty walking and medical issues building up. In general people are having babies later, but are younger and fitter for longer than even 30 years ago.

Yes, you are right, they do put women on restricted diets for gestational diabetes in the west BUT - that is usually when they are overweight to start with and gain a more realistic 15-20 kilos. They also dont make them diet to lose weight - just try to restrict or control further gain. 8 kilos is only about 17 lbs. Read any modern pregnancy book and they will tell you you need to gain anywhere from 25-50lbs depending on your own individual factors. Thats the key - individual. They recognise overseas that one size literally DOESNT fit all. Being significantly over OR underweight DOES put the child at greater risk (Bussell 2000) and that is why some women (usually heavily overweight) are restricted when pregnant - for the majority of Japanese women that does not and should not apply.

I was told to gain only 8 kilos in my first pregnancy. I am 164cms and was 45 kilos (very very sick). Had I listened I would have gone up to 53 kilos in total, still underweight for my height even if I wasnt pregnant, which is just as unhealthy! As it was I barely managed 8, but that was on top of regaining the weight I lost being sick,and not for want of trying.

Finally for the frst time in my 3rd pregnancy a midwife sat down with me and actually calculated from my base weight and height what they recommended I try to gain (13 kilos, she said. Woohoo!). I asked her about it, and she said these were "new recommendations" (in 2009!). However, despite these new recommendations, I am forever meeting pregnant women around here telling me they are still being told to only gain 8lbs. The word isnt even getting out to the clinics here, or if it is, they are sticking with their old ways of doing things.

Recent research suggests that low birthrate babies (directly related to maternal nutrition) are at higher risk for heart problems and type 2 diabetes in later life (The Acheson Report 1998, + Barker 1992). But mention that research to virtually any OBGYN here and they dont even know about it. (Sorry to throw references at you - it was part of my research on a project I was working on a few years ago!).

If your friend lost 10kgs then yes, that is highly unusual. It would suggest though, that your friend had it to lose in the first place (I am assuming (and hoping) her child was born healthy?). I barely managed 10kgs in my 1st and 2nd pregnancies! I tried (God knows, I tried!) but it was just not natural for me. My friend however gained 17kgs, was stressed out by the constant pressure of the doctors but could do nothing about it - it was about 5kgs of water which she lost a week after delivery - but the doctors wouldnt even recognise that and put her on a "diet" - how do you diet off water retention??!

Again - the reason this debate gets so heated is because everyone is an individual. I conceived mine and popped them out no problems at all aged 30-36. My 27 year old friend had to ensure horrific rounds of IVF to get her lovely boy. My other friend in her 20s had miscarriage after miscarriage and eventually gave up. It wasnt till she was 36 that they discovered an ovarian condition, operated and bam - 2 babies in 3 years! My grandmother - 9 between the ages of 24 and 48 (actually - that explains her old woman-status at 60!). But my point is - everyone can come up with examples of individuals who buck the trends. But there are certain general consensuses (consensii??!) about certain aspects of obstetrics - like not gaining too much or too little weight.

I dont disagree with what this doctor is saying, but the decision to have a baby, for virtually everyone, is not simply a medical one, and I feel his advice is dangerous as it ignores other important factors in favour of simply pumping out babies - which yes, smacks of political motivation and/or an old fashioned approach to me.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

well, this is to encourage japanese young wife to give birth as early as possible. many schools remain idle for having less pupils going to school. other effect, more sensei lost their jobs due to less gakusei.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Actually tmarie I wasnt thinking of Angelina - she said it too, but she was actually quoting it from the original - it was a guy, in New York, maybe in his 60s now, but his name absolutely escapes me!

Maybe its my age.... ;)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

yasukuni,

He lost the case from the very beginning. He and "his" government have zero right to tell women here what time/age they are suppose to the get pregnant and have children. Women are absolute owners of their bodies and lives and they will do as they see fit. Not some dark age old doc with god complex being paid extra for spreading his government propaganda. This guy is a joke and completely irrational. I had my husband reading this article and he chuckled: "Is this guy for real? What a joker LOL" in his own english words. lol

In this day and age, not even the government can dictate people what to do. You are sole master of your own decision and should be responsible for every one of them. I personally believe every man and woman knows when they are ready to have children. Everybody is different. No one really knows. It takes time and maturity of course.

I started in my very early twenties and I'm very glad I did but If I was under different circumstances I would probably go for the late twenties/early thirties perhaps?

Forget about the ridiculous pressure of these bureaucrats and do what is best for you. Don't let the government get into your own bed. When you are ready, you will know. ;-)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@yasukuni - yes, I agree too. The information is starting to filter through now, and some practices ARE applying more modern concepts to pregnancy. Mine was one of them. Its still very slow though - when I talk to pregnant women more often than not they are stll being told to limit their weight gain to 8kgs, regardless of their body type or starting weight.

i think being from a university hospital this doctor of course knows all there is to know about his specific field - infertiity. And can speak knowledgeably from that narrow perspective. But as many people have pointed out above, the question of if and when to have a child is absolutely not that simple.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

yasukuniAPR. 19, 2012 - 07:55AM JST

"I would put money on some JTers knowing as much as the "specialists" do."

I'd put money on the doctor here knowing more than all of the JTers when it comes to women's reproductive health.

Thats why all men go to WOMEN urologists to have their rectal exams done. We all have the same reproductive organs. LOL We can definitely take the word seriously. ;-)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Andrew BrooksAPR. 21, 2012 - 05:23AM JST

@ Franchesca. I would just like to say that a doctor goes to 8-12 years of medical school, then specializes in 1 "field of the body". So that being said, Yes, a MAN or WOMAN with this education WILL know more about your body than you do. That is why we go to hospitals and doctor offices instead of siting at home trying to come up with a solution to what ever medical question we may have. You are right though, since I do not have this training, I will not give advise on this subject... other than if you have questions about this dont listen to anyone on this forum, go see a health care professional. As for horror storries, there are just as many female doctor screw ups than male doctor screw ups, they are human so mistakes can be made. This does not mean you should not seek out doctors advice before making any health care related decisions. So if you are more comfortable going to one than the other, make it so. This doctor is making a suggestion not a demand, take his advise or leave it. I would rather have people giving there professional oppinion than not having any information out there at all. One last thing for all, this artical is about how it MAY BE harder to get pregnant later in life and there MAY BE higher rate of berth defects if you do. Note the MAY BE in my statement, meaning not all the time, but can sometimes be the case. This is not a lie it is in many medical journals writen by heathcare professionals, take it or leave it. Any way, nice to read everyones comments, hopefully no mater what point in your life you decide to have children (or not at all) I pray they will be healthy and happy.

This is not about who studies the most or knows the most or is professional the most. This is about my own personal experience and preference. I don't like the idea of having a man telling me what to do with my own reproductive organs, We know how common it is in the U.S. for men to become OBGYN's same as in Japan, But I'm lucky to have the choice and I choose to stay with my same gender. A doctor does NOT become a robot or desensitized just because he is a doctor. We all have heard of countless cases of Male doctors abusing female patients. The typical "take off your shirt so I can listen to your heart" is a pretty common way of abuse. Not many men get asked to take off your shirt when listening to their heart. Go figure ;-)

Good insight, just remember all this the next time you have your digital prostate exam done by a woman doc! ;-) Cheers~

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

“No one ever told me that having a child after 40 could be difficult.”

I also find this very hard to believe. Anyone who takes any responsiblity for themselves would know that this is the case. Simply a caseof googling "conception over 40". He is telling us a lawmaker of all people didnt think to do that? Come on!

-3 ( +10 / -12 )

I know this is a very sensitive issue to women but he is spot on...sorry if you don't like it. He is being specific to JAPAN. In Japan women over 30's have more complications regarding getting pregnant, being pregnant, and post pregnancy. It was obvious he was generalizing. It is a number thing ..not every woman over 30 will have problems but the odds are stronger that they will compared to a similarly health 25 year old. If the 40 year old is active and healthy with a viable womb then fine but it may have been easier or healthier or easier on the health of baby/mom if she was younger.

In the west in places like the US/UK...women have a different mentality and existence. How they handle stress is different. How they eat is different, and even things like being too lean can effect pregnancy and its related areas. I have heard this in the US about age of getting pregnant and the ODDS of certain complications. But that is what they are...ODDS. Not certainties. Those of you in the US, why don't you talk to several doctors in the know and get one who isn't basing answers on being PC and trying not to offend a woman's pride and or modern sensibilities. Having a baby when the womb is most fertile is better...and that is more likely skewed toward 20 versus 40. (This has nothing to do with emotional maturity)

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

GWAPR. 15, 2012 - 08:49AM JST Franchesca,

You need to try to set yr emotions aside on this one the DOC is 100% correct, just the way it works with ALL animals, as for the men/males of the world DITTO, sperm counts/quality DECREASE after a certain point, simple facts, nothing more, nothing less.

When people decide to try to have kids later in life there are some potenial risks, they shud simply be aware is all

Emotions? Men are way more emotional than women when it comes to their OWN issues like pregnancy and abortion. This is the year 2012. Men has zero business talking or even voicing opinion about women's bodies. This has nothing to do with parenthood. This is a topic about women's reproduction system. I have seen many topics about impotence and defective sperm in men over 40 and I wouldn't dare to comment on those. Plus If you weren't emotional, you wouldn't be replying to me right now. ;-)

Besides, if I tell you that I highly recommend all men over 30 to have their rectal and prostate exams annually, would you trust my word? (wink wink) ;-)

Cheers~

-3 ( +4 / -6 )

would you have a doctor checking your naturals or a natural professional checking your naturals

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@orange.

A woman will never regret having a baby? Really? Where have you been? Obviously not checking in to JT everyday. We've got plenty of stories here with women abusing their children or flat out dumping them somewhere.

Why? Cause they weren't ready for motherhood. You have articles like this one scaring them to hurry up and beat the clock. Hurry up ladies, get pregnant before the 24 second clock runs out.

There are plenty of people who regret having children and there are those that don't.

Take another angle. There plenty of children who wish that had a more mature mother who didn't destroy their family. They wish their mom hadn't abandoned daddy. It'll catch up with them in time.

My point is this. The world should not revolve around a woman's biological clock. Stop listening to this fear mongering to turn you into a baby machine as some J politicians have said in the past.

Having a baby shouldn't be done just because your hormones are raging. Go see a doctor and get your tubes tied or get on the pill. You'd be surprised how the government is encouraging doctors to spread fear about the pill. You'd be surprised ladies. It'll make your life better and you won't feel that pressure have a baby. It's not something you HAVE to do.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Ogi, I agree with you too - shocking, eh? ;)

I've agreed with you a couple of times before, but you're right, it doesn't happen that often.. the last one I can remember is the shared love for 2NE1 :P

Carrying a child in your belly for 9 months, even pushing it out at the end of it all is the easy bit. It is the constant getting up in the night, comforting them when they are sick, supporting them when they are sad, listening when they need you to, worrying when they dont eat enough, worrying when they eat too much, sharing a laugh, a joke and an ice cream, getting climbed on, puked on, peed on and hit on for money every 5 seconds - THAT is being a parent. Makes shag all difference whether the child is biologically yours or not.

Well said Nicky.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I dont know if it is still the case, (probably not given the average age of first delivery is now 30) but in the UK first time Mothers aged 29 and up used to have "Geriatric Mother" labelled on their medical notes! (Obviously from this doctors era). My friend was a doctor, and she told me after she got married she insisted on having her first by 28 just so she didnt get that label on her notes!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@yasukuni - written or updated within about the last 5-10 years. There are many but the most popular in the English speaking world, and generally accepted as the "bible" of pregnancy is the "What to Expect" series. It states all the details of weight gain clearly in there in the first couple of chapters.

Many of the doctors here qualify through med school not because they have a passion or talent for it, but because it is their "family business" and if they are not good enough to get in on their own steam, the family pay for it.

Then they go to work in the family "business" which is just that - a business. There is no incentive for them to keep up to date by attending worldwide conferences, research seminars and the like - too expensive. Research takes time to come out of the English speaking world and be translated into Japanese, if they will even accept the research as "Japanee bodies are different". There is a shortage of OBGYNs here, and they are ageing. Many of them graduated years ago and have not kept up to date.

This is of course a generalisation - there are many good doctors too, particularly in university hospitals where there is an incentive to keep up to date. But this sums up the general state of OBGYN medicine here, not from my mouth, but the mouth of a Japanese OBGYN - he told me all this.

The doctor in question here - yes, I am sure he knows more than anyone on JT about reproductive health from a clinical perspective. But as I said before, modern medicine is more holistic than that, and a lot more complicated than just the nuts and bolts.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

He is being specific to JAPAN. Are you trying to suggest that Japanese women have different bodies and reproductive systems than those in other places???

Funny, why are there never any articles on how defective sperm is once men hit a certain age? Why is it always the women we hear about?

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Having a baby when the womb is most fertile is better...and that is more likely skewed toward 20 versus 40. Physically yes. Mentality, monetarily... no. Hence why many women are waiting. I also don't think pride comes into the equation at all. Rather shocked you would suggest so. I am well aware of the risk of having kids over 35 and think with my lifestyle, regardless of the risks, it is better. Pride plays no part of it at all. There are women in their 20's who have to get help in the reproductive area. Indeed, age plays a part but it isn't the only thing that causes problems.

Madammika, congrats! Great post!

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

That said, take no offense there buddy, I show my deep respect and admiration to the male gender by simply NOT commenting on their private/gender/reproduction issues ;-) But hey! that's just me I guess.

-4 ( +2 / -5 )

and jumpy what population you talking about??? adopting children or doing a little bit of menial work in the fields would work. adopting is not an ideal whatesoever unless the child has no parents it is a lot better for children to grow up with their natural parents no matter what sort of parent you or anybody wants to judge them to be

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

You don't have to understand it.

I could equally say, you don't have to defend not having kids...

...but you vehemently are doing so

You're sounding very judgmental with it all.

Not at all. I'm just trying to share what I have found out about the joy and wonder of having kids. Obviously such advice is not for everyone...

I don't want to sound judgmental but you seem very touchy about this issue.

You're dissing the guy going on about his ipad but perhaps he was rolling his eyes at you with your talk about your children. It works both ways.

I never talk about my kids unless someone asks.

On the other hand, some single childless people who know I don't have much chance for traveling never miss an opportunity to tell me in detail all about their wonderful trips to Cambodia or wherever.

When they do so I can't help thinking to myself... this person is missing the best adventure life has to offer.

if they don't want kids, they shouldn't have them.

I don't quite agree with this. It denies the possibility of a person who didn't want a kid turning out to be a beautiful parent which is all the more poignant...

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

@Cleo

Adopting sounds good, but no matter what, they'll never fully convince themselves that the adopted child is truly their own. No one can.

I think a woman's biological pressure to have a baby is absolutely ridiculous. If a woman really wants to perform this one cool trick I think she should go to a sperm bank and do it by herself. Stop destroying the lives of men and economically incarcerating them in order see what your body can do.

I think it's wonderful that Japanese women are starting to turn away from having children in order to maintain the population. That's something we would claim they do in North Korea.

Women should stop having children and start careers. Being more financially independent and most of all, let go of the daddy pays for everything complex. Women need to start fending for themselves completely.

Stop worrying about your clock and just adopt. Don't let the bureaucrats put your body in the service of the government.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Please don't invent excuses for him. He is a grown man, he should find them himself, and if he's a professional, act like one and present the evidence.

@Gaijintechie - I completely agree with you. But I wonder if the problem is not so much the professionalism of this doctor as much as the readership of the publication he is being quoted in. In the NEJM or the Lancet I can see his research being presented clinically, but this rag - I may be wrong but I dont have the impression that the readership can stretch to such terminology as "double blind trials" and "control groups".

I am trying to be as logical and rational about this subject as possible, especially given that it doesnt really affect me on a personal level. But I do find it interesting that even when women do offer strong opinions on a subject such as this, they are considered "emotional" and "irrational", yet the men expressing countering but equally strong opinions, well, arent. I think Cleo and tmarie both make some really valid points. Opinionated (in a good way) yes. Irrational? Emotional? Sorry but I am just not seeing that.

-4 ( +1 / -4 )

Who was it that said "2 of my 6 children were adopted. I forget which ones".

Sadly, that would be Angelina Jolie and you can't use here for this one because she's made comments that make it clear that she sees her adopted kids as different than the ones she gave birth to - something along the lines of "I love them more because they weren't born into wealth and had to fight for everything". Sorry, she adopted kids, not stray puppies and that comment made me cringe.

I agree, you don't have to be the "biological" gene giver to be a parent and to love and care for a child. I've got two amazing step parents that have proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt. I find it very, very sad that many people in Japan can't get over the whole blood line thing. So many kids out there that just want to be loved and so many adults out there wanting kids. Why oh why can't these adults grow up and get past the blood thing? Sad. Just sad.

And yes, Ogi, it was that thread! ;)

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

“Japanese sex education,” he writes, “is all about birth control. Funny, I thought it was all about the reproductive system and very little on birth control.

Some issues increase after the age of 35 and I don't doubt that it is "easier" to have a kid while younger in terms of the physical aspect. Thing is, people in their 20's these days don't have the financial security nor the maturity for the most part to start bringing kids into the world. Sick babies are born regardless of the age of the mother. To make it seem that if you have a kid of 30 it will be ill is twisted. Most of my friends here that have kids had them at 35-40 and none of them have any problems. They all work, all want to do what is best for baby and all have very secure lives (except for one but anyway...).

As for not knowing about this, this women must have had her head in the sand. I've been hearing about this since I was about 12 and have made my decisions not to have a kid regardless of being over 30 because financially not ready, hadn't found the right person - plus, far too selfish to being another life into the world. Add in that Japan really doesn't support working women and well, Japan has created a large problem for itself. Women want to work and have a life, not "just" be seen as a mommy which is what often happens. So they put it off and now this guy is going to come on and start naming names about women who waited who have ill children? Sick and twisted. It just seems like another way to blame women. What if they haven't found that person by 30? Is that their fault? Should they juts have kids anyway and then be called the dread "single mother" that gets such a huge stigma here? Women just can't win regardless of what they do. Have kids when not ready, not married and well, they are blamed and called bad mothers. Wait, get married, have a kid later when you have the money, patience... get blame for it if your kid is sick.

Nicky, agree with what you have written. And Cleo, good point as well - how on earth could she have not known??

-5 ( +6 / -10 )

TOKYO —

When entertainers speak, the world listens, and one message they’re delivering lately is profoundly disturbing to at least one leading obstetrician – namely, that giving birth relatively late in life is okay. It’s not, Kyoto Medical University professor and infertility expert Nobuhiko Suganuma writes in Shukan Bunshun (April 12). Suganuma has a message of his own: “If you want children, have your first before you turn 30.”

I thought it would be interesting to read until I notice the so called head of obstetrics is a MAN. Bleh!...pure rubbish. Makes me wonder how many men out there take the word of a "woman" doc seriously when it comes to male impotence problems. LOL!

-5 ( +3 / -7 )

The doctor is right that if you do have plans for kids, dont put it off because you are chasing the junior-partner position. I think it is just a shock for some women that they cant get their doctorate, then find the perfect guy who understands they are both a wife and a career-centered woman, then have their wedding in Hawaii and when the second investment property is paid off - start a family.

Perhaps if the world wasn't sexist, women wouldn't have to "chase" such positions? Why shouldn't women be able to have all of the above? Many men do so why can't the women? It is this type of sexist thinking that leads women to wait until they a) are financially secure b) find someone who respects them and their career c) finds someone who is willing to help out with raising kids. I could have popped out a few kids with my ex when I was 25 if I had wanted. Thing is, he isn't the type to help with kids, I didn't want to be working AND doing all the child rearing alone... Perhaps if men helped a little more at home and women didn't feel that they had to make a choice here between work OR being a mom, more women wouldn't wait like they do? I am terrified of losing my job here if we have sprogs - so I keep putting it off. Until women feel secure with the work situation, this is going to continue. As long as the men here think having kids and looking after them is a women's job, they will continue to put it off. This isn't just about women here, it is also about the men. I don't think this is such an issue 'home' because there is a lot more support for working moms. Japan needs to wake up and realise that many women aren't happy with the idea of "just" being a mom.

Teflon, I'm glad you posted about the issue with men as well. Funny how Japan never seems to address the issues of older men and their defective sperm. Blame the women as usual.

Choi, why should anyone have to get over the "yearning to travel, have fun..." Having kids doesn't have to mean the life stops. Sadly, I think many think this way which is why they don't want to have kids. I love traveling and having fun. If we have kids, I will continue to do so WITH the kids. It is the attitude that everything has to stop when you get married than puts people off getting married. It is the attitude that life and fun has to stop when you have kids. That puts people off having kids. Of course you aren't going to be doing the same type of travel and whatnot but I know plenty of people with kids who still do these things. They'd go insane if they couldn't.

As for feeling "empty" what a horrific thing to say and make it seem like a good reason to have kids. How many women have kids because they feel like this and then when the kids don't magically make their life better, they resent them or worse, go into depression and well, we all know what happens here... Feeling "empty" is never a good excuse to have kids. I'm glad it "worked" for you but please don't make it seem like those of us without kids aren't fulfilled in life. I certainly am and if we have kids, it will add to my life it but certainly fulfill it as if I am so shell of a human without them.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Marie, I doubt if most people care or not if you choose to be child-free, it is totally your choice. The point where is grates with those who have children is where you have a strong opinon on every story which involves a child, you habitually run down those women who have chosen to be mothers, and force your ideas onto other people, saying their choices are not as good as your ones. No, not exactly. I "run down" parents who aren't looking after their kids all that well. There are many amazing moms out there and I would never, ever second guess anyone's choice to have or not have kids. Why on earth would anyone run down a women who has kids?! I question the way they raise those kids, but question them having kids? Never. It isn't my place to say people should or shouldn' t have kids. Sadly, if you read the comments on here, others seem to think they can tell women they "have" to have kids to be fulfilled in life. If someone has kids who then isn't looking after those kids well then yes, I will comment. Don't get the two confused. I've also never suggested that people who have kids have made bad choices. It might not have been the best choice at the time but I wouldn't ever suggest having a child is a "bad" choice. Would be crazy to suggest such a thing. I do question though why many women here have them when it seems they aren't too keen to raise them and look after them well.

A woman will never regret having a child, if she takes that step, however she may well regret her choice of father for her baby, as net ninja often makes abundantly clear. I will also disagree with that. There are indeed women/fathers out there who regret having them - which is why some parents abuse their kids, shove them off onto grandparents, don't look after them... And I am shocked that you think you can speak for all women out there. I would never even try to speak for all women and I am one. It would be great to think that everyone who has kids loves having them and life is great but sadly, that isn't always the case. Suggesting otherwise isn't the truth. It is also why a lot of women here, I think, are overwhelmed with it all. Kids isn't all sunshine and rainbows but sadly, this is the impression that many have and when they find out otherwise, aren't happy which can lead to numerous problems such as neglect and abuse. Voicing that they aren't happy makes them the pariah of society which is why a lot of unhappy women keep their mouths shut and don't discuss the issue. It is a shame though because I think discussing it would great help them. Indeed, some women may regret not having kids. Many don't though. Personally, I don't know any who regret not having them. They might see kids and think "oh, isn't that nice" but I don't know anyone who is upset that they didn't have them - and if they were upset, they could always adopt. You can't exactly give away a child (though some try) if you regret your choice in having them.

Cleo, 100% agree with you about treatment and the like. Sadly, adoption here just isn't really done.

Nicky, well said. Heaven forbid we ladies get upset about a topic that is so hot talked about. This past week I have had, oh, seven people right now ask my why I don't have kids and when I plan on having them. SEVEN! ALL men/male unis students funnily enough. Heaven forbid little miss me have an opinion on things that affect my body. Next we'll be talking about shopping, cake and shoes...

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Well at least you've done the "right" thing and popped out your kids before getting to that age! ;)

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Yep! Excellent reason to rush into marriage with someone you are not sure about and when you are financially unsound.

Yes, statistically it is true that it becomes harder to conceive as you get older. But it is still entirely possible for most women. This guy makes it sound like after 30 you are screwed and after 40 you may as well kill yourself off. Like women dont have enough pressures on them already. Far better to WAIT until you are emotionally ready to be a Mother and then let nature take its course, then to rush into a pregnancy you are not sure you want and not sure you can cope with.

But then I read this:

“Japanese sex education,” he writes, “is all about birth control.

and realised for all his credentials this guy doesnt seem to have his finger on the pulse of the real world anyway.

-6 ( +16 / -19 )

Just to add, at the end of the day, society created this problem. If women were supported better in terms of work, if men helped out more, if people had secure jobs... People would have kids earlier. I know I would have. Thing is, the way this country works, it isn't surprising women here are holding off.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The problem being discussed on this thread is women deciding they want to have kids after their time has passed. Um, her time hasn't passed if she's able to get pregnant and have kids...

Sorry, what? Are you suggesting that women without the economic means, haven't met the right person who wants to have kids just go out and have them and screw waiting because, we, her time might be up when she hits a certain age? I would hope that isn't what you are suggesting but what is wrong with waiting, getting work in order and having the right time? Just because that isn't what you agree with or suggest doesn't make it "wrong". Kids are never "convenient" but not thinking ahead and just having them because you want them isn't a good idea. Plenty of women out there have them far too young and those kids pay the price - be it not having the money, parents not having the right manner, not being raised by mature parents... It is up to a women (and the father of course) to decide when having kids work best for them. For some, that means waiting until their in their 30's or early 40's. Why does society get to condemn them for waiting? Sick kids are born to young mothers as well. Are chances higher? Sure. But the chance of having kids will illness increase with many, many things that plenty of people do - smoking, drinking, not eating good foods, not exercising...

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

**I could equally say, you don't have to defend not having kids...

...but you vehemently are doing so**

Ever thought why? Look at what you've written with regards to people not having kids... I've not said a negative thing about those with kids. You certainly can't say the same about those without. No one on here has asked about your kids but yet, you're talking about them... I'm "touchy" on the subject because people like you seem to think they my life may be empty because I haven't reproduced... And then you sum it up with the "best adventure life has to offer".... Again, for YOU. Perhaps not for others. And then you turn around and pretty much state that everyone should have kids. Unreal.

Well said Cleo. Though I have to ask, are you against helping women who can't have kids? It seems you are. Perhaps some of those 40 year olds have been trying to have kids since they were in their 20s and can't help being "senile" parents. Personally, not a fan. Let nature take its place. If you can't have kids, you can't have kids. Adoption, being the best aunt/uncle... I also think people need to remember that there is a huge difference in 50 (which is an extreme case and I think that woman is nuts to not have known the risks) and a 30 year old.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Readers, please stop bickering. Focus your comments on what is in the story, not at each other.

Well at least you know when I'm going to say it Cleo! ;) Indeed, different strokes for different folks. I don't work for a faceless company and feel that I am impacting others on a daily basis. I love my job. Shame others don't feel the same. And indeed, money is an issue and the kids' needs come first but the whole idea that you have to give up everything and not have fun is wrong. People keep telling me having kids IS fun so why would you give that up if you have them?

Jump, I think it is selfish of you to tell women what they should and shouldn't do with their bodies. You do get that a large number of women in Japan have kids in their 40s right? Take that choice away and well, you're left with a large population problem then ever. Do you support genetic testing of all parents? Lots of people in their 20s have kids who have birth defects and issues. Would you make it illegal for THEM to have kids as well?? If anyone is being ignorant, it is you.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Yes I would support genetic testing if the results shows there was an EXTREMELY, note, EXTREMELY high risk of major disorder or death.

So who gets to decide who gets to breed? Where do you draw the line? Do you support sterilization of kids with defects? You're on a very, very slippery slope with all of this.

I agree people should be adopting but until Japan gets over the whole "It isn't our blood, we don't trust adoption" thing, not going to happen here.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I think it is difficult to say who is a expert. I noticed in this article where it mentions starting before 30 can prolong the reproductive peak. So frightening women in their 40s about complications can be misleading. However the nicest way I can figure how to say this; is if a woman in her 20s heading to 30s hasnt found a partner it is quite sad that nobody hasnt noticed her and her appeal-then again maybethe society creates a work based mindset that is trying to protect it's interests in saying that women over 30 can have children easily. While I think that is possible, I do tend to see that women who are over 30 having their first child tend to make the pregnancy issue like a sickness and in need of support, whereas a younger woman tends to go with the flow and enjoy it, knowing that she need to be careful-like bungy jumping with a big belly just seems obviously not going to work-but wont go the over-protective road and causing the pregnancy to be seen as in need of vitamins and constant consultation, evaluation, reassurance, and basically forcing a lot of worry into what is going on -when all that is needed is to just maybe eat something, or actually get the feeling "woah my tummy's big, Im going to do something now like walk or whatever to get this lump of a baby into a more comfortable situation for all......

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I would agree that 50 is certainly pushing it but I am talking about the whole "OMG over 30?! You shouldn't be allowed to have kids" that some of the posters seem to be suggesting.

Fertility issues aren't just a problem for those over 30. Plenty of women in their 20's have problems with this as well - just that many of them don't have the money to go and get treatment. So they wait until they do - which usually means they are... in their 30s...

Cleo, when is the "right" time? Obviously there is a time when it is impossible but the whole idea of a "right" time is a personal decision and suggesting that those women who wait are wrong to do so is well, wrong - which is what this article is hinting at. This article, while pointing out the obvious with regards to it being harder, makes it sound wrong for waiting. Which is where I have issues with it. What is good for someone isn't for someone else - which I think we agreed on many, many posts ago that "different folks, different strokes". I am just shaking my head at some of the posters on here who think that women who don't have them by 30 shouldn't be "allowed" to have them.

Little kids don't cost that much money but try raising a few kids with one person working in this day and age.... Which is why many are waiting - and saving. They can't afford to have kids. Which brings us back to the beginning of the government needing to step in and make it 'safe" for women at an early age to have them if they want - such as job security for both men AND women, support for working mothers... We all can't afford to stay home, not work and raise kids. And some of us don't want to stay home anyway.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

All I am saying is I can't understand why some people don't have kids. You don't have to understand it. There are plenty of people out there who don't understand why people have kids. You're sounding very judgmental with it all. Have you ever thought that perhaps those with no kids think you're missing out on things? People make their own choices and well, you don't have to agree with their choices nor understand it. You're dissing the guy going on about his ipad but perhaps he was rolling his eyes at you with your talk about your children. It works both ways. People shouldn't look down on those with kids and people with them shouldn't be looking down on those without. Personal choice. What works for you and is important to you isn't for everyone else.

What don't they "get" Cleo?

No Cleo, you raised your kids in a very different time. Your kids are grown and have jobs now. You didn't raise kids in the same economy as now so no, please don't try and suggest you've been there, done that when it was a very different with regards to job safety and the like. There are families now who really do want kids but just can't afford it.

I do agree with you though, if they don't want kids, they shouldn't have them. And no one should try and make them feel guilty for those choices - no idea how many times I've been told I'm selfish or other women are selfish for not having kids...

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

30? well actually it's 25, Early twenties is the reproductive peak time and once a woman is about 25 it's all down hill for her reproductive system. Woman are having children later and later, just one more issue in the complicated modern World.

-9 ( +4 / -14 )

Just want to add: I am terribly sorry for Seiko Noda and the problems her son is having and I hope he gets better and leads a full and happy life. BUT I spent two weeks a few years ago on a paediatric ward with a whole range of very sick babies and children and some of their Mothers were still in their 20s. It can and sadly does happen to children of younger mothers too. One person who gave birth late is hardly an example to back up these claims. Again - the majority of women giving birth later in life have no problems at all.

(And I am not biased - I am one of those Mothers who had their first by 30)

-10 ( +7 / -14 )

The obstetrician is so behind in his thinking.It's about how fertile a woman is. Age ain't nothing but a number if you're not.

-19 ( +5 / -24 )

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