Growing numbers of women are seeking to become mums in their 60s, leading experts warn.
Women in late middle age are apparently being inspired by celebrities like Janet Jackson to seek IVF treatment.
It has led doctors to issue guidance on dealing with the consequences, including how to manage “difficult conversations” with older couples desperate for a baby.
At the world’s biggest fertility conference experts said childbirth can have life-changing complications for older mothers.
And children face the trauma of losing parents at an early age or becoming carers.
Psychologist Dr Julianne Zweifel warned: “Increasingly we are seeing women in their 60s approaching clinics to have children. Studies suggest it is traumatic for a child to lose a parent at a young age. The emotional impact of being a caregiver to an ageing adult can also be devastating.”
Dr Zweifel, of University of Wisconsin, spoke at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Conference in Denver.
She described a “Janet Jackson effect” after the pop star gave birth to son Eissa at the age of 50 last year.
In 2006 Maria del Carmen Bousada, of Barcelona, broke the record for world’s oldest mum by having twins a week before her 67th birthday. She died in 2009.
Latest data for England and Wales shows the number of babies born to women aged 50 to 54 rose from 144 in 1997 to 786 in 2016.
Only two over-55s gave birth in 2001, but the figure soared to 20 by 2016. There is no upper age limit for fertility treatment here but most older mums conceive at foreign clinics before giving birth on the NHS.
Prof Geeta Nargund, of IVF specialist Create Fertility, said: “It can cost the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds to deal with pregnancy and neonatal complications such as miscarriages, pre-eclampsia, multiple births and stillbirth.”
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