California women are waiting longer to have children. Many are taking advantage of fertility treatments to wait a really long time.
The number of births to California women 45 and older jumped from about 650 in 1995 to about 1,850 in 2015, according to the latest figure from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase comes as the number of births to younger women approaches historic lows.
The odds of a woman having a child naturally after turning 45 are negligible. Fertility treatments have greatly improved the chances – though births at that age remain challenging.
A few patterns emerge when looking at births to women over 45.
Births to older women are often concentrated in wealthy areas with a high proportion of residents who are well-educated. About 53 percent of California women 45 and older who gave birth between 2007 and 2015 have a college degree, compared to 27 percent of younger women giving birth.
About 26 percent of births to California women of that age between 2007 and 2015 were twins or triplets. That’s roughly 9 times the rate of twins and triplets for women under 45. Fertility treatments are associated with a high proportion of multiple births.
It can be risky to have a child so late in life. About 64 percent of births to California women 45 and older involved a C-section, compared to 33 percent of births to younger women.
Babies born to older mothers have a higher risk of conditions related to chromosome deformities like Down syndrome. In addition, CDC data shows that a high proportion of babies born to California women 45 and older arrived prematurely and underweight.
Data Tracker is a regular feature that breaks down the numbers behind today’s news. Explore more trends at sacbee.com/datatracker.