H

er tour might be called Unstoppable, but Janet Jackson has decided to put it on hold. That’s because the pop star is pregnant just weeks before her 50th birthday, according to the celebrity news site Entertainment Tonight.

That will make hers a rare quinquagenarian pregnancy. But she’s one of a growing number of older new mothers in the United States — a trend that’s bolstered by changing societal norms and new advances in fertility treatments.

Here are three things to know about pregnancy post-50.

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1. Pregnancies after 50 are rare, but they do happen

The number of births to women of this age has jumped significantly: 743 women aged 50-54 gave birth in 2014, up from 255 in that age group a dozen years earlier, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it’s still exceptionally rare: only 1 in 10,000 births in the US are to women Jackson’s age.

There’s an overall trend toward older motherhood in the US. A growing share of these are first-time births, reflecting the fact that women, like Jackson, are waiting longer to start families.

Among celebs, Jackson is probably the most noteworthy post-50 mom, though many stars — including Geena Davis, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Halle Berry — have had children in their late 40s. But Indian villager Rajo Devi wins the prize: She was 70 when she had her first child. As Jackson herself has put it, “Dammmn, baby.”

2. It’s probably a donated egg

“It’s exceptionally rare for patients to get pregnant naturally at 50 or over 45. They make history,” said Dr. David Keefe, an obstetrician-gynecologist and fertility researcher at New York University.

In part that’s because around age 50, many women are entering menopause, after which egg harvesting isn’t possible.

And as eggs age they also accumulate more genetic glitches. The mechanism is not completely understood, but it may be because eggs have shorter telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of our chromosomes.

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Once the egg’s DNA has accumulated damage it can’t repair, then its division as an embryo goes haywire, with chromosomes sticking together when they should come apart. “The resulting embryo may end up with too many or too few chromosomes,” said Dr. Kutluk Oktay, a fertility doctor and researcher at the New York Medical College. “The majority of those end up in miscarriages.”

So older would-be mothers often use eggs donated by younger, more fertile women. For younger women seeking pregnancy, donor eggs might only be discussed after they’ve tried other kinds of fertility treatments, but for those over 45, “that’s kind of where they start,” said Alicia Abdella, an infertility social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital.

3. It’s the age of the egg rather than the age of the womb

According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, “the single most important factor in predicting the success of [in vitro fertilization embryo transfer] is the age of the female partner.”

The organization has said that the likelihood of pregnancy using young donor eggs in an older mother are comparable to those of young women using their own eggs.

Still, advancing age may make gestational surrogates an attractive alternative, since older women do face increased health risks with pregnancy, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature birth. Cost can be one of the biggest barriers to gestational surrogacy, but for people for whom money is no object, it is an option.

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  • I’m Rose from Malaysia 47 years old this coming september.How i wanted to pregnant again if it’s possibble.Anybody can help me

  • I’m Josephine maravillas from Philippines 49 years old this coming July how I wanted to experience pregnancy but it’s to late am older already it’s possible please tell me

    • My Daughter gave birth in late January to her 3rd son, she is 46 yrs old all was done naturally

  • The album/tour is titled “Unbreakable”…How am I supposed to believe anything written in this article if you cannot even fact check the title of the album in the very first sentence of the post?
    Good for Janet Jackson finally getting her own family. Despite all the blacklisting in the US since the Super Bowl incident, she’s given a lot to her fans, and it’s great to see her create her little bubble of happiness. This pregnancy really just shows how far medicine has evolved. Wouldn’t have been any less significant to adopt, but good for her for experiencing the pregnancy herself.
    Good luck to any woman out there trying to get pregnant, regardless of your age!

  • I have always wanted to experience pregnancy, but know I am too old now. I wish it were possible to carry a baby for a couple, using their egg and sperm. I would do it in a heartbeat.

    • I’m similar, but see a lot of advantages to being single with no kids. If you are close to anyone raising kids, sometimes there’s a lot to be thankful for. However, I know what you mean…sometimes it just seems like a huge experience to miss needlessly. I’m about ready to retire and chill, so even though I wished I’d had kids…i wished i’d had them in my 20’s or 30’s. Since i don’t have Janet’s money to afford all the comforts, I’m not hardly having no babies at 49. But you might want to contact this dude, dr.ighodalocuringhome@gmail.com. The ladies below say he casts spells that work. Forreal

  • Hello Viewers,
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  • Hello My name is Kate, Am from USA, Texas. and I am very happy for posting on this blog on how a great spell caster helped me in bringing back the love of my life and given me a child. I know there are lots of women like me out there who have done so much to have back their Husband and also need a child, I am here to tell you all to search no further because the answer is right here. I sincerely believe if there are up to five spell casters like Dr Ann this world would be a better place, I have seen people complaining on how fake spell castes promised to help them but couldn’t but with Dr Ann I tell you your problem is solved already. My Husband and I had been apart for 4 YEARS just because I counldn’t gave him a child and I couldn’t bear without living without him, I have tried everything to have him back but nothing was working until I saw numerous testimonies about a spell caster called Dr Ann and how great her work is. I contacted her via email (annperry229@gmail.com) immediately

  • she’ll use an egg from a white young woman and her husband’s sperm and then like her brother; claim it is her child. That child will be no part of a Jackson.

    • What make a woman a mother is her ability to love and nuture without reservation, especially, a child that is not their blood. I am admire her for wanting to give continuity to her family. I payer that she has a safe delivery and have long life to raise this kid.

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