The prenancy of 'Rocky' actress Brigitte Nielsen at the age of 54 has a local fertility expert warning of the dangers of later pregnancies, but also stressing that the pregnancy shows the success of new egg and embryo freezing technology, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Its possible that it could be her egg or her embryo that was frozen much earlier in her life," says Dr. Matthew Retzloff of the Fertility Center of San Antonio.Nielsen says she underwent the egg freezing process when she was 45.
Dr. Retzloff says, for many reasons, including career, changing partners, delayed marriage, and women today living to an older, healthier age, the process of freezing eggs or complete embryos for future implantation is becoming more common.
He says there is no reason to believe that Nielsen, at 54 and already the mother of four children, cannot successfully carry the fetus and deliver a healthy child.
"Women actually have a great capacity to deliver into their sixties," he said. "The uterus is capable of carrying a child."
He says even though women are carrying children older, and are staying healthier longer, there has been no significant change the the age of menopause, which means artificial procedures are being called on more and more
."The average age of menopause in the United States is 51, but that really relates only to the ovaries. The uterus itself is actually separate from the ovarian hormone production, when that ceases at menopause."
But Dr. Retzloff says...don't try this at home!
He says the Fertility Center of San Antonio and other reputable fertility centers don't recommend IVF for women over the age of 50. He says while the uterus can successfully carry a fetus, there are vastly increased complications relating to an older mother, having to do with conditions ranging from gestational diabetes to high blood pressure.