Experts warn against delays in giving birth
The fertility of both men and women is declining due to having children at an older age, environmental pollution, disease, working conditions and food safety.
Preserving fertility and dealing with problems such as a low birth rate and increased congenital deformities are the top concerns of local maternal experts discussed at the Oriental Congress on Obstetrics and Gynecology in the city on Friday.
The best age for women to have children is between 23 and 28 years old, however studies have found that the average age for Chinese couples having a pre-pregnancy check is 29 years old while 10 percent of women had their first baby after the age of 35.
Having children at an older age is related to economic and social development, experts said.
“The older age to have a baby, the higher the chance of congenital deformity,” said Dr Xu Congjian, president of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Hospital of Fudan University and director of the Shanghai Human Fertility Preservation Center.
“The risk of a child suffering from Down’s syndrome is one in every 2,000 if the pregnant woman is 25 years old. It increases to one in every 1,000 at the age of 30, 1 in every 300 at 35, one in every 50 at 40 and 1 in every 25 at 45. There are also increased risks of delivery and other complications.”
Experts said couples should plan to have children at an appropriate time for the health of both children and their mothers.
For young cancer patients, experts suggest they keep eggs or ovary tissue to preserve their fertility for a chance to have children after recovering from the disease.
Xu said the fertility preservation center had helped dozens of cancer patients to freeze parts of ovary tissue.
“These ovary tissues can be transplanted back to the patients under proper conditions and help them have their own children in the future,” he said.