Age at Pregnancy (birth control)

In the past, few women beyond their middle forties have given birth to children, although a small minority have become pregnant at still later dates. There are several undocumented claims of women in their seventies having children, but historians have been reluctant to accept such cases, if only because those that have been investigated in any detail have not turned out to be true. Usually it was a case of a mother or grandmother claiming as her own the child born out of wedlock to a daughter or granddaughter. Still, some cases of older women becoming pregnant have turned out to be true. The best documented is Ruth Alice Taylor Shephard Kistler (1899-1982), whose daughter Suzan was born in Glendale, California, on October 18, 1956, when Kistler was 57 years and 129 days old.

Kistler gave birth before fertility drugs were available but since that time other women given fertility drugs have had children at increasingly older ages. This was the case with Arceli Keh, who delivered a baby in late 1996 at age sixty-three. Hers, however, was an assisted pregnancy. She did not conceive naturally but was implanted with another woman’s fertilized egg. Such pregnancies could not have taken place in the past and even with fertility drugs are rare.

It is also possible for girls at very young ages to become pregnant. Several births have been reported and verified to girls under ten, and perhaps as young as five.

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