Hollywood star Richard Gere is reportedly set to become a dad again at age 69. Gere’s wife, Alejandra Silva (35), confirmed the pregnancy via social media with a photo showing a blessing from none other than the Dalai Lama.
Is there an age that’s too old to become a parent?
With an older parent comes the inevitable questions: How will it impact the child when the parent passes away while they are still young? Is it unfair to make that connection knowing that the time you can spend with your child is likely to be short? Won’t they be exhausted trying to keep up with their kid?! It’s hard not to avoid the quick calculation and the realisation that Gere will be 74 when his child starts school.
Of course, there are no guarantees in life. A child can lose a parent at any time during their life, no matter how old they are. And a parent in their mid-twenties can have days when they are just exhausted too. Which matters more? The fact that you are an older parent, or the fact that you are a loving, nurturing parent giving your all for your child?
Just as there are no guarantees in life there are also numerous speedbumps in those best-laid plans. Relationships, health, careers, and finances, chop and change with the season and picking the moment you are ready to become a parent is never simple. And even when you have chosen pregnancy, it may not choose you.
Benefits of being an older parent
Birth rates among NZ women in their 20s have reduced by two-thirds since the 1960s. Whereas, for women in their 30s, the rate has increased slightly.
The reasons we are choosing to have children later are varied but there are reported benefits. Various studies have shown that children of older parents may be more healthy, show increased intelligence, and may have fewer social, emotional and behavioral issues. Older parents have the benefit of extensive life experience (oh if only I had known then what I know now!). They may also feel more financially stable and more comfortable in their career to take time out to raise a family.
The oldest parents
Reportedly, the oldest person in the world to become a dad was Ramjit Raghav, an Indian farmer who welcomed his second child when he was 96. Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara is the oldest person verified as becoming a mother. Maria gave birth to twins following IVF treatment at the age of 67.
Richard Gere has a few years yet before he matches screen legend Charlie Chaplin who was 73 when his youngest child was born.
Did you have an older parent or are you one yourself? Share your experiences in the comments below.
This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.
Read more on Kidspot:
- The impact of age on fertility
- Fertility treatments and the IVF process
- When’s the right time to start a family?