Too old to become a parent?

Hollywood star Richard Gere became a dad at age 69 after his wife, Alejandra Silva (35 at the time) gave birth to a baby boy in early 2019. Now at age 70 reports suggest that he is to become a father again.

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.

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  1. dawnblyth 30/09/2018 at 10:08 pm

    Neither myself nor my parents were older parents however I have friends who have older parents and this has never been an issue. They were always there for their children and supported them throughout everything. I think age is just a number and its how you deal with it that makes it an issue or not. Enjoy life and love and being a parent no matter what age 🙂

  2. Alezandra 30/09/2018 at 9:42 pm

    Age shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to deciding to have kids. I guess it only becomes a factor if you are unable to parent especially if you’re too old like 96? unless the other parent is younger? It’s a matter of responsibility too. We all need to be responsible when we decide to have kids coz we hold this young person’s life in our hands.

  3. SarahBlair 28/09/2018 at 11:51 pm

    Im not sure that there is an ideal age for being a parent, I became a mum for the first time at 17 and for the last time at 36, (and 4 other times in between) the ages came with benefits and drawbacks. Richard Gere’s wife is 35 so she should be fine with raising a baby! Im in my 40s now and taking my two youngest to kindy and primary school and have never been mistaken for their grandmother…

  4. kymmage 27/09/2018 at 8:40 pm

    I don’t like to judge as it’s not my family. What works for one family isn’t going to work for me and vice versa. I do feel for kids who lose their parents at a young age though. I have a few friends who lost parents when they were still at school and it wasn’t an easy road for them. That said, 40 does seem to be the new 30. Lots of people my age and older are starting or finishing their families off with a baby at the moment. It takes a while to establish careers after finishing at Uni, and getting some travel in.

  5. Bevik1971 26/09/2018 at 11:06 am

    I was 41 when we had our now 5 year old daughter 🙂 I would LOVE to have another even at nearly 47 years. I think it’s about your physical and mental health as to whether you could have children later in life. There are a lot of people who think it’s unfair on the child as their parents will pass when they are younger etc and I can understand that. I do think that 60’s is a little old to be having children however

  6. MuddledUpMolly 25/09/2018 at 8:31 pm

    This is an interesting topic and normally I am not one to judge but I once had a kindergarten student who had a Dad that was 80+. It made me sad for her to think it was highly unlikely much of her life would be spent with her Dad who could have easily been her Great-Grandad 🙁

  7. Shelz69 22/09/2018 at 6:06 pm

    It is an interesting one, I myself wish I had my children younger so I could have more energy and more time with them on this earth but I would like the knowledge of what I know now lol. However like the article says you never know when your time is up.

  8. Shorrty4life1 22/09/2018 at 4:38 pm

    Wowee 69. Yet I thought parents in their 40s doing drop off was bad enough lol 😂. I mean it’s got to be embarrassing being asked if you’re nana or grandma when you’re the child’s mum. I’ve heard this quite often lately. Also have heard it’s quite risky if you give birth later in life.

  9. Mands1980 18/09/2018 at 1:27 pm

    This is an interesting topic I would think the older you are as a parent it would be more difficult but like this article says the mum is 35 and he is 69 so the mum will mainly look after the baby. It actually happens more than we hear about one parent being older I would be more concerned if both were older and having a child if anything happened then they may not have any parents to be in there life as we get older you can gets more illness and struggle more. I think 67 is too old to have children like the lady who had twins imagine how hard that would be and through ivf as well it seems crazy to wants kids that age but that’s just my opinion.

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