HOUSTON — Nicole Hsieh and her husband were together for about ten years when they decided it was time to grow their family.

She had an almost-textbook pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby boy named Beckett.

At 39, Hsieh was considered to be of “advanced maternal age,” but she certainly didn’t feel that way.

“I feel healthier in my 30s than I did in my 20s,” says Hsieh.

Dr. Diana Racusin, a fetal medicine specialist with UT Physicians, says Hsieh represents the majority of women looking to have a baby later in life.

She says there are real, cumulative risks that increase after the age of 35. 

“Our risk for genetic conditions goes up. Egg quality goes down. Fertility goes down. The risk for pregnancy-related conditions, like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia increase,” says Dr. Racusin.

Celebrities having babies later in life, make headlines: Halle Berry had her second child at the age of 46. Bridgette Nielsen delivered her 5th child at the age of 54. 

But Dr. Racusin cautions that this is not normal.

“The reason they’re on TV is because it’s not common. If it’s something that happened all the time, it wouldn’t be newsworthy,” said Dr. Racusin. 

She urges women who are interested in starting a family to speak directly with their doctor and be honest of their life plans.

“I can never tell someone when the right time in their life is to have a child - that is so dependent on so many different things,” said Dr. Racusin, who urges the conversation needs to happen.

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