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Is 50 too old to have a baby?

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Tina Malone and her baby. Picture: Website screenshot

London - Almost three-quarters of people do not think women should receive IVF to help them conceive beyond their natural childbearing years, a poll has found.

A quarter believe women should stop trying to bring babies into the world past the age of 40 while 43 should be the cut-off for men.

The survey of more than 2 000 people across the UK found 31 percent think the current age limit of 42 for IVF on the NHS is too old.

About 26 percent said they thought 40 should be the maximum age limit for either NHS or private treatment.

Meanwhile, almost three-quarters (72 percent) said science not should intervene to help women become pregnant beyond their natural childbearing years.

The poll was released to mark the screening of the TLC documentary Tina Malone: Pregnant At 50.

The Shameless actress travelled to Cyprus for IVF treatment and conceived her daughter, Flame, with donor eggs, giving birth aged 50.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said they thought children born to women aged 50 to 55 were negatively affected by having an older mother. This figure rose to 73 percent of over-50s surveyed.

About 52 percent said women who are 50 cannot be a good parent for a child through to adulthood.

When asked about men aged 50 and over having children, 43 percent said the same.

Malone, now aged 51, had her first child aged 17.

She said: “People might consider me over the hill and too old to be a mom but physically, emotionally, mentally and financially I am much better off now, as a mom at 50, than I was as a mom at 17 when nobody criticised me for having a baby.

“I have more stamina and energy than most 27-year-olds, and all the time to give to my baby. Of course there has to be a cut-off, but if you are fit and healthy and financially secure, then you should be allowed to have a child at 50.”

Today's survey also revealed people's main concerns when it comes to older mothers.

About 72 percent said the main worry for mothers over 40 was their health during pregnancy and birth, while 68 percent said the impact on young children when their parent dies is also a concern.

Meanwhile, 62 percent said the health of the child owing to having an older mother was an issue.

When asked what was the ideal age for women to have their first baby, 27 was the most popular age.

Susanna Dinnage, managing director of Discovery Networks UK, said: “The findings reveal that most people believe 40 should be the cut-off for parenthood.

“However, juxtaposed against this public view, Tina gives a very moving and compelling account of one woman's personal decision to have a child at 50, three decades after she had her first child.” - Daily Mail

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