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Four theories on when you’re too old to have a baby

The age of first motherhood in the United States is rising, according to available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And as women are having kids later, an abundance of research aimed at documenting the facts about fertility is there to terrify, console and perplex them.

Much of the data on what aging means for making babies is anything but hard and fast; studies contradict studies; anecdotal evidence refutes other anecdotal evidence. It's a trend that Jean Twenge noted in a recent piece for the Atlantic in which she tried to answer the question "How long can you wait to have a baby?"

But as Twenge discovered through her reporting, available research is limited and outdated, despite what an avalanche of magazine features say: "While the data on natural fertility among modern women are proliferating, they are still sparse. Collectively, the three modern studies [on fertility] included only about 400 women 35 or older, and they might not be representative of all such women trying to conceive."

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