domenica 12 novembre 2006

Madri a cinquant’anni

Un interessante articolo su Slate (Tim Harford, «My Boss Is 65 and Pregnant», 11 novembre 2006) porta alle logiche conseguenze alcune tendenze in atto nel campo della riproduzione (forse sarebbe stato opportuno citare le nuove possibilità aperte dal congelamento degli ovociti, ma fa niente).

The revelation by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine that women in their 50s can cope with the stresses of parenthood as well – or as badly – as anyone else has again raised the prospect that the experience of women such as Dr. Patricia Rashbrook, who this year became the oldest new mother in Britain at the age of 62, will become increasingly common. That seems unlikely for now. Treatments are expensive, unreliable, and imperfect: Both Dr. Rashbrook and Adriana Iliescu, said at age 66 to be the world’s oldest woman to give birth, needed donated eggs.
Still, with time, who knows? And the effects may be more far-reaching than we imagine […]
Doctors warn that later pregnancies are riskier, but University of Virginia economist Amalia Miller has proved that earlier pregnancies are risky, too – to women’s careers. Professor Miller showed that women who delay having children for only one year earn 10 percent more over the course of their lives than those who don’t delay.
Cause and effect seem unclear, because a woman might delay pregnancy to earn more money for some third reason, such as ambition. But Miller solves that problem by looking at women who, because of miscarriages or accidental pregnancies, do not have children when they would have chosen to have them. (Last year, Steven Landsburg wrote about Miller’s study in Slate.)
Women may have already overtaken men at American schools and universities, but perhaps they will not do so in the boardroom until they can reliably delay pregnancy into their 50s and 60s. Then employers might start to dismiss as remote the risk that a valued employee will take time off to have a family. Indeed, having one might become something you do once you’ve made it to the top and retired.
Perhaps this is nothing more than science fiction, but if my daughters become part of this future revolution, they can forget about leaving their kids with grandpa.
Nella parte centrale, che non ho riportato per motivi di spazio, Harford ricapitola alcune delle conseguenze sociali più importanti dell’introduzione della pillola contraccettiva.

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