SOUND OFF: 53 And Pregnant! How Old Is Too Old?

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Whether it’s a demanding career or the struggle to find Mr. Right, more women are postponing motherhood. Advancements in medicine have made it easier than ever to have children at 40 — even 50.

But pregnancy later in life is not without controversy.

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At 56-years-old, Sara Jean Grainson is busy raising three boys all under the age of five.

“I think I’m a natural mom. I just love being a mom,” Grainson told CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson.

Grainson also has three adult children from her first marriage, but she wanted a family with her second husband, David, who is only 42.

“The more I saw him with the older kids, the more my heart ached for him to be a dad and for me to be a mom with him,” Grainson said.

Using in vitro fertilization and an egg donor, she got pregnant twice, giving birth to her son, Luke, when she was 51 and then twins two years ago.

“There’s a double standard. How come men start sometimes at 70? But if a woman does it it’s ‘ew, what are you thinking? How you going to raise them?'” she said.

Grainson is part of a growing trend — women over 40 having children. Incredible advances in medicine are allowing motherhood to happen later and later, even after menopause.

Tara Sammartino didn’t start that late but at 41 just had her first child, Nicholas. She and her husband were both married before.

“He’s our little prince. He’s our angel and I’m just ecstatic to be a mom,” Sammartino said.

Michelle Mongey waited until she was 46 to have her daughter, Grace.

“She is just perfect — in every way. She has spunk, she’s smart, she’s healthy and a joy,” Mongey said.

Both Sammartino and Mongey needed fertility treatments to get pregnant. Fertility expert Dr. Thomas Molinaro said that’s not unusual for women over 40.

“It’s a difficult process to conceive at an older age. While we can do it, but it does require a lot more work,” Molinaro said.

Older pregnant women face more potential complications like diabetes, high blood pressure and premature delivery.

High-risk pregnancy specialist Dr. Victor Klein requires his patients to undergo extensive physical and psychological testing before infertility treatment.

“I didn’t know anything at 23. At 50, I knew exactly what the baby needed. I’m thrilled where we are in our lives right now,” Grainson said.

“I know that I’m old-er, but I’m so glad I waited because we did it the right way for us,” Mongey said.

More from Kristine Johnson
  • Moor Aqua


  • kathyk

    Speaking as a child of “older Parents’, I have to say it made my life very difficult! My father retired when I was 4 years old, and my mother was a stay at home Mom. I was pulled out of school on a whim- vacations were the norm at our home at least 6 a year- my Mother talked to my teachers and I took homework along. Everyone thought my parents were actually my grandparents, and I was called an orphan- kids can be pretty mean!!
    I bured my father at 20, and spent the next few years wondering when it was my mothers turn to go. Thankfully she did live to be 88. My father never knew most of his grandchildren, and sadly they didn’t get to meet the most wonderfdul man I have ever known. My mother was not the patient Mom you would expect an older mother to be- our house was like a museum, very clean, orderly and quiet. We didn’t have dinners at home, christmas was always on the road going somewhere so I could be with my cousins somewhere far away. I never learned how to do dishes, make a bed or do the laundry, I was in the way, and it was easier to pay someone to do it all, or for my Mom to arrange things while I was away at school.
    My aunts, uncles and parrents were all dead by the time I was 45. So here I am, wanting to pick up the phone and call my Mom or Dad- instead I look at old pictures, hold my moms brush to look at her hair- yes, I am thankful I am alive- but having a child at 50 comes with a pretty high cost to that child.

    • Mel

      That could have happened whether your parents were older or not. My Dad died when I was 16 and my mom died when I was 18. They were average age parents. I am thankful for my life that they gave me and my relationships with them and with other people.

      None of knows how long we have on this earth. None of us.

      • katkal

        I totally understand where you are coming from, disease, war carwrecks etc are not choices! Pregnancy usually is especially if it is IVF or other method. My parents were married over 20 years before I was born, Mom could not seem to carry to term- I was quite a suprise to them.
        I was simply sharing another point of view, my mother was NOT able to keep up with me as a very active child, not saying that every 50 year old mom is the same though. I was ashamed when my parents showed up for school functions and the teachers asked why my grandparents came on parents day. There is no judgment on my part – I just want people to know that when the child is 10, and mum is in her 60’s and dad is usually older it does have an affect on the children, Not to mention thte huge age gap, my Mum couldn’t even help me with my schoolwork as so many things had changed (style of math, metric system- etc, sure spelling was the same, but writing an APA paper she had never even heard of- and my gosh when we had to read Uncle Toms Cabin, and A Catcher In The Rye- she was livid!!) Just something to consider before rushing off to the clinic to get pregnant when your 1/2 a hundred!
        I am sorry for your loss, it must have been heartbreaking. Our lives are a gift, and I am thankful my parents had me, I am also very glad that I had my children while I was younger- we could shop for the same style clothing, enjoy make up when the girls got older, and I could play sports with my sons- somethings I never got to do with my parents!

        • Mel

          I can only imagine your parents joy when you arrived.

          How we are raised and by who really does shape us. I appreciate your perspective.

          Peace to you!

  • Older-Wiser

    I had 2 children before I was 20. I would not have done it any other way. At age 70, I have 2 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. One of my sons elected not to have any kids at all. Of course, 50 yrs ago, people were expected to grow up faster than they are today.

    Why is it taking almost an entire lifetime to mature these days? Mature enough to have children they will take care of responsibly?

  • Holly

    it absolutely stuns me that anyone has the audacity to comment about how another chooses to live their life provided it is not harmful to another. How dare anyone pass judgment. My husband and I didn’t meet until we were “older” and didn’t marry until we were well into our 40s. We tried for years to conceive “naturally” with no success. 4 years, a kabillion (hard-earned) dollars and a small miracle of modern science later we gave birth. I was 48. I am now almost 50 and I can’t wait to transfer the two embryos I have on ice to give my daughter a sibling. Shame on anyone who tells me they don’t think i should.

    • Rochelle

      I respect your choice.

      I also hope your family does not have a history of breast or ovarian cancer. One thing that is often omitted or downplayed by the fertility specialists is how the hormone treatments increase your risk for these cancers. If you’re low risk to begin with, no harm, no foul, but if you’re higher risk, you may not get to see your children grow up.

      I wish you all the best and hope you’re not part of the growing statistic for these cancers.

  • KIA

    You people should be ashamed! So what if there in there 40’s or 50’s, its their desire for kids not yours. What right do you have to judge? Also, this thing about being dead before the kids grow up. Can you younger parents guarantee that you will be here tomorrow? Suppose something happen and you died, what happens to your children then? Oh! let me guess, grandparents raises them, or they get put with someone who maybe does not want to raise more kids. The list go’s on. We sit here and judge people when we have no right too. These women know, not you of what they are capable of. They are prepared, and the decision is theirs, and the doctor’s who help them. Life has no time limit, you can die now, or tomorrow at anytime! I rather see women like these have the kids then turn on my computer and hear about all the children abused, and murder, or left alone by younger parents. I get so sick when my kids get home from school to tell me how another teen is pregnant! Leave these women alone, sounds like jealousy to me. I’m a mom of six, and I’m 38 years old, and I’ve been married to the same man for 21years, and no I did not get married because I was pregnant.{my oldest is 18} I lost 5 to get the 6 I got and you would not believe the rudeness, and unkind words I received for having my kids. They did not ask why I miscarried, they only judged me like you people are judging these women. If you don’t agree, then don’t leave a commit. Ask yourself what the right you have to judge, and then ask what you would do if you was in their position. If your answer is I’m to old I would not do it, then great, that’s your opinion, but keep it to yourself or try this: {I would not do it, but if its what you want, go for it, and I wish you the best} Trying to make someone feel bad for something you think is wrong, that is selfish and cruel. We each have a brain, and its different for a reason. Some people are stronger than others, some people are smarter than others, what you can’t do or won’t do does not mean we should feel the same! I wish you and any other women out there the best!

  • Susan

    Marilyn has a lot to say about people she doesn’t know & she doesn’t know a damn thing about the whole process. She should be more informed before she makes comments or she should actually talk to women who has given birth at an older age such as myself. The world would be missing out on two great individuals if I didn’t have them. God wanted them to be born so he provided the method. Get yourself a life.

  • marilynn

    These women are giving birth to their stepchildren. Has it occurred to any of the people making comments that these babies have been abandoned by their mothers for money?
    The agreements women sign when they give up their eggs require more of them than just giving up their eggs…they also have to give up the right to raise their own offspring. They give up the right to custody and visitation with their children. They have to agree to cooperate by giving up their child for adoption should the law require it in order for the intended mother to be legally recognized as having parental rights. Remember the gestational carrier may be the intended mother or a hired surrogate and in some jurisdictions the mother may be required to give her child up for adoption. Women that provide eggs must also keep the agency informed of any changes in their health. The terms of these agreements to provide eggs have terms that the provider must perform that span from the birth of their children 18 years into the future.

    People gush about how wanted these babies are and how wonderful it is that these women can give birth when they are nearing the end of life. If they could have their own children, being pregnant at that age would be fine but they are sacrificing half of everyone that child is related to in order to satisfy their own vain desire to experience pregnancy and what it would be like if they were mothers.

    Having offspring does not make people good parents but it does make them parents and anytime a child is separated from his or her parents it is tragic. If a person is raising a child that is not their offspring it means they have permission from the child’s actual parents to play that roll of parent for them. From the child’s perspective they were not good enough for their own mothers to keep or even acknowledge.

    • np

      An unfertilized egg is not a child. Donating an egg and giving a child up for adoption are two seperate worlds. Your rationality would mean that everytime a woman had a menstrual cycle and did not become pregnant meant a death of a child? Your statement is invalid. Most women who donate eggs have children of their own and provide oppurtunities for other women. The reason to keep a agency informed about health changes is to provide protection to a child. More power to these loving families who are capable of raising beautiful children.

  • arlo

    The woman has some psych problems! She stated ” I wanted”…. thats the problem. The woman is miserable with her life and thinks this will make her feel “happy”. She is clearly nuts! Just my 2 cents. Take it or leave it! :)

    • Millie

      …whats wrong with “wanting” children?
      Were you NOT “…wanted” as a cub?

    • np

      How do you know this “woman” is miserable with her life and has some psych problems? Some pretty big assumptions from clearly an uneducated person. Each family situation is different. She obviously capable of raising healthy children. Asinine off the cuff comments like this are useless. Keep your 2 cents and maybe you can get that psych degree that you obviously want.

  • annie

    “Nature” is what allowed these women to have children. It came from the natural intelligence of the human mind the same way we figured out how to fly.Should we stop flying planes and driving cars because nature didn’t provide them? This is pure sexism and desire for control over women’s bodies that provokes the comments that they are too old. And CBS is feeding into that with this article. Half the men in Hollywood are disgusting old perverts of 70 married to their daughters, with little kids and everyone celebrates that.

  • Robert Fox Sr

    My daughter,Anne Pontillo, of Park Ridge, N.J., gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, at the age of 57.Everyone is in perfect health.

  • DanTe

    If tax dollars are not paying for it, who is anybody to say anything except the mother giving birth?

    • Johnna

      …and if tax dollars ARE?

  • Roe

    I agree with Cookie. 53 is too old. If her younger husband want children he should have married someone in their early 30’s.

    • Mel

      perhaps if he married someone different, someone younger… he would have missed marrying his one true love…

  • Cookie

    I think 53 is too old to be having babies. Fertility specialist should really look at the reasons to start treatment. This woman already had children and wanted more with her younger husband. I think she wanted to keep her husband happy. At the age of 70 when you should be thinking about retiring you will have to think about college education costs. Medicare is not going to cover your kids.

  • Gail M. Lynch

    I am 46 and think I am too old to have kids. With the population out of whack and the possibility of having a child with dissabiilities, 53 is too old. It’s noIt about “you”, it is about having a child that can be the best citizen then they can be. and to thrive on thier own and who can be a productive citizen. It’s not about “I can do whatever I want, because I can”. It’s more about” Just because you can, does not mean you should”.

  • Lisa

    I am 41 with two kids under 4. We were told we had very little chance of conceiving without medical assistance. Our first was a TOTAL surprise after we decided we’d try IVF. Maybe we won’t be around when they are 50, but we could also die tomorrow. But we love them, we are doing the best we can to raise them to be polite, well-behaved and independent. I certainly wouldn’t have another, and I may not see my grandkids get old. But there was no way I was ready for kids at 22. Young parents may be young but I’ve seen a lot who are STUPID and endanger their kids.

    • David

      The voice of experience…well said.

  • Susan

    I had my boys, 4 and 21 months, at 49 and 51. I had better pregnancies than most people. I am not selfish, have a lot to give. Most people are surprised when they find out how old I am, I look no where near it and have more energy that alot of women my age. My husband is also younger than me. People shouldn’t judge us and make nasty comments. They’re the ones who put their foot in their mouth when they call me grandma and are embarrassed when I tell them they’re mine. I have two beautiful, intelligent, and happy boys who love their parents. They are going to make an impression in this world. Yes, I may not see my grandchildren, but I am making sure that they are close with their aunts, uncles, and cousins so they will not be alone if something should happen to us.

  • Nell

    When you have a child at any age make sure you consider the needs of the child above yourself. To many people are having children for the wrong reason.

  • hamlet

    I would think that it’s no one’s business.

  • Chris

    I feel that an older Mom is exllent, for one you tend to be more patient, you aren’t juggling a million things like when you are young, you have more experience, not chsaing a career or dream and cannot spend much time with the kids because after work you probably have classes or other commitment. In my opinion, as long as your health permits it it’s a great time to be a mother.

  • Shiane

    Our son is now 14, and a freshman in high school, my oldest child is almost 40. He was born (naturally) when I was just two months shy of my 46th birthday. The decision to have another child at that age should be up to the couple. Men can father a child at any age and no one raises an eyebrow. Our son is a blessing. Having children later in life keeps you younger in your perspective on life and you naturally stay more active to keep up with your child. If anyone remembers, there was a study reported in 1997 that many of the women who lived to be a 100 or older had children later in life. God willing, I fully expect to be around to enjoy my son’s chidren just as I am enjoying my other 7 grandchildren..

    • KPMc

      “Men can father a child at any age and no one raises an eyebrow. ”

      That’s because nature didn’t take away their ability to procreate at 40, 50 or 60.

      When you need IVF it’s no longer “natural”

      I’m not passing judgement but the article and posters say “Men can have kids at an older age and no one raises an eyebrow” but neither explains WHY.

      • Shiane

        When I said “naturally” I meant that we did not use IVF or anything else. My ability to procreate was still working. God must have wonderful plans for our son.

  • Moor Aqua

    Such ugly comments!! Young people arent doing a great job!Lets see how many babies the OLD people throw in the garbage and kill.SMH Young people should be the ones donating there usless eggs to and OLD person.Older women have been having babies for years this didnt just start.So give it a break.

  • young grandma

    How many kids are lucky enough to have grandparents who are able to raise them when their parents can’t or won’t? Today’s “older” parents may well live to see their grandchildren when they are in their 80s or older. Many a 40 or 50 year old is a better role model than a teen or otherwise too-immature parent.

  • Stacy

    I think they should have focused on woman 45 and older for this story. I got pregant at 40 with no problems and am looking forward to having a new brother for my 3 year old daughter.

    • Cookie

      I think you are right. Fertility specialist should only consider treating woman up to 42. Also, conceiving after 40 can bring complications. Your pregnancy turned out well. However, many do not

  • June

    It is now possible for old men and women to have babies. It is not fair for these children to probably lose their parents and never share their babies with them. It is selfish for old people to want a child for 10 or 20 years. Get a pet. At that age, grandchildren are what you should enjoy. Adopt an older child, like 15 years old. Really.

    • Mel

      As I said earlier. None of us knows how long we have on this earth. My young parents died when I was 16 and 18.

      My friend Maria, 26 years old, died of colon cancer 7 months after her 2nd child was born.

      I lost my 40 year old husband to pancreatic cancer while I was pregnant with our first and only child when I was 33. He was diagnosed 2 days after our positive pregnancy test and died 2 weeks before our son’s due date.

      How many children are left without a parent because of war of earthquake? Does anyone judge a soldier for procreating during wartime? I would hope not. Does anyone judge a person with a family history of heart disease or cancer for procreating? What about Lance Armstrong? His cancer could come back at any time – should we judge him for having had children?

      I’m just saying, each of our lives is a gift… however we got here…

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