There are plenty of benefits to being a young mom – tons of energy, fewer issues getting pregnant, more time with grandparents – but a new study revealed one more reason you shouldn't delay plans to start a family. And it's a deeply upsetting one for those who've waited later in life to have kids.
A new study suggests that children born to older women are more likely to have a shorter lifespan. The research, published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, comes from 200 years of demographic data on a large group of Swedish citizens and compared those born to mothers younger and older than the median age of 31. The results showed that a mother's age at birth was one of the most significant "non-external factors" affecting how long a person lived.
According to the study's author, Dr. Martin Wilding, children inherit from their mothers a crucial cellular component called mitochondria, which generates energy that individual cells need to function.
As a woman ages, the mitochondria that exists in her egg cells age as well and get more damaged over time. These defects to the mitochondrial DNA are passed, as is, on to children, which can mean they will have increased chances of being less healthy and thus more likely to get sick.
The ray of hope for those older parents: this isn't the only factor that affects lifespan. Genetics and the environment certainly have an expansive role, so fostering a healthy lifestyle can potentially add years to one's life. And although the results of the study about mitochondria are clear, it hasn't been proven experimentally just yet.