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Late Mothers Live Longer

May 04, 2009
Women, who gave birth at older age, are more likely to live longer, a new study says. Late female fertility was linked to longevity not only for women themselves, but for their relatives as well.

The study conducted at the University of Utah analyzed the data of 1.6 million Utah Mormon pioneers and their offspring from the Utah Population Database. The researchers studied the data on 11,604 Utah men, who were born between 1800 and 1869, having one or more sisters, who lived no less than to age 50; and the data on 6,206 Quebec men who lived between 1670 and 1750, having minimum one sister who lived to 50 or older.

Researchers examined the data on pioneers to find the link between fertility and longevity because women did not use modern birth control at that time.

The study showed that women, who gave birth after 45 or later, had 14 to 17 percent less chances to die after age 50, if compared to women who had not children after age 40. Also men, who had sisters, who gave birth after age 45 or later, were less likely to die after age 50 if compared to men without sisters, who had late fertility. The men's wives did not have increased lifespan, meaning that genetic factor may be linked to late female fertility and longevity in the family.

Ken R. Smith, the leading author of the study at the University of Utah said that the fact of having a female relative in a family, who gave birth at older age naturally, may indicate that a person will live longer.

Earlier, several studies showed that women with later start of menopause are more likely to reproduce and live longer. Scientists explain that the same gene might be responsible for longer fertility and longevity and the chances of living longer increase if women in a family gave birth at older age.

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