How Celebrities Mislead Women About Getting Pregnant in Your 40s

Women are starting families later in life more than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the average age of a woman during childbirth in 2016 was between 30 and 34. This is up from the early 2000s when the average age of a first-time mother was 24.9.

Pregnancies occurring after 35 are taking place at “advanced maternal age” and come with increased complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and birth defects. There’s also an increased difficulty getting pregnant after the age of 35 due to a decrease in viable eggs.

So, why is it that celebrity women seem to be getting pregnant with ease in their 40s and 50s?

A study published in October by New York University School of Medicine challenges that celebrity magazines misrepresent fertility at advanced reproductive ages, thus misleading the public about how difficult it is to conceive after 40.

This study looked at magazines such as Us Weekly, Cosmopolitan, and People dating back four years, to find that of the 240 celebrities featured in pregnancy-related stores, only two clearly stated using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Seven of the celebrities featured were over the age of 44 and did not mention using ART. This information is extremely misleading, due to the fact that by the age of 40, a woman’s chance of conceiving without fertility treatment drops from 90 percent in her early 20s to 40 percent, with 90 percent of eggs being chromosomally abnormal, making miscarriage more likely.

The conclusion of this study was that magazines that do not show the challenges of pregnancies occurring at advanced maternal age lead women to have unrealistic expectations of conceiving later in life.

For non-celebrity women looking to start a family in their late 30s or 40s, it’s possible, but you may need some help. RMAPA offers leading assisted reproductive technologies (ART), with an IVF success rate of 34.1% above the national average. For patients who have reached advanced maternal age, IVF with donor egg may be necessary to achieve pregnancy.

To learn more about how RMAPA can help you start building your family, contact us today!


Dr. Schillings is a board certified reproductive endocrinologist, obstetrician and gynecologist. She leads all aspects of patient care at RMAPA. In addition, she formerly led the medical team at RE & I Specialist with the Lehigh Valley Physician Group. Dr. Schillings is chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Lehigh Valley Hospital Health Network and Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn State College of Medicine.