Older moms may have genes for longevity

A silver lining for some older moms: the genes that allow some women to naturally have children later in life also make it likely these women will live a longer life.

A study published Wednesday found that women who are able to have children after age 33–without using drugs or other infertility treatments–have a greater chance of living longer than women who had their last child before 30.

Halle Berry had her son at 47 years old.
Halle Berry had her son at 47 years old.

The results of the Boston University School of Medicine study are consistent with other findings on the relationship between maternal age at birth of last child and what researchers consider exceptional longevity–generally living until 95 or older.

“We think the same genes that allow a woman to naturally have a kid at an older age are the same genes that play a really important role in slowing down the rate of aging and decreasing the risk for age-related diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer,” said Thomas Perls, a professor who specializes in geriatrics at Boston University Medical Center, and a principal investigator of the study.

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