Women who gave birth to their last child before the age of 35 are mostly to live to the ripe age of 70. This is possible because of an essential part of human cells which is responsible for aging – the length of telomeres.
Telomeres are cells that protect chromosomes during reproductive process to prevent DNA failure. The longer the telomeres, the more the longevity of a woman could be predicted. This is because it is associated with good health in a woman.
According to a new study at Columbia University Medical Centre, Professor Dr. Nicole Schupf stated that: ‘Several studies have found that late maternal age at last childbirth is positively associated with maternal longevity.
‘This finding suggests that late maternal age at last child birth is a marker for rate of ageing and, if heritable, might be associated with genetic variants playing a role in exceptional survival.
‘We hypothesised that factors associated with rate of ageing and longevity, such as telomere length, may also be associated with later maternal age at birth of last child.’
The new research collated data of 387 women over the age of 70 in the US and Denmark using factors related rate of ageing and late maternal at the birth of the last born.
Professor Schupf stated further: ‘Compared with women who had their last child by the age of 29, women with a later age at birth of their last child – 34 to 37 or over 38 – were found to have increased odds of being in the longest tertile of telomere length versus the shortest tertile of telomere length when adjusting for covariates.
‘The strength of the association with the longest telomere length increased as the maternal age at birth of last child became later in life.’
She concluded: ‘These findings suggest a potential genetic basis for the relationship between reproductive life-span, longevity, and an underlying mechanism related to biological ageing.’
The study promised to do more to know the interrelationship of when a woman stop child bearing with economic factors such as occupation, previous children, personal relationship and a special desire for male or female child.