Naomi Campbell welcomes child aged 53: What are the fertility options for older mums?

Yahoo UK explores the rise of the 'older mother' and conception choices available in the UK.

Watch: Naomi Campbell welcomes second child

Naomi Campbell has become a mother for the second time, joining a growing number of women joining the 40 and 50-plus parenting club.

In a post shared to Instagram, the 53-year-old supermodel announced the birth of her second baby, a boy, describing him as a "True Gift from God" adding that it is "never too late to become a mother."

Read more: Naomi Campbell, 53, welcomes second child, Sky news, 1-min read

Before welcoming her first child, a daughter, in May 2021, Campbell spoke of her desire to become a parent.

In 2014, she told designer Diane von Furstenberg she “definitely” wanted children, no matter what her relationship status would be in the future.

She later told ES Magazine: "I think about having children all the time. But now, with the way science is, I think I can do it when I want."

Naomi Campbell has revealed she has become a mother at teh age of 50, pictured in April 2021. (Getty Images)
Naomi Campbel revealed she has become a mother at the age of 50, pictured in April 2021. (Getty Images)

Campbell is certainly not the only celebrity to arrive late to the parenting party, and her baby announcement forms part of a growing trend for women choosing to have children later in life, whether naturally, via fertility treatment or by surrogacy.

Earlier this year Hilary Swank, 48, gave birth to twins - a son and a daughter - after revealing her pregnancy last year.

Back in 2018 actor Brigitte Nielsen announced that she had welcomed her fifth child, a daughter named Frida, at the age of 55, while Janet Jackson also gave birth to her first child, a son Eissa, at 50.

Meanwhile, Halle Berry, now 56, Iman, now 67, Geena Davis, now 67 and Laura Linney, now 59, were all in their mid-to-late 40s when they became mothers.

Read more: UK surrogacy costs and laws, as Chrissy Teigen and John Legend welcome fourth child, Yahoo Life UK, 6-min read

More mothers are giving birth in their 40s and 50s. (Getty Images)
More mothers are giving birth in their 40s and 50s. (Getty Images)

It’s not a trend exclusive to celebrities either. In 2017, Carolyne Ness gave birth to her son Javed, at 58, after being denied IVF treatment in the UK and travelling to India for the procedure.

And in 2016 a woman, thought to be one of the world’s oldest mother gave birth at the age of 70. With her 79-year-old husband, Daljinder Kaur welcomed a son into the world after two years of IVF treatment.

Back in the UK, Sharon Cutts, from Lincolnshire became Britain’s oldest mother of triplets when she gave birth to Mason, Ryan and Lily in March 2016, then aged 55.

It’s a trend that looks set to continue too. Data published by the Office for National Statistics showed the number of births to mothers aged 45 and over rose from 2286 in 2016 to 2339 in 2020.

The percentage of women having children aged between 40-44 has also risen from 3.9% in 2016 to 4.6% in 2021.

Fertility options for older mothers

In the past, women who’d reached their fifth and sixth decades may have assumed they’d left it too late to consider motherhood, but with the advancement of ever-improving fertility treatments, mid-life motherhood is becoming an increasingly viable possibility.

It's worth noting that the NHS does not offer IVF to women over the age of 42 because the chances of success are considered too low.

In some parts of the UK, like Hampshire, where funds are allocated elsewhere, this age cut off is as low as 35.

In terms of falling pregnant naturally, Fertility Family says after 37, fertility begins to reduce rapidly and at age 40, your chances of conceiving are just over 20%, dropping to around 5% at age 45.

In your 40s, chromosomal abnormalities are more common in the poorer quality eggs that your ovaries release and this means that the chance of your baby having birth defects – and also the chance of miscarriage – is greater.

Read more: Woman with polycystic ovary syndrome told she was likely infertile conceives triplets, Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read

There are some benefits to being an older mother including potential financial stability. (Getty Images)
There are some benefits to being an older mother including potential financial stability. (Getty Images)

But Kate Davies, fertility nurse consultant at Dr Fertility says an increase in women choosing to freeze their eggs at a younger age does present an opportunity for women to conceive later in life.

"However, as success rates with frozen eggs remain low, this risk needs to be carefully considered and understood," she adds.

Mr Cesar Diaz-Garcia, fertility specialist and surgeon at London Gynaecology says that in terms of fertility treatments that raise the chances of becoming an older mother, the game-changer is egg donation.

"Using donation eggs, the chances of having a baby are over 75% after the transfer of the first embryo, over 85% after the transfer of the second embryo and 96% after the transfer of the third embryo," he explains.

When IVF is performed using eggs that were harvested, Diaz-Garcia says the chances are the same as the chances at the age they were harvested.

"So, if you had eggs frozen at 38, the chances will be of a woman of that age," he adds. "If you use your own eggs the chances per cycle are very low - probably less than 5%."

Possible benefits of becoming a mother later in life

“On a positive note, there are many benefits to being an older mother," Davies explains. "The woman may be more financially stable, will have pursued her career and education and have a solid foundation of support around her to help in raising her much dreamed-of child”.