More and more women over 40 are giving birth

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Published 12 January 2022 at 07.01

Domestic. An increasing proportion of women over the age of 40 in Sweden and Denmark give birth to children. Among Swedish women in the age group, abortions are also clearly increasing.

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The new study examines reproductive patterns in women over 40 over a ten-year period, 2008–2018, in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

This is a so-called cross-sectional study that builds on registry data on all women aged 40 to 49 in the three countries – a total of 1.5 million individuals.

The results show an increase in the proportion of women aged 40-44 who have taken prescriptions for hormone-based contraceptives, usually IUDs . In Denmark, the proportion increased from 24 to 31 percent of women, in Sweden from 27 to 30 percent and in Norway from 22 to 24.

At the same time, childbirth increased continuously in the group of 40-44-year-olds in Denmark and Sweden. Denmark went from 9.5 to 12 births per thousand women and year and Sweden from 11.7 to 14.3. Norway was stable at about 11 births per thousand women and year during the ten-year period.

The proportion of women aged 40-49 who underwent assisted reproduction doubled during the period studied. In Denmark the proportion increased from 0.71 to 1.71 per thousand women and year, in Sweden from 0.43 to 0.81 and in Norway from 0.25 to 0.53.

Assisted conception trades most often about insemination where sperm is handled outside the body, or in vitro fertilization, IVF, where both sperm and eggs are handled outside the body.

Regarding abortions in the group of women 40-49 years, Sweden had the largest increase during the ten-year period, from 7.7 to 8.1 abortions per thousand women and year.