Reproductive longevity and increased life expectancy

Reproductive longevity and increased life expectancy – Statistical Data Included

Jacob A. Brody

Background: female life expectancy in developed countries has increased by 30 years in the twentieth century. Aim: to determine if there has been an increase in reproductive longevity. Methods: we analysed age-specific fertility data from birth statistics for the USA, Canada, Japan, France, Sweden, the UK and Australia. Results: since 1940, birth rates for women aged 35 and over have declined. Among women aged 50 years and older, there has been no increase in births. Fertility rates in 1990 were 0.0 to 0.044 per 1000 women, with total numbers ranging from 0 to 60 births. Conclusion: the fertile years have not been prolonged in the cohort of women whose life expectancy has increased so dramatically this century. This suggests that reproductive senescence is tightly controlled and not extended by factors that enhance female longevity. Other physiological mechanisms may also be fixed within narrow age limits.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Oxford University Press

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group