Fertility in middle age linked with anti-ageing

From New Scientist:

The very few women who have children after the age of 45 may be capable of doing so because anti-ageing mechanisms are more active in their bodies. Neri Laufer’s team at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem recruited eight women who had given birth naturally after the age of 45. “They are an extremely unique group of patients,” he says. “They are very successful breeders.”

His team compared levels of gene expression in the women’s blood from with levels in six mothers of the same age who had chosen not to have any more children after 30. They found differences in 716 genes.

Intriguingly, many of the genes that were more active in the fertile over-45s are involved in repairing DNA damage and preventing cell death. That would help counteract the effects of ageing, especially ageing of the ovaries, Laufer told a meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday. His team also plans to look at whether the women live longer, too.

More here.