Families with parents of Advanced Parental Age (APA) are becoming more and more common; a trend that has raised serious concerns for several reasons. APA is typically advised against as it is assumed that older parents will not be able to fulfil their parental duties. Older parenthood is associated with medical complications for the mother and for the child and an increase in the use of medical assistance to conceive. While more and more data are gathered on factors that contribute to the increase in parental age at first birth, little research is done on how society reacts (and should react) to this trend and how lay people think about it. We want to examine how age is used as a factor in decisions and moral reasoning about reproduction in two contexts: natural conception and reproductive medicine. Through semi-structured interviews with stakeholders (i.e., parents, children, professionals), this project aims to increase insight into how and why people decide to have children later in life and to what extent moral views and principles play a role in this decision and in their attitudes to responsible parenthood. Given the fact that every society has an elaborate set of rules and theories on family building and reproduction, it is important to explore whether personal views of lay people match this set and if not, in which direction changes should be made.
This is a research project in collaboration with the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel (Switzerland).