Do magazines exaggerate fertility at advanced reproductive age?


Credit: (c) 2019 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, May 28, 2019–A new study has shown that popular magazines commonly feature older pregnant celebrities on their covers with no mention of the risks of advanced maternal age pregnancy or the advanced reproductive technologies and methods needed to achieve these pregnancies. By downplaying fertility decline with advancing age, these magazines likely contribute to women’s belief that they can safely put off pregnancy until later ages. The study is published in Journal of Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Click here to read the full-text article on the Journal of Women’s Health website through June 28, 2019.

“Age is Just a Number’: How Celebrity-Driven Magazines Misrepresent Fertility at Advanced Reproductive Ages” was coauthored by Stephanie Willson, MD, New York University School of Medicine and New York Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medical Center, Allison Perelman, New York University School of Medicine, and Kara Goldman, MD, New York University Langone Fertility Center and Northwestern University Fertility and Reproductive Medicine

The researchers examined 416 magazine issues aimed at reproductive-aged women and found that fertility was highlighted on one-third of the covers, which included the mention of 240 different celebrities. More than half were of advanced maternal age (AMA), but there were only two mentions of pregnancy risks associated with (AMA). A third of the AMA pregnancies were among celebrities aged 40 or older, yet in the accompanying articles there was little or no discussion of the need for advanced interventions to achieve pregnancy, such as in vitro fertilization and the need for donor gametes.

“It’s easy to get drawn in by the cover of a popular magazine featuring a happily pregnant celebrity in her late 30s or early 40s and to think that fertility is the norm at that stage in a woman’s reproductive life,” says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women’s Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women’s Health. “Often left unsaid though are the costly and extraordinary measures, assisted reproductive technologies, and risks associated with these later-in-life pregnancies.”


About the Journal

Journal of Women’s Health, published monthly, is a core multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the diseases and conditions that hold greater risk for or are more prevalent among women, as well as diseases that present differently in women. Led by Editor-in-Chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women’s Health, the Journal covers the latest advances and clinical applications of new diagnostic procedures and therapeutic protocols for the prevention and management of women’s healthcare issues. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Journal of Women’s Health website. Journal of Women’s Health is the official journal of the Academy of Women’s Health and the Society for Women’s Health Research.

About the Academy

Academy of Women’s Health is an interdisciplinary, international association of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who work across the broad field of women’s health, providing its members with up-to-date advances and options in clinical care that will enable the best outcomes for their women patients. The Academy’s focus includes the dissemination of translational research and evidence-based practices for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of women across the lifespan.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including LGBT Health, Transgender Health, Population Health Management, and Breastfeeding Medicine. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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