Entertainment Celebrity Brigitte Nielsen defies odds with pregnancy at 54 despite ‘almost zero’ chance

Brigitte Nielsen defies odds with pregnancy at 54 despite ‘almost zero’ chance

Brigitte Nielsen pregnant at 54
Brigitte Nielsen is is one of the growing number of A-listers giving birth from their mid-40s. Photo: Getty
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At age 54, Danish-Italian actress and model Brigitte Nielsen has announced she is pregnant with her fifth child.

Though Nielsen is yet to confirm if she has used a donor egg, experts say the chance of conception using a woman’s own eggs from 50 onwards is virtually zero.

“Women at 40 are producing one egg a year that can make a baby,” fertility specialist Dr David Knight told The New Daily. “By the time they reach 45 it may be one egg every three years.”

According to the Fertility Society of Australia, the quality of a woman’s eggs reduces in the 10 years leading up to menopause. This makes it very rare to conceive and increases the chance of miscarriage.

“When we look at a lot of these celebrities they are clearly using donor eggs, whether they say so or not,” Dr Knight, the medical director of Sydney-based clinic Demeter Fertility and founder of the Over 40s Program, said.

The Beverly Hills Cop II star, who is married to 39-year-old Italian TV producer and model Mattia Dessi, shared the baby news on Monday in an Instagram photo where she is seen proudly showing off her growing bump.

family getting larger ❤️ #me #family #brigittenielsen #babybump

A post shared by Brigitte Nielsen (@realbrigittenielsen) on

On Wednesday, Nielsen posted another bump pic to her 110,000 Instagram followers, with the caption, “Happy time positive vibes”

happy time ❤️ positive vibes #happyness #positivevibes

A post shared by Brigitte Nielsen (@realbrigittenielsen) on

Already mother to four sons, the leggy blonde known by nicknames ‘Amazon’ and ‘Great Dane’ has made no secret of her baby plans with husband number five, Dessi.

In an interview with Hello! Magazine in 2008, she commented: “After I do Playboy, we want to try IVF. It’s asking a lot, but if it’s possible, it would make our package complete.”

Nielsen, who was famously married to Rocky co-star Sylvester Stallone, joins the growing number of A-listers who are giving birth in their mid-40s and later.

Janet Jackson gave birth to a boy at 50, Geena Davis had twins at 48, Halle Berry had a baby at 47, and Susan Sarandon had her third child at 45.

In April, actress Rachel Weisz, 48, and James Bond actor Daniel Craig, 50, announced they are expecting their first child together.

The average age of Australian mothers is 30-34. However, advances in fertility treatments have made it easier for women over 40 to conceive.

Latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show that women aged 40 years or older made up almost one-quarter of IVF treatments (using their own eggs) in 2010, compared with one in five in 2006.

In 2010, the average age of women receiving treatment using their own eggs was 36 years, and the average age for women using donated eggs was 40.9 years.

However, there are risks involved. According to the same data, only one in 100 women 45 or older will deliver a live baby. Complications include gestational diabetes, placenta abnormalities and stillbirth.

According to the Fertility Coalition, the risk of stillbirth is more than doubled in women over 35, and five times more likely in women aged 40 years, compared with a woman under 35.

In 2016, there were 424 births to women aged 45 years. At age 49 or over, there were only 127 births, according to ABS data.

Though there is currently no age-limit for IVF in Australia, Dr Knight said that some clinics have “unwritten” guidelines for women over a certain age.

“The routine advice from a fertility specialist to women 50 or over is that they do not go ahead with fertility treatment.”

He said society’s attitudes toward older mothers have changed dramatically since the ’80s. However, fertility specialists and women must also consider other factors beyond health risk, such as psychological wellbeing and the cost of treatment, when assessing each case.

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