On another blog-site, an economist is actually suggesting that because births to older mothers are a great deal more expensive to the NHS then a tax will have to be imposed on middle-aged women who have unprotected sex. The relevant figures for late births are that since 2006 more than 110,000 babies have been born to mothers in their late 30s — four times the level since the 1970s. For women in their 40s, births have been above 29,000 for four years in a row — five times the level since the 1970s.
I cannot think that this is a serious suggestion but it’s certainly a logical one/ But does the economist concerned have any idea at all who these women are? Well, I’ll tell him. They are the highly intelligent (and thus highly impressionable) career women who have paid too much attention to the eructations of extreme women’s libbers while in their twenties and now regret not having had children when they were more able to.
As to the rest of the population (85%) of this country — and many other European countries and, more lately, America — their fertility rate is still declining because, simply, they can’t afford to have the two requisite children to replenish the population.
Back to the middle-aged bloomers, their children will be of slightly less overall health quality than the average (deterioration of sperm and eggs) — nothing too serious — but as for intellectual ability and motivation in their subsequent careers, they will more than make up for the increased NHS costs when born. Once the prosperous part of the population has rectified itself then mothers will resort to more youthful deliveries. It’s a catch-up phenomenon.