She waited a while, but Janet Jackson is now pregnant age 49. And, naturally, the news has caused a stir on social media and elsewhere. “Janet Jackson pregnant? How is that possible at her age? Surrogate?” asked one person, while another wrote, “Like biologically, I don’t understand.”
Shahin Ghadir, a double-board certified doctor in obstetrics and gynecology, tells Us Weekly the “Dammn Baby” singer most likely used a donor egg, because the average age of menopause in the U.S. is 51. “The chance of pregnancy spontaneously or with IVF at the age of 49 using Janet’s own egg is less than 1 percent,” says Dr. Ghadir. “There is an extremely high probability that she froze her eggs at an earlier age or that she used an egg donor.”
While some Tweeters have expressed concern about Jackson’s child being born with birth defects, Dr. Ghadir explains that risks have to do with the age of the egg. “If it’s Janet’s own egg at the age of 49, she has a much higher chance of having a baby born with chromosomal abnormalities such as Downs Syndrome,” says the fertility specialist at Southern California Reproductive Center. “If she’s using an egg donor, the risks of having these chromosomal abnormalities is very low.”
Jackson is joining a special club of moms — some of them fellow celebs — in their late forties. Geena Davis gave birth to twins at age 48, Sophie B. Hawkins welcomed her daughter at 50, Halle Berry delivered her son at 47 and Kelly Preston gave birth to a boy at 48.
The fiercely private star secretly married billionaire businessman Wissam Al Mana in 2012, but didn’t confirm the union until 2013. The couple began dating in the summer of 2010.