Rachel Weisz is pregnant at 48 and people are confused

Elise Solé

Rachel Weisz, 48, is expecting her first baby with husband Daniel Craig, 50, and people can’t get over her “advanced age.”

The actress shared the news Friday during an interview with the New York Times, saying, “I’ll be showing soon.”

“Daniel and I are so happy. We’re going to have a little human. We can’t wait to meet him or her. It’s all such a mystery.” The couple have children from previous relationships - Rachel's 11-year-old son Henry and Daniel's 25-year-old daughter.

The couple are expecting their first child together. Photo: Getty

Welcoming a baby into the world is a joyous occasion, but many people on social media have criticised Rachel and Daniel for having a child at their ages.

"Talk about irresponsible," one person said on Facebook, while another wrote on Twitter, "That is dangerous for both."

Fortunately, many others sent their heartfelt congratulations and said the pregnancy actually gave them hope for their own futures.

“It is absolutely possible for a 48-year-old woman to get pregnant naturally - it’s just very unlikely,” Zev Williams, M.D. associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Columbia University Medical Center, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“In fact, women over the age of 40 have high rates of unintended pregnancies due to taking fewer precautions on the belief that pregnancy isn’t possible.”

Generally speaking, a woman’s chance of conceiving drops around age 42 and 43. “It’s not that fertility disappears at a certain age, but rather the decline is a gradual process,” says Zev.

“For a 28-year-old woman, about 25 percent of her embryos are chromosomally abnormal and for a 44-year-old woman, that number rises to 90 percent.”

He adds, “A 20-week-old fetus has its peak number of eggs.”

Given a 45-year-old woman has less than a one percent chance of getting pregnant using her own eggs, it’s possible that Rachel had fertility assistance — in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process that involves extracting eggs and sperm from a couple (or from donors), combining them in a laboratory, and then transferring them to the uterus.
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She also could have frozen her eggs years prior, then thawed, fertilised, and transferred them to her uterus. “In that case, a 48-year-old woman could use her 30-year-old eggs to conceive,” says Zev.

The pair already have one child each from previous relationships. Photo: Getty

Still, pregnancy is challenging on a 48-year-old body, so however she got there, Rachel is considered “high-risk” and more likely to develop conditions such as preeclampsia, which according to the Mayo Clinic is marked by high blood pressure and organ damage, gestational diabetes, and conceiving a child with genetic disorders such as Down syndrome.

And although Daniel is 50, his age is less relevant due to the fact that men can produce healthy sperm throughout most of their lives, says Zev. “It only takes sperm about three months to mature.”