Babies born to mothers over 35 outnumbered babies born to mothers in their teens and 20s for the first time last year, Statistics Korea said early this week.


The average age at first childbirth has risen to 32.4, and 107,031 or 26.4 percent of mothers were over 35, whereas 106,036 or 26.1 percent were in their teens and 20s.


In affluent areas the pattern is even more pronounced. Of 103 babies born at Severance Hospital last month, 40 percent were from mothers over 35 and only 17 babies from mothers in their teens and 20s.


Kwon Ja-young at Severance Hospital said, "Women are not only getting married later these days, but many are also divorcing and having children after remarrying, so we are seeing a continued rise in the ages of expecting mothers."

Pregnant women stretch at a community health center in Seoul on Oct. 28.

In 2006, women over 35 accounted for only one out of eight childbirths or 11.8 percent, but last year one out of 3.8. The proportion of childbirths by women in their teens and 20s fell apace from 46.2 percent a decade ago.


Also, 51,445 babies born last year had fathers over 40, accounting for one out of eight and up 2.9 times from 20 years ago. The trend is attributed to an increasing number of late marriages and divorcees remarrying.


Twins accounted for four percent or 15,734 of all babies born last year, compared to just 2.4 percent in 2006 due to the rise of fertility treatments. The government has been offering financial support for fertility treatment since 2006. The number of triplets also rose from 186 in 2010 to 369 last year.

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