Research Topic

Sexual and Reproductive Health After 40

About this Research Topic

The sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of adolescents and young adults is a major focus of research in diverse fields such as medicine, public health, and sociology. Adolescent years signal the transition to adulthood along with sexual debut, childbearing and related health, social, and economic outcomes. However, there has been much less attention dedicated to the SRH of adults at the end of their reproductive years, particularly over the age of 40, and this dearth of research is a type of disparity and inequality. The period 45-49 years of age has traditionally been viewed as the end of childbearing and is associated with an increase in health risks, although increasingly both social changes and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are prolonging women's reproductive years. Moreover, ageing is not synonymous with decline in sexuality, and interest in intimacy and pleasure continues throughout the life-course.
Sexual activity and sexuality do not cease after childbearing regardless of age, and there are ageing-related SRH concerns that do manifest and develop in the older age groups.

Research is therefore needed to understand:
(i) SRH issues associated with midlife and older men and women, and their access to SRH services;
(ii) medical and technological advancements to address ageing-related SRH issues;
(iii) how sexuality and SRH manifests across gender, race, and diverse groups;
(iiii) social and behavioral factors associated with sexual and reproductive health at older ages;
(iv) the various social and ethical issues that might arise as demographic patterns and preferences with regard to reproductive change.

With the median age women give birth to their first child rising to 30 years in most developed countries, women are spending their 40s and 50s bearing and rearing young children. Research is needed to better understand:
(v) the new social and technological options available for creating families, particularly at older ages (including conception with donor gametes, surrogacy, and egg freezing);
(vi) how improvement in medical and technological interventions has reduced the risk factors associated with reproduction at advanced maternal age (pregnancy after the age of 35 years);
(vii) empirical evidence on the extent these risks have a linear relationship with age accounting for various factors, and,
(vi) to understand the social, cultural, and ethical implications of pregnancy and childbearing at advanced maternal age.

A wide range of articles are welcomed, including Original Research, Systematic Reviews, Literature, Reviews, Case Reports, and Opinion pieces. Multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary articles are welcomed, with topics including SRH services for older adults aged 40 years and above; sexual and partnership intentions, aspirations and behaviors; medical interventions related to SRH for adults aged 40 years and above; assisted reproduction; demographic changes, including later parenthood and childlessness; social, environmental, and cultural factors, and implications of sexual and reproductive health at older ages.

We welcome insights from SRH in in both men and women, and couples.

Please note that Frontiers also offers a Fee Support Program, available to any authors seeking financial support. If you would like any further information about this, please get in touch with the Editorial Office at reproductivehealth@frontiersin.org.


Keywords: sexual and reproductive health, sexuality, ageing, sexual health, assisted reproduction, older motherhood


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of adolescents and young adults is a major focus of research in diverse fields such as medicine, public health, and sociology. Adolescent years signal the transition to adulthood along with sexual debut, childbearing and related health, social, and economic outcomes. However, there has been much less attention dedicated to the SRH of adults at the end of their reproductive years, particularly over the age of 40, and this dearth of research is a type of disparity and inequality. The period 45-49 years of age has traditionally been viewed as the end of childbearing and is associated with an increase in health risks, although increasingly both social changes and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are prolonging women's reproductive years. Moreover, ageing is not synonymous with decline in sexuality, and interest in intimacy and pleasure continues throughout the life-course.
Sexual activity and sexuality do not cease after childbearing regardless of age, and there are ageing-related SRH concerns that do manifest and develop in the older age groups.

Research is therefore needed to understand:
(i) SRH issues associated with midlife and older men and women, and their access to SRH services;
(ii) medical and technological advancements to address ageing-related SRH issues;
(iii) how sexuality and SRH manifests across gender, race, and diverse groups;
(iiii) social and behavioral factors associated with sexual and reproductive health at older ages;
(iv) the various social and ethical issues that might arise as demographic patterns and preferences with regard to reproductive change.

With the median age women give birth to their first child rising to 30 years in most developed countries, women are spending their 40s and 50s bearing and rearing young children. Research is needed to better understand:
(v) the new social and technological options available for creating families, particularly at older ages (including conception with donor gametes, surrogacy, and egg freezing);
(vi) how improvement in medical and technological interventions has reduced the risk factors associated with reproduction at advanced maternal age (pregnancy after the age of 35 years);
(vii) empirical evidence on the extent these risks have a linear relationship with age accounting for various factors, and,
(vi) to understand the social, cultural, and ethical implications of pregnancy and childbearing at advanced maternal age.

A wide range of articles are welcomed, including Original Research, Systematic Reviews, Literature, Reviews, Case Reports, and Opinion pieces. Multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary articles are welcomed, with topics including SRH services for older adults aged 40 years and above; sexual and partnership intentions, aspirations and behaviors; medical interventions related to SRH for adults aged 40 years and above; assisted reproduction; demographic changes, including later parenthood and childlessness; social, environmental, and cultural factors, and implications of sexual and reproductive health at older ages.

We welcome insights from SRH in in both men and women, and couples.

Please note that Frontiers also offers a Fee Support Program, available to any authors seeking financial support. If you would like any further information about this, please get in touch with the Editorial Office at reproductivehealth@frontiersin.org.


Keywords: sexual and reproductive health, sexuality, ageing, sexual health, assisted reproduction, older motherhood


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

23 January 2022 Abstract
15 July 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

23 January 2022 Abstract
15 July 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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