In this first post in Battling Infertility, I’d like to kick off the discussion about parental age and reproduction by giving you a list of some of the oldest mothers in the world, courtesy of advances in reproductive medicine.
India is famous when it comes to IVF and it is therefore no wonder that the oldest first-time mom ever lives there. Rajo Devi Lohan was 70 years old when she delivered Little Naveen a few months ago. The baby girl was conceived using her 77-year father’s sperms and a bought anonymous donor’s eggs. Unlike many countries, India does not put a maximum limit to maternal age when it comes to IVF. In fact, according to this Guardian UK report, there is no single law governing fertility treatments in the country.
In 2008, another 70-year old woman in India gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. However, Omkari Panwar and her 76-year husband already had two grown up daughters and 5 grandchildren. Their decision to have an IVF comes from the need to have a male offspring as heir to their farm. It seems that their gamble had paid off.
Unlike many women in West who had had IVF where expenses are of no consequence, these two women and their family had to give up a lot financially to undergo fertility treatments. According to the doctor at the fertility clinic where Lohan had her IVF procedure:
“The social stigma of childlessness is very terrible in India. We have had cases of people feeling suicidal about it. Age is not the issue; it is whether the mother is tough enough physically and mentally…moral questions about rights and wrongs do not delay us.”
Before Lohan, Maria del Carmen Bousada of Spain held the world record as oldest first time mother. In 2003, Bousada gave birth to twin boys just before she turned 67. Bousada has never been married and spent long years taking care of her mother until she died at the age of 101. After her mother’s death, she decided to sell her home to finance an IVF procedure. Using donor eggs and sperms, Bousada had an IVF procedure in California. However, since the US has a maximum age limit for maternal age, she supposedly lied about her age and told the fertility clinic she was 55 at the time of the procedure. Unfortunately, Bousada died less than 3 years after her delivery when her children were just 31 months old (source: CNN).
Britain’s oldest mom is Elizabeth Adeney, age 66. Adeney is a well-off businesswoman and a divorcee. She gave birth to a baby boy last May. She supposedly had her IVF treatments outside the UK to circumvent the maximum maternal age limit and the shortage of donated eggs. Although Adeney has the means to purchase eggs, purchase is not allowed in Britain.
What do you think? Should women still have children beyond the age of 65? What about men?