Fertility After Fifty?

   By drodriguez  Jul 23, 2009

Controversy within the fertility treatment communtiy is erupting after recent news hit that the world’s oldest new mother, Maria del Carmen Bousada, has passed away just 3 years after giving birth to her twin boys.  Bousada was 66 years old when she gave birth to the twins in Spain after lying about her age (saying she was 55) in order to undergo in vitro fertilization.  Her death and subsequent motherless toddlers that she left behind has struck a chord with the media leaving many to question how old is too old to have a baby and whether fertility clinics should have stricter guidelines when conducting in vitro fertilization.

CNN recently reported about a survey conducted a couple of months ago by Babycenter.com that revealed 7 out of 10 moms wanted stricter laws for IVF treatments to be put in place.  Also, half of the respondents felt it was bad for the children if a parent conceived after 45. 

As it stands today, fertility clinics are not mandated to turn someone away just because of their age.  Each case is reviewed individually by fertility specialists, taking into account the woman’s health and background rather than age alone.  Dr. John Jain, physician at the Santa Monica Fertility Clinic, explains how times have changed for women trying to conceive later in life.  He told CNN, "The 40 and 45 year old of today is not the 40 year old of the past; the 50-year old is not the same of the past.  They’re eating healthy.  A woman who is 45 is barely halfway through her life."

Georgia Dardick, who conceived her child with the help of fertility specialists at the age of 51, has felt the guilt from her decision in the past but explains, "The word selfish has come into my mind.  But for any parent, having a child is selfish.  No matter what your age is, once you have that child, you owe that child everything.  I live the best, healthiest life I can."

Do you think there should be stricter laws placed on fertility clinics when treating older women who want to conceive?

Should there be an age limit placed on fertiltiy treatments or should each case be reviewed individually?

Make a Comment

Turtleks by Turtleks | Derby, KS
Jul 24, 2009

I think that something needs to be done about this and unnatrually conceived multiples ( six or more at a time) This cheats both the children and the parents. These kids deserve a pair of parents who can participate fully in their lives. What child does not look forward to "Mom" being there to guide them and enjoy all the mile stones in their life and these do not stop at age five. God meant for us to stop conceiving naturaly for a reason. At 66 no matter how healthy, you are you may or may not see them grown with you still being of sound body and mind (more likely not). These children will be forced to become the caregiver at an age that they should be free to enjoy a child and teenagers life. married at 18) This caused her much anxiety. Please think of the children not yourself. While the desire to give birth to your own, There are plenty of older kids who need that love and will not suffer from your age.

jsyang by jsyang | Cleveland, OH
Jul 23, 2009

Even is she is a healthy woman at the age of 66, there are just certain stages of our life we can't change. How did she even lie about her age? It shouldn't be that difficult to verify someone's age. It's not fair to the children, because she may not be able to keep up with them and I really can't imagine having a mother that is 66 years older than me, that is about the age of my grandmother right now.

Britnev by Britnev | Clearwater, FL
Jul 23, 2009

I cannot understand why any women of that age would want a young baby, let alone two, anyway. I agree with a previous comment that IVF is a moneymaker. I know someone, much younger than this mom, who has gone through this a couple of times and the amount of money she has spent is unbelievable. I do not think age alone should be the barrier. There needs to be a clear set of guidelines dictating who qualifies for this treatment. Much how many other procedures are done. The Dr in question should be held slightly more responsible, even though she lied, for not performing more follow up. Completing an application should not be the single requirement.

weepingwillow256 by weepingwillow256 | ash grove, MO
Jul 23, 2009

I would agree that the laws should be stricter, parents may live longer now, but that does not mean they are healthier, having a mother that is alive is good, but having one that is fully capable of playing with you in the park or keeping up with your busy schedule is even better. How much does the child of an elderly woman miss out on because of her mother's age? Not to mention the health risks, I have heard that 1 in 4 babies born to a woman over 40 has either downsyndrome or autisim, why take those risks when there are so many children right here in our own country in need of a loving home? (Foster Care), I Know that women want there own children, but biological differences shouldn't mean so much If you truly want to share your life with a child. Having a baby shouldn't be about what the mother wants, but about what is best for the child.

emac79 by emac79 | Saint Louis, MO
Jul 23, 2009

Although I agree that at a certain point women should no longer have children, I believe stricter laws will never be put in place as it is a question of ageism. You can not turn someone away for a job because of age. Following that line of thought - being a mom is a job, and therefore you cannot turn someone down for that because of age. If laws on age are put in place, then it opens a whole can of worms for religion, race and income. (but, again, I think women should not have children past 40 unless done naturally - our bodies will tell us when it is time to stop). And, IVF is a moneymaker for many doctors because it does not always work and women have to come back multiple times for treatments (often not covered by insurance). I have a hard time believing docs would ok a law that would cost them some money( at least some docs, I am sure there are plenty out there who agree that 55 is too old and wouldn't perform the treatment).

CrystalBurgard by CrystalBurgard | N TONAWANDA, NY
Jul 23, 2009

I couldnt agree more! I feel it is very irresponsible for someone of that age to bring a child into the world, especially when using a fertility clinic to do it! A womans body shuts down at a certain point in life for a reason. And I dont know where this article gets this " a woman who is 45 is barely halfway through her life" stuff from - are they kidding? I look at the obituaries in my local paper every day and alot of them arent people in their 70's and 80's but women in their 40's and 50's who have died from cancer and heart diseases, etc. Forget the kid - go to the SPCA and adopt your new "baby" there - at least the emotional stress and possible financial burden is less with an animal then it is with a human child when the parent dies

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Jul 23, 2009

Yes, I think there should be some sort of cut off for age for fertility clinics. It's just not fair to a child to have an elderly parent. I am almost 50 and I cannot imagine becoming a parent now!