Daily Archives: June 12, 2009

Elizabeth & Carol

Elizabeth Munro gave birth at 66 by elective Caesarean section. She had IVF treatment at a clinic in the Ukraine. Elizabeth Munro is divorced, so it is unknown whether or not the baby will have a father figure. In early July, she will celebrate her 67th birthday. These two milestones will make her Britain’s oldest mother with her age exceeding the previous record-holder, Patricia Rashbrook, by four years.

She could not get IVF treatment in the UK from the NHS who have a cut off date of age 40, or privately since the cut off date is fifty. But for £10,000 she was able to buy IVF treatment in the Ukraine. She has no partner, no brothers or sisters and she will be 80 when her child becomes a teenager. Teen tantrums can be difficult enough to cope with for younger parents.

The oldest known woman to have given birth is Omkari Panwar, from India, who had a twin boy and girl last year. She was said to be 70. Her 77-year-old husband paid for the IVF, which the couple wanted to provide a male heir, by selling buffaloes and mortgaging his land.

Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara, from Spain, previously held the record after having twin boys at the age of 66 following IVF in America in 2006.

On BBC Radio 4 the other night a programme called the Moral Maze (a listen again facility is available for another five days) discussed this topic. 

The first witness was Carol, a single career woman of 72 who is seeking IVF with a donor egg and sperm. She doesn’t have a husband or network of support. She used the term ‘WANT’, not desire, love or need. A child of five will tell you what they ‘WANT’ from Santa and it is never what they need. She actually asked publicly on air for a donor!!

When asked what she saw as the principal duty of a parent Carol said it was to ‘Put the child first!’ I am sorry, willingly setting out to bring a child into the world from a donor egg and sperm at the age of 72 plus, is not PUTTING the child first. I ‘WANT’ cream cakes, I am not supposed to eat them, and if I do eat them only I suffer.

The success rate for IVF in a woman aged 60 and over is ·8% (point eight percent).

Many of us in Ireland have followed with interest the long haul that Xbox and ET had to become pregnant – they are a young couple. So many times they reached the wall of despair, but had each other to lean on for comfort and the support in facing yet another cycle of scans, blood tests and bearing all to strangers.

A young healthy woman of natural child-bearing years can find the nine months of pregnancy difficult, at times stressful and tiring. So what must it be like for an older body?

What I have written so far deals with the female side of the equation.

The male body is a horse of a different colour. Man is capable of producing sperm way into his seventies. They have the fun…. Point and shoot! No morning sickness, mood swings, swollen ankles, painful boobs that weigh a tonne or feeling like a beached whale for several months! If that is not easy enough, when all the deep breathing, pushing, sweating and squealing is done (by the good lady) they are off down the pub with their mates for beers to celebrate the new arrival. 🙄

Declaration time here:

I married a man old enough to be my father. We knowingly, willingly and lovingly conceived and brought Elly into this world. Jack was a very ‘hands on’ father playing a full part in her upbringing. They had a wonderful relationship that lasted until his death a few weeks before her 20th birthday. Elly can tell you about the teasing she faced about having a dad who was older than many of the grandparents of her class mates. She coped well. She may have teased her dad about the history that she was learning being current affairs when he was young, but whoa betide anyone at school who said anything disrespectful about her dad!

Jack had amazing energy and never looked or acted his age. We had each other on the stressful days, and I was half the age with double the energy I have now. I would not like, by natural means or any other, to start a family at the age I am now. Lifting, bending and keeping up with a crawling baby is bad enough without the thought of facing the terrible teens in ten or twelve years time.

What do you think?