There’s a lot of stigma surrounding motherhood, particularly the older a woman is when she decides to begin that journey. It’s a sad reality given the growing number of women worldwide who have chosen to put education and careers before starting a family.
This is why it’s always intriguing to hear of out-of-the-norm scenarios where a woman gets to be a mother much older than one would deem healthy, acceptable, or even plausible, for that matter.
Last year, an unidentified woman, aged 62, welcomed a baby girl via C-section at a hospital in Melbourne, Australia, along with her 78-year-old partner. This makes her the current record holder for Australia’s oldest first-time mother. The mother will remain in hospital until they are well enough to return to Tasmania.
Her age was originally reported as 63 at the time of giving birth to her daughter, but the hospital released a statement confirming she was 62.
The Australian woman had been actively trying to get pregnant, but after several failed IVF procedures, she and her partner opted for an embryo from an overseas donor. Their baby was born at 34 weeks.
In 2010, an Australian woman gave birth at the age of 60, making her Australia’s oldest mother. In 2005, Adriana Iliescu, a Romanian, became the world’s oldest mother, having had her first child at the age of 66.
News of the recent birth sparked plenty of controversy, with experts claiming it’s irresponsible to offer IVF treatment to women older than 53. IVF expert Gab Kovacs said: “That child will need looking after for 20 years, and there’s a possibility she won’t be able to do that. Our bodies weren’t designed to have children in our 60’s. I don’t think any responsible IVF unit in Australia would treat someone of that age, and it’s not a standard of medicine I would condone.”
According to Kovacs, pregnancy is hard on a woman’s body, and children need parents who are able to keep up with them. “People will go away with the idea that at 63 you can have a baby. This is sending the wrong message to women that you can have a baby at any age.”
Older first-time mothers have a different opinion, however. After shocking the world with the announcement of the birth of her IVF baby on January 16, 2005, when she was 66 years and 230 days old, Iliescu said: “I don’t smoke and I don’t drink. If I live as long as my parents did, Eliza will be 20 by the time I pass away. I think I still have a lot to give her.”
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