australia birth

A 63-Year-Old Australian Woman Gave Birth For The First Time, Fertility Experts Call Her ‘Irresponsible’

A 63-year-old Australian woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl on Monday, officially becoming the oldest woman in Australia to have given birth, MSN is reporting. However, not everybody in the fertility industry is impressed, calling her actions “irresponsible.”

The woman, whose name has not been released, gave birth via C-section at 34 weeks gestation. She had tried, with her 78-year-old partner, to get pregnant via in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Several attempts failed, but she was ultimately successful. The treatments were given “overseas” at an undisclosed location.

Both mother and baby are doing fine, and they will stay at a private Melbourne hospital until they are both ready to return home to Tasmania (an island off the southern coast of Australia).

Prior to this week, the oldest woman in Australia to have given birth had been 60. Officially, the oldest woman to have ever given birth is Romanian woman Adriana Iliescu, who gave birth at age 66, in 2005.

In Australia, more and more women past the traditional childbearing age are becoming moms, usually through fertility treatments such as IVF. The average age of women using their own eggs or embryos is 36, while the average age of women using donor eggs or embryos is 40.8 years. Meanwhile, the number of women over 40 seeking fertility treatment has tripled in the past ten years, even though only one woman in 100 will give birth to a live baby once she’s past the age of 44.

australia mother
In-vitro fertilization has made motherhood a possibility for women past their traditional childbearing years. [Image via Shutterstock/Christoph Burgstedt]

In Australia, where health care is subsidized by the government, some estimates suggest that the nation spends about $250 million annually on fertility treatments. Although there is no cut-off age at which Medicare, Australia’s national health care system, will no longer subsidize fertility treatments, some hospitals and clinics have instituted their own age limits.

Even though IVF and other fertility treatments have made motherhood a possibility for women who are older than the traditional childbearing years, not everyone who works with infertile couples is on board with the idea of letting aged women become moms.

Monash University professor Gab Kovacs, speaking to the Mercury, said he believes the natural age at which pregnancy should no longer be considered an option is 53; anyone older than that he calls “irresponsible.”

“I think getting people of that age pregnant is irresponsible. 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 60s. 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.”

Similarly, Dr. Michael Ganon, president of the Australian Medical Association, is similarly aghast that a 63-year-old woman has given birth — particularly at the expense of Australian taxpayers. In a series of scathing tweets, Dr. Ganon called the whole situation “madness.”

Dr. Ganon also expressed concern that Australian women are getting fertility treatments at “no rules” overseas IVF clinics, then bringing those children home — some of whom may be born with costly disabilities — to become the financial responsibility of the Australian public health care system.

Do you believe that, at 63, a woman is too old to become a mother?

[Image via Shutterstock/Happypix]

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