Sadly, the world’s oldest mother died this past Saturday at age 69, leaving behind twin toddlers. She became the world’s oldest mother by using IVF at age 66.
According to news reports, she lied about her age to a California fertility clinic, claiming she was 55. (55 was the upper age limit at that clinic.) She argued later that her own mother lived until 101, and if she followed in her footsteps, she might even get to see grandchildren from her babies.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan, and Maria del Carmen Bousada died at age 69, just three years after giving birth to her twin boys. The babies have no father (they were conceived using a sperm donor), and it’s not clear who will raise them now.
Of course, the story is sad, and it’s unfortunate that the babies will not know their mother. For outside observers, though, the story stirs up the ethical question, “Should older women use IVF to have children?”
Should Bousada have been permitted to use IVF? Now, she lied about her age, so it’s difficult to point fingers at the fertility clinic that helped her get pregnant. But let’s say she had been 55, according to the clinic guidelines. Is that ethically ok?
We live in a politically correct society, with a touch of entitlement. To say a woman perhaps shouldn’t be allowed to have children after a certain age may be met with resistance.
After all, if technology can help her have a child, why can’t she have one? There are plenty of people in the world having children who have no business having kids for other reasons. Maybe a woman in her 50s or 60s is more mature and financially stable than a younger mom?
I think one of the main answers to that question is in this sad story – the reason is that all children deserve the chance to grow up with a mother or father in their lives. It’s true – sometimes, even young parents die suddenly. But the statistics are in their favor.
What do you think? Should IVF be limited by age? If yes, what would be the upper age limit? If not, why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. I want to hear from you!