In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Monday, May 25, 2009

Let the Age Debate Begin

Elizabeth Adeney has put a whole other spin on the phrase, "Advanced Maternal Age." With the assistance of in vitro fertilization (IVF), the 66 year-old woman will soon be Britain's oldest mother.

Most clinics in Britain--and the United States--don't offer IVF to women older than 50. Adeney became a "fertility tourist," flying to the Ukraine, where there is no age limit on IVF.

People around the world--including Adeney's ex-husband--are weighing in on her decision to get pregnant at 66. Some believe getting pregnant is a personal choice, determined by how old you feel. Others think she is selfish or crazy or both, doing the mental math to calculate how old Adeney will be when her baby hits the teen years. (85)

As mentioned in my book, Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Pregnancy Over 35, pregnancies for older women have increased risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, preterm labor and low birth-weight babies.

Who's to say whether Adeney was right or wrong to pursue motherhood in her late 60s? Reality is--just about everyone will have an opinion (including me)but the deed is done. While I can't imagine becoming a first-time mom at 66, Adeney obviously can.

Do I think 66 is the best age to have a baby? Honestly, no. Pregnancy at any age is risky--at Adeney's age I would say it was ridiculously so. And motherhood is a demanding business. I don't care how young you feel, a newborn quickly makes you realize just how old you are. Yes, my caboose kiddo brought me great joy--but I never forgot that I was 41 when she arrived. People often said, "She'll keep you young." My reply? "She keeps me tired."

Your thoughts?



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