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German grandmother, 65, gives birth to quadruplets

01 June 2015

By Ana Ilic

Appeared in BioNews 804

A grandmother of seven has become the oldest woman to give birth to quadruplets, at the age of 65.

Annegret Raunigk, a German teacher who already had 13 children, ranging in age from nine to 44, gave birth to three boys and a girl in the 26th week of pregnancy. The quadruplets were successfully delivered by caesarean section on 15 May and are being incubated and closely monitored. It is reported that Raunigk has not suffered any health problems. Doctors say that despite their prematurity the babies have a 'good chance' of survival, according to Germany's RTL television, which has exclusive rights to the story.

Raunigk had travelled to Ukraine to undergo IVF treatment using donated gametes because the procedure is illegal in Germany.

Defending criticism from doctors who advised that her body may not be physically capable of bearing four children, Raunigk told RTL: 'I simply assume I'll remain healthy and fit. In matters of organisation I have enough experience - that's not new for me.'

Pregnancy in older women can cause many complications, including a higher chance of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. A multiple pregnancy further adds to the increased risk of miscarriage and can cause high blood pressure.

The language teacher told German Bild magazine last month that she decided to have another child after her youngest - Leila aged 9 - had asked for a younger brother or sister to play with.

Raunigk was understandably surprised when doctors told her all four embryos had implanted. 'Certainly that was a shock for me. After the doctor discovered there were four, I had to give it some thought to begin with,' she told RTL, but added that she did not want undergo selective reduction and abort any of the fetuses before birth.

In Britain the number of women giving birth over the age of 50 has more than doubled in the past five years, with three children being born to a woman in their fifties every week.

In June last year, a woman from the USA became the world's oldest mother using her own eggs for IVF at 46 (see BioNews 756). The record for the oldest mother is held by an Indian woman, who gave birth at 70 after three rounds of IVF.

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