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UK woman will have baby at 63

5 May 2006
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 357

A 62-year old woman who will become the UK's oldest woman to give birth to a child has defended her decision to have IVF to enable her to have a baby. Dr Patricia Rashbrook, who already has three children aged 17, 22 and 26, is seven months pregnant and is expecting a boy.

Dr Rashbrook, who travelled to Eastern Europe for the fertility treatment with her second husband, 60-year old John Farrant, paid £7000 for the IVF with a donated egg. While Dr Rashbrook acknowledges the 'controversial' nature of her pregnancy, she said that she and her husband have carefully thought about what they are doing and take their responsibilities very seriously. 'This has not been an endeavour undertaken lightly or without courage. A great deal of thought has been given to planning and providing for the child's present and future wellbeing, medically, socially and materially', she said. She added: 'we are very happy to have given life to an already much-loved baby and our wish now is to give him the peace and security he needs'. She and her husband have appealed for privacy, saying it is their right to be left alone to enjoy their family life.

The treatment was carried out by 'maverick' Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori., most famous for vowing to clone humans. He said that Dr Rashbrook, despite her age, had all the qualities for maternity. 'We are not giving birth to an orphan', he said.

The oldest woman to have given birth following fertility treatment is Adriana Iliescu, a Romanian woman, who gave birth aged 66 in 2005. Clinics in the UK are not likely to treat women in their sixties - even though it is not illegal to do so, most clinics have an upper age limit and few would treat women over the age of 45. One thing clinics in the UK have to take into account is the welfare of the prospective child - and many fertility doctors would not consider it to be in a child's best interests to be born to parents who are less likely to survive until it is an adult. Richard Kennedy, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and spokesman for the British Fertility Society, said 'there is a general consensus in the UK that 50 is the threshold at which the natural menopause often occurs and above which treatment shouldn't be provided'. This is, he said, 'not because it can't be done but because of increased risks to the mother'.

Members of pro-life groups have been quicker to condemn the pregnancy. Matthew O'Gorman, of Life, said that the child would be 'without a mother or father at the most crucial moment of adolescence or when that child is growing into maturity'. Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Core), said that the pregnancy was evidence of a 'consumer society' that 'wants everything and never stops to think that a child is not a product'.

Doctor defends IVF for woman, 63
BBC News Online |  4 May 2006
The child psychiatrist who is at ease with becoming a mother at 63
The Guardian |  5 May 2006
Uproar over IVF woman expecting a baby at 63
The Daily Telegraph |  5 May 2006
Yes, we have thought it all through, says IVF mother, 63
The Times |  5 May 2006
17 August 2009 - by Dr Sammy Lee 
Did the death of Maria Bousada change public attitudes to the modern phenomenon headlined as 'Oldest Mums'? The world's media certainly made hay and the news reverberated for a few days; and it seems likely that the Channel 4 documentary 'the Worlds Oldest Mums' was rescheduled to screen early to catch the media wave which the death generated. The aftermath, though, of this tsunami seems to have largely been relative indifference....
20 July 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The world’s oldest mother has died from cancer aged 69. María Carmen del Bousada de Lara, from Spain, gave birth to twins two years ago through IVF...
14 December 2008 - by Sarah Pritchard 
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11 June 2007 - by Danielle Hamm 
Recent figures released by the UK fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), show a tenfold plus increase in women over 40 seeking fertility treatment using their own eggs. The number of women over 40 seeking fertility treatment using donated eggs is not know, but...
29 May 2007 - by Danielle Hamm 
A sixty year-old woman has become the oldest women in the US to give birth to twins. The two healthy boys were delivered in the US Hackensack University Medical Centre on 22 May. The twins were conceived via IVF in a South African clinic. The couple, Frieda...
15 May 2006 - by Professor Ian Craft 
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17 January 2005 - by BioNews 
A 66-year-old Romanian woman has become the world's oldest recorded mother, after giving birth to a healthy baby girl. Adriana Iliescu, who was 32 weeks pregnant with twins, underwent a Caesarean section after one of the babies died in the womb. The surviving girl, named Eliza Maria, is still...
10 January 2005 - by BioNews 
A Romanian woman is set to become the world's oldest mother at the age of 67. Adriana Iliescu, a retired university lecturer, is said to be almost seven months pregnant with twin girls following ten years of fertility treatment. She also underwent hormone treatment for nine years to delay her...
3 February 2003 - by Juliet Tizzard 
Sandra Lennon has a new baby. There's nothing so unusual about that, you might say. But Mrs Lennon is no ordinary mother: she is 57 years old and besides being a mother, she is a grandmother too. Talking to the weekend newspapers, various members of MrsLennon's family expressed concern...
3 February 2003 - by BioNews 
Sandra Lennon, a 58-year old woman, has become one of the UK's oldest woman to give birth following IVF treatment. She already has two children, aged 34 and 30, and four grandchildren. The fertility treatment took place at the private London Fertility Centre, under the supervision of Professor Ian...
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