Page URL:

UK's oldest IVF mother has baby

10 July 2006
Appeared in BioNews 366

A 62-year old woman has become the UK's oldest woman to give birth to a child. Dr Patricia Rashbrook, who already has three children aged 18, 22 and 26, underwent IVF treatment using donor eggs in order to conceive her son, who was born by Caesarean section last week.

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. The treatment was carried out by 'maverick' Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori, most famous for vowing to clone humans.

Describing her new-born son, Dr Rashbrook, a child psychiatrist, said 'he is adorable', adding that 'having been through so much to have him we are overjoyed. His birth was absolutely wonderful and deeply moving for both of us'. Her husband, 61 year old John Farrant, said that he was 'awestruck' upon seeing his son. 'I felt transformed, as if fatherhood had fulfilled a need in me that I hadn't acknowledged before I met Patti', he added.

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. Dr Rashbrook defends critics who say the couple have put their needs above those of the child: 'We would not have gone ahead if we felt we would not be good parents', she said, She added: 'I have always looked and felt very young, but nevertheless we have younger friends with children who have agreed to act as surrogate parents should anything happen to us'.

However, some fertility specialists have said they oppose the treatment of older women with IVF. Sam Abdalla, medical director of the infertility clinic at London's Lister hospital, said that although 'it is true we can easily get a 70 year old pregnant, or even someone older', he believes that 'it is much better to have the rules and framework that apply in Britain'. 'I hope this remains an individual case', he added. Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, has however defended Dr Rashbrook, accusing critics of 'gender hypocrisy'. She said that the choice to undergo IVF should be a choice for individual couples and their doctors. But others have called this attitude 'irresponsible'. Ann Widdecombe MP said that it was not the right analogy, as men could conceive children naturally into old age and women could not. Josephine Quintavalle, from the pro-life campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Core), asked where Hewitt would draw the line: 'at 70, at 80, 100?'

Last week, the oldest woman to give birth to IVF twins did so in New York, aged 59, also following treatment using donated eggs. Mrs Cohen and her husband Frank Garcia, from Paramus, New Jersey, already have a daughter, Raquel, who was conceived in the same way.

Fertility experts urge end to 'selfish' late motherhood
The Times |  9 July 2006
Hewitt condemns outcry over Britain's oldest mother
The Daily Telegraph |  9 July 2006
Woman is oldest twins mum at 59
BBC News Online |  4 July 2006
World exclusive: the first pictures of Britain's oldest mum
The Daily Mail |  8 August 2006
24 May 2010 - by Harriet Vickers 
A 59 year-old woman has backed out of IVF treatment at the last minute, as she feels the risks at her age are too great...
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 
An Indian woman has given birth to a baby girl by Caesarean section at the age of 70, after receiving fertility treatment in her home state of Haryana in India. Rajo Devi and her husband Bala Ram remained childless during 55 years of marriage before they heard...
8 October 2007 - by Dr Karen Devine 
It would appear that the quest for motherhood is for some, a desire that fails to subside with age. Empowered by new technologies such as IVF treatments, women are increasingly seeking the assistance of fertility clinics to fulfil their aim of bearing a child when their biological...
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 
Let me make my position clear from the start. I consider fertility specialists have an absolute obligation to provide a clinical service to deal with all types of fertility problem so that certain groups are not discriminated against, provided that methods used are legal and fall within a sensible framework...
5 May 2006 - by BioNews 
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...
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...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.