ISMAAR Symposium 2020, Saturday 22 February, Copenhagen
Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_91081

66 year old women is Britain's oldest mother-to-be

26 May 2009
Appeared in BioNews 509

The record for Britain's oldest women to give birth will be broken next month by 66 year old Elizabeth Munro, from Cambridge. It is thought that Ms Munro, who is single and a successful business woman, travelled to the Ukraine to become pregnant using donor eggs and IVF treatment.

In the UK, health trusts determine which women will be eligible for IVF treatment on the NHS, and factors limiting availability include the age of the woman. Not many trusts will consider providing NHS treatment for women over about 39 years old. However, some private clinics, which are not obliged to follow NHS guidelines, will offer treatment to women up to the age of 50, although it is rare for them to consider treating women older than this.

The news has reignited an ethical debate that began in 1994 when Professor Severino Antinori pioneered an IVF treatment using donor eggs to allow the current record holder, Patricia Rashbrook, to conceive at age 62. Advances in assisted reproduction have made it possible for women of almost any age to have children, although experts are divided about the extent to which it is ethically acceptable to extend motherhood. There is apprehension about the increased health risks to older mothers and their babies, and the increased chance of the child becoming an orphan before adulthood. There are also concerns over potentially increased costs incurred by the health system, as patients circumvent UK guidelines by travelling abroad for fertility treatment.

Professor Antinori has spoken out against the pregnancy, saying that he believes Ms Munro has left it too late for motherhood: 'I am shocked by the idea of a 66-year old giving birth. I respect the choice medically, but I think that anything over 63 is risky because you cannot guarantee the child will have a loving mother or family,' he told The Sunday Times newspaper.

Ms Munro, who is due to give birth next month by Caesarean section, claims she still feels 39 and is fitter than many women a third her age. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, she said: 'It's not my physical age that's important - it's how I feel inside.' She added: 'I don't have to defend what I have done. It's between me, my baby and no-one else'.

Laurence Shaw, a consultant in reproductive medicine, believes that older women should be allowed to become mothers, provided they are fit enough to do so. 'The truth is that anybody might not survive to raise their children. Now life expectancy is 80 so is it not reasonable for someone to go through a process of fitness screening to decide whether they should have a child?' he told the Sunday Times.

Elizabeth Munro is not the oldest woman to become a mother: Omkari Panwar, from India, had IVF triplets at the age of 70 with her 77-year-old husband last year.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Britain's oldest mum, 66, tried for an IVF baby five years ago
The Daily Mail |  17 May 2009
Britain's oldest mum dismisses concerns to declare: 'I feel half my age'
The Daily Telegraph |  18 May 2009
Elizabeth Munro: A business and a new baby, at 66
The Sunday Times |  17 May 2009
Fit for a baby at 66? Don't kid yourself
The Daily Telegraph |  19 May 2009
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
23 May 2016 - by Rikita Patel 
A controversial Italian fertility doctor has been arrested after being accused of taking a woman's eggs without her consent...
21 June 2010 - by Harriet Vickers 
Mrs Bhateri Devi from India has become the oldest woman to give birth to triplets, at 66-years-old....
18 January 2010 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
A 59-year-old British woman who conceived her two-year-old daughter by in IVF (vitro fertilisation) has faced criticism after saying she wants more children. Sue Tollefsen, from Essex, had told makers of a BBC documentary about older mothers to be shown later this month that she was '110 per cent' sure she wanted more treatment....
1 May 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard 
At 66 years old, Elizabeth Adeney is set to become Britain's oldest mother when she gives birth to a child conceived following fertility treatment at a clinic in Ukraine. The example highlights the growing trend among fertility patients to travel abroad to access treatment which in Britain...
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...
7 July 2008 - by MacKenna Roberts 
A 70-year-old woman in India is reportedly the world's oldest woman to give birth, when she had twins last week. The girl and boy babies were delivered one month early by emergency caesarean section but are reportedly alive and well after being transferred to specialist neonatal...
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...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in 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.