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German grandmother, 65, gives birth to quadruplets

1 June 2015
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.

16 September 2019 - by Dr Anna Smajdor 
A woman in India has given birth to twins. In itself, nothing particularly worth reporting there. Women give birth to babies all the time...
30 May 2017 - by Dr Jane Currie 
A moving love story, but a missed opportunity to explore ethical issues in IVF...
8 August 2016 - by Nina Chohan 
A 62-year-old Tasmanian woman has become Australia's oldest mother to conceive using IVF...
16 May 2016 - by Dr Mary Yarwood 
A woman believed to be 72 years old has given birth to a baby boy in India, following IVF treatment...
11 April 2016 - by Dr Linda Wijlaars 
A 55-year old woman from Boston, England, has become Britain's oldest mother of triplets...
20 April 2015 - by Jessica Ware 
A 65-year-old German woman is set to become the world's oldest mother of quadruplets...
20 April 2015 - by Dr Irenee Daly 
Postmenopausal mothers are often accused of having selfish reasons for having a child. Yet on closer examination, perhaps we need to question the rhetoric that postmenopausal motherhood is always unacceptable....
9 March 2015 - by Dr Anna Smajdor 
The Daily Mail recently reported that a 59-year-old woman is seeking to give birth to her own grandchild...
20 January 2014 - by Professor Cathy Warwick 
The pressure on the UK's midwives is at its highest for decades. In England, for example, there were more babies born in 2012 than in any year since 1971...
25 November 2013 - by Ari Haque 
A report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the number of multiple births among women over 45 has increased by 23 percent in the past year. The increase is thought to be in part due to more older women using IVF treatment to conceive...
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