An Indian woman has given birth to her first child at the age of 72 after undergoing fertility treatment at a controversial IVF clinic.
Daljinder Kaur gave birth to a healthy boy last month at the National Fertility Centre in Haryana state, which offers fertility treatment to women who are decades beyond their menopause.
Although her exact date of birth is unclear, Mrs Kaur told doctors she was around seven years younger than her husband Mohinder Singh Gill, who is 79. If correct, that would make her the world’s oldest mother.
The current, verified record is held by Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara, who was 66 when she gave birth to twin boys in Barcelona in 2006.
“Every one asked me to adopt a baby but I never wanted to. Now I have my own child,” said Mrs Kaur.
“We will raise him and give him a proper education. I had faith in Almighty that I will have my own baby, and Waheguru answered my prayers,” she told the Telegraph, using the Sikh term for God.“God heard our prayers. My life feels complete now”Daljinder Kaur
The pair from Amritsar in Punjab state have been married but childless for 46 years, and decided to try IVF after seeing an advertisement for the clinic in neighboring Haryana in a newspaper.
Mrs Kaur underwent three rounds of in-vitro fertilization treatment using anonymous donor eggs. She gave birth by caesarian section on April 19.
Post-menopausal births are increasingly common in India, where couples – and in particular women – are often under intense social pressure to have children, and IVF treatment is cheap and largely unregulated.
The full cost for a cycle of fertility treatment can be as low as 100,000 rupees (£1,000), around half what it would be in Britain.
In Denmark costs a fertility treatment is similar to the British prices on private clinics. But it is not allowed to get treatment if you are 46 years old or above. Medical Director of the private fertility clinic Ciconia in Aarhus, Karsten Petersen, is happy with the Danish rules.
– You have to consider that it is older women, he said to TV2.dk
– One thing is their health in relation to a pregnancy and childbirth. Another thing is the morality and ethics of it.
According to him, the rules also made because the probability of older women may become pregnant with their own eggs is virtually non existing. Compared to the 72-year-old new mother he thinks also on the child, who must either grow up with a very old mother or no mother.
– That I do not care about. I denounce that women of that age should become mothers, says Karsten Petersen.
Dr Anurag Bishnoi’s clinic in particular has created headlines in recent years over the age of his patients.
Its website prominently lists several cases of elderly couples conceiving through fertility treatment, including that of Rajo Devi, a woman thought to be 70 year old who gave birth to a baby girl in 2006.
Two year later another patient, Bhateri Devi, gave birth to triplets at the purported age of 66.
But there is growing pressure for regulation of the country’s estimated 2,000 fertility clinics.
India’s medical council has lobbied for a bill banning fertility treatment for women aged 50 and above, citing health concerns for both mother and child.Ms Kaur’s husband said he was unfazed about their age
Supporters expect the bill to be passed in parliament within six months, bringing India into line with several Western countries and potentially spelling the end of practices like Dr Bishnoi’s.
Some senior members of India’s medical community last night denounced the treatment offered to Mrs Kaur.
Dr Hrishikesh Pai, head of India’s federation of 31,000 gynecologists, called Dr Bishnoi a “rogue doctor” and “repeat offender”, urging lawmakers to introduce regulations preventing his practice.
“We condemn this totally. With science, you can make a 90-year-old person pregnant, what’s the big deal? The question is not about technicalities, it’s about ethics. Our responsibility to the patient. This man is an upstart, he doesn’t represent us. He needs to be banned.” “Not a good idea. It’s cowboy medicine,” added Dr Aniruddha Malpani, who runs a Mumbai-based fertility clinic. “Doctors are just out to show how much they can push the envelope. This gives IVF doctors a bad name. People think we’re irresponsible, doing stupid stuff.” However, Dr Bishnoi defended his patients’ rights to choose their treatment regardless of age.
“Reproduction is a fundamental right. The government cannot prevent that,” he said.
“They want to prevent women over 50, but on what basis can they do this to their own people? They are not killing anyone, they are giving birth.”
Former record holder death
A former holder of the world record as the world’s oldest mother was Spaniard Maria Del Carmen Bousada Lara. She gave birth at the age of 66 years twin boys in Barcelona in 2006.
The woman was single and the decision to become pregnant so late in life shared waters. Her own family called her both “selfish and irresponsible”.
Already in 2009, she died the age of 69, leaving the two twin boys orphaned by the age of three years.