There used to be an intense pressure for women to get pregnant before 35. But thanks to advancements in reproductive medical technology, that has eased up a lot if you look at the case of the what could be the world record for the oldest woman to give birth.
On September 5, 2019, a 74-year-old woman from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh gave birth via C-section to twin girls, the Hindustan Times reported. The babies each weighed 2.2 pounds at birth.
“The surgery went smoothly. Both mother and the infants are healthy and have no complications whatsoever,” Sankkayala Uma Shankar, a doctor who specializes in in vitro fertilization (IVF) and who delivered the babies said. The new mom, Mangayamma Yaramati, needed to be taken intensive care unit (ICU) to recover from the stress of childbirth.
The twin babies were conceived via IVF, but they are not Yaramati’s biological kids — she already entered the menopause stage 25 years ago. A donor’s egg was fertilized by the sperm of her husband, Sitarama Rajarao, 82, before it was implanted in her uterus.
Luckily, she conceived in the first IVF cycle and had no pregnancy complications whatsoever, except for some respiratory issues that were taken cared of, Shankar told The Washington Post.
Yaramati first heard of a 55-year-old woman conceiving via IVF last year. She and Rajarao told BBC News that they’ve always wanted children, but they couldn’t get pregnant. Their home town had branded the now new mom as “childless lady.”
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“We tried many times and saw numerous doctors,” Yaramati said of being childless for nearly 57 years since they got married in 1962. “This is the happiest time of my life,” she added.
Rajarao equally shared his wife's excitement for being first-time parents. He suffered a stroke a day after he found out about the pregnancy but is reportedly feeling better.
The couple’s advanced age is one of the ethical issues about assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF. In 2016, the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) discouraged doctors from providing donor eggs to women over age 55, regardless if they have no underlying health issues and is highly likely to carry the baby to term and give birth.
Shankar, on the other hand, is optimistic that Yaramai will have not major health issues during her postpartum period, except maybe breastfeeding the twin babies. “We can feed the babies with milk obtained from the milk bank,” the doctor said.
It’s not the first time older women have conceived and given birth. Three years ago, another Indian woman gave birth in her early 70s. In 2015, 65-year-old German grandmother gave birth to quadruplets. Back in 2007, a 59-year-old British mom broke the world record for giving birth after a natural pregnancy.
For more options on getting pregnant aside from IVF, click here and here.