India has not got a patent when it comes to IVF mothers in their 60s, British first time mother Elizabeth Adeney, 67, proves. Adeney had her son last year, at age 66, and thereby became the new holder of the Oldest Mom in Britain title.
Before Adeney gave birth, that title belonged to 62 year old first time mom Patti Farrant. If a new proposal to do away with age limits for IVF treatments on the National Health Services gets accepted, we ll likely be seeing a lot more of this soon. Who on earth would be proposing to allow women in their fifties and sixties to receive free fertility treatment? Who in the United Kingdom wants to follow India? It s the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence Nice. Nice is worried that the UK government would have problems with age discrimination laws by disallowing women over 40 to get IVF on the NHS. The same institute who brought us the smoking breathilizer proposal last week has now given us yet another gem. They are proposing that women are granted or denied IVF treatment on the basis of their ovarian reserve, meaning how many eggs they have left, rather than their age. While it is noble to want to avoid discrimination, Nice seems to forget that the largest ovarian reserve on the planet would not increase a woman s life expectancy as well. No matter how many eggs a woman in her sixties has left, she will leave her future IVF children motherless at a younger age.
I understand the NHS wish to help anyone overcome infertility, but how about the rights of the children involved in this story? Also, it is funny, is it not, that the same institute, Nice, created guidelines saying that women who are obese are not entitled to have IVF on the National Health Service until they lose weight. Fattism, apparently, is OK. Why? Well, because being obese and having IVF is a combination that creates health risks, apparently. Having children well past your prime is not a health concern, then? The fact that women in that stage of life cannot conceive naturally is not enough of a warning that it is a bad idea? Remember the 72 year old Indian mother of a one year old, now dying?
There is no need to tell anyone about the dubious ethics of cases such as that, least of all the British government. I really hope this proposal does not make it. I see nothing wrong with a public debate about upper age limits for IVF, and I don t think denying women in their sixties fertility treatment is discriminatory. The menopause in general is nature s way of making sure that as many children as possible get to grow up with their mothers by their side. Now that we, as humans, are able to create life and do just about anything, we should make sure that we have everyone s best interest at heart. What do you think?