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Sunday, January 23, 2005 

Pensioners and Babies

Adrian Iliescu, Rosanna Della Corte and Arceli Keh all have one thing in common: they all gave birth to their children after the age of 60. Iliescu, at the age of 66, became the world's oldest recorded to woman to have given birth.

With advances in technology and healthcare, coupled with women waiting longer to give birth, we can expect to see more women of advanced ages giving birth. Just because it's possible does that make it ok? I definitely don't think so. Just as there are risks to both mother and child if the mother is too young, the risks for both the older mother and the child increase dramatically as well. Regardless of how 'young' a woman feels and for whatever reason she wishes to have a child at such an advanced age, both the prospective mother and her doctor have a moral responsibility to the welfare of the child.

I find it is very selfish on the part of the mother to want to have a child at such an advanced age. With the average lifespan of women in the western world hovering around 80 years old, a child born to a 66 year old mother has, at best, 14 years to spend with the mother. And that is only if the mother is in excellent health. There is no way that a woman of that age can realistically believe that she can cater to all the needs of a small toddler. I was 27 when I had my son and when he reached the age of 2, I found it was a full time job just to make sure he wasn't discovering new ways to put himself in direct danger. How many times I literally had to race to the top of the stairs to prevent him from climbing over the stair-gate or to keep him from trying to cook food for himself. Twice, I didn't succeed. He tumbled down the steps once and let himself out the back door of the house early in the morning while everyone else was sleeping. Luckily, nothing serious came of it. Children need a lot of patience, attention and help in order to raise them to adulthood. Your chances of succeeding at this are difficult enough when you're under 30, at the age of 66, it's near impossible and I don't care if the mother is a former Olympian Decathalon medallist.

All of these scenarios presume that a mother that age can actually carry the child to term. Many of these women will be having premature babies if they have them at all. This means that their children are already at a disadvantage in their development and health.

Older women are only lying to themselves and disregarding all the risks in order to fulfill their own selfish desires to have a child. If they're lonely, get a dog. If they say it's because they love children so much, then that love will prevent them from ever considering having a child at such an advanced age.