Thursday, May 04, 2006

What the FUCK?

Just saw this one on the evening news:

Psychologist to be Britian's oldest mother at 63.

Okay, maybe it's me, but why? She already has two adult children. But, she's 63 YEARS OLD. And, how could a physician feel that he is morally correct in agreeing to treat her?

Don't get me wrong-I'm not against older mothers at all. Women are having babies well into their 40's, and are doing a terrific job. But, what about the mothers that are having babies in their 50's and (now) 60's? It's a whole different ballgame, really. It's well documented medically that there are more health risks involved for both the mother and the child, more risks for chromosomal anomalies. And, it's also about raising a child at that age. Let's think realistically-she's 63, which will make her 68 when her child starts school, 81 when the kid graduates from high school and 85 when he or she graduates from college. I know that people are living longer, but what about the quality of life? What's to say that either parent will be around to see this child graduate high school, let alone college? Can you see a 75 year old shuttling a kid back and forth to piano lessons, soccer practice and school dances with the same energy of someone 30 years their junior? And, is it fair to the child, especially if a parent develops an illness and has to be cared for? Who does the caring-a minor with no legal rights in regards to their parent's medical treatment? Does that make sense at all?

And yes, I do know that there are lots of children here in the U.S. that are being raised by grandparents-in fact, many of these children are my students-who aren't scarred for life. But, I do see that these grandparents have a hell of a time raising these kids They often can't do as much with them-they are older, often retired and on a pension, trying to raise kids while dealing with Medicare, various ailments, and, let's face it, the aches and pains of aging. Who is that fair to-the child?

The doctor, by the way, says that she should live "20 or 25 years" and that she isn't giving birth to an "orphan". That assuming, of course, that both she and her husband will remain in perfect health. No doctor can predict the future of any individual-I'm sure we all can think of someone we knew or loved that were in "perfect" health that suddenly went downhill and passed away with no warning. It's almost like this doctor is more preoccupied with getting post-menopausal women pregnant for the sake of being able to and giving birth to live babies than thinking of the quality of life for the patient and their child.

Just my opinion, but I think that it's selfish on the parents side. Even though these people (who are probably very nice) say that they have their child's best interest at heart, and that they made arrangements for their child's future, I really wonder.

It just makes IVF as a treatment option even harder for the public and religious leaders to view as acceptable for those of us who just want to have one child of our own. It gives the treatment a bad name, really.

Perhaps I'm being ridiculously harsh, but I just don't get it..........any opinions out there about this?


Maya said...

Yes, I was completely taken aback by this one. I of course don't think I would do it, but also didn't think I would ever do IVF, either. It certainly doesn't justify anything, but I might feel differently if I were her. As a teacher, I do agree with your concerns. I just think it goes to prove that a woman never stops longing for a child. ...and shit it certainly gives me hope if she can do at 63, I at least have a few good years left at 31 :)

Thalia said...

I was also concerned. Of course it's donor egg (although that hasn't been in the reports) - there's no way a 63yo has her own eggs ready to go - which means that the chromosomal abnormalities etc won't be a concern. But the leaving the child orphaned I totally agree with. although of course parents die in their 30s, too...

cat said...

This freaks me out. I'm not even sure what to say but it seems way too far into life to be bring an infant into the mix.

Betty said...

The world just seems to always be changing and new boundries are constantly being pushed. I'm not sure what I think of this. I didn't see the report. I'd at least like to think that she is fit and healthy for her age.

laura said...

I'm totally with you on this one.
i think it's absolutely ridiculous. It just doesn't seem right.

lynn said...

I'm not sure how I feel about this either, mainly because my initial gut reaction was the same as yours, until I realized that I didn't have the same reaction to actor Tony Randall fathering a baby in his 70s. My attitude with him was, well, the kid will have a great time with his dad for as long as his dad is around, which is better than no dad at all or a crappy dad for 50 years, so who am I to judge? But I found myself judging this woman more harshly ... maybe because I knew that Tony Randall had a 30-something wife who would be there for the kid. I guess I would feel better knowing at 60-something mom has a 30-something husband who will more likely be there for the child as she ages.

Pamplemousse said...

They seem to have made a lot better contingency arrangements for the child than a lot of feckless younger people would. And yes, no-one bats an eyelid at a 60 year old father. Is it just squeamishness because the woman gives birth at 63? Breastfeeds at 63?

Not to be harsh but there are a lot of people who would be judgmental about me using donor eggs and giving birth at 41.