The death of a Spanish woman who is believed to be the oldest
woman ever to give birth may be a tragedy for her children, but it
doesn't mean menopausal women are unfit for pregnancy, the doctor
who performed her fertility procedure said.
"Men have kids at that age all the time and they're praised as
being virile and macho," said Dr Vicken Sahakian of the Pacific
Fertility Clinic in Los Angeles.
"It's not unusual these days to treat women in their early 50s,"
he added. "I will defend that decision. I have no problem with it.
The tragedy here is a social tragedy that, because of her
manipulating the system, we now have two children who will be
Reports Bousada had cancer
Maria del Carmen Bousada, who deceived the Los Angeles fertility
clinic about her age and become the oldest woman to give birth, has
died at 69, leaving behind two-year-old twins, newspapers reported
Wednesday. The family did not give a cause, but there were reports
she had a tumour.
Bousada had been in menopause for 18 years when she received in
vitro fertilization at the clinic but she lied about her age, claiming to be 55 instead of 66. Bousada gave birth in December 2006.
Bousada used a false birth date on documents in order to meet
Sahakian's age limit.
Sahakian said there is no US law governing the age of
fertility recipients and he set one mainly for social reasons: He
wants the women he makes mothers to be around until their children
When Sahakian learned of Bousada's deception, "I figured
something might happen and wind up being a disaster for these kids,
and unfortunately I was right," he said.
More and more older women giving birth
It's easy for women to lie to their doctors, he said.
"We don't ask for passports, obviously," Sahakian said. "When is
the last time you went to a doctor and he asked you for a birth
certificate? We're not detectives here."
Sahakian, however, said he has successfully treated dozens of
women over the age of 50 in the past five to 10 years, including a
62-year-old who gave birth to a boy and a girl.
Technological advances have pushed up the childbearing age for
women, Sahakian said, even though their pregnancies generally are
riskier than those of younger women.
"How old is too old to become a mom?" Sahakian asked. "You are
going to push childbearing age. It's happening. .... If you're 52
and you get pregnant, it's not news."
Sahakian also said he did not believe that the hormone therapy
he used to "rejuvenate" Bousada's uterus had increased her cancer
The hormone treatment lasted three weeks. Sahakian said he did
not believe that increased the woman's cancer risk.
"Nothing she did (to get pregnant) caused her illness," he said. – (Sapa, July 2009)