Mother Time

old mumI can’t make up my mind about this one GrownUps members – what do you think? Recent news from Hisar, in Northern India reports that Daljinder Kaur (pictured), recently gave birth to a baby aged 70.

While I think mothers are wonderful, selfless creatures (I’m one!), and that being a mother is a life-changing, glorious thing, I’m not sure I agree with becoming a mother at an age where you are highly unlikely to be able to give the child the upbringing it needs and deserves.

Daljinder had two years of treatment using donor eggs from the National Fertility and Test Tube Baby Centre, in India’s northern state of Haryana. Kaur is quoted as saying: “I feel so full of energy.” Some women, such as Kaur, live their whole lives yearning for a child, and the pain of infertility can be immense. But how old is considered too old? Should the needs of the child be considered as much as the right of a woman to use fertility treatment?

Occasionally, all parents, no matter what their age, are tempted to throw up their hands and say “we’re too old for this.” Anyone who has had a toddler or two around for any length of time knows just how much energy is that required to keep up with them. Parents in New Zealand and world wide are becoming older, and as always, there are positives and negatives to that – more financial security, a clear decision to pursue parenthood and more stable relationships. The downside is, that older parents may struggle with the change in lifestyle, the amount of energy required and may have to limit their family numbers, due to lack of time.

What will become of Daljinder’s child? At 70, she is already past the life expectancy of a woman in India (66.1 years as opposed to 81.16 years in New Zealand). I’m sure her baby is dearly loved, and will be well cared for for as long as her parents are able. However, is this primarily an act of selfishness or love; to bring a child into the world, without siblings and extended family, who will, far more likely than most newborns, be left parentless too early in life?

It seems I have made up my mind actually, but I am still interested in what you think – should there be an age at which fertility treatment is no longer offered? And was this case more about the desire to have a family or the desire to conduct a science experiment? Please comment below.

By Jane Matthews