Imagine having your first baby at 72

Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress but there are times when her reasoning shouldn’t be questioned, and having a child past a certain age is one of them. Surely 72 is too old?

It’s no secret that women are choosing to start their families later in life – the average age of a first-time mum in Australia is now 28. Having career choices, wanting to be on a firmer financial footing and last but not least, finding a partner with whom they want to share the process has meant that procreating takes a back seat (not takes place on the back seat, as used to be case!). At 43, my years of raising a small child are well and truly behind me and I’m now an exhausted parent to a 15-year-old son. I personally wouldn’t have it any other way.

Several of my friends waited to have their children, and I can’t lie when I say I derive some kind of perverse pleasure at seeing them trying zombie-like to secure a baby-sitter so they can escape for an hour or two. I couldn’t imagine coping with sleepless nights, nappy changes and the terrible twos as well as the onset of hot flushes, however minor.

And that’s the point, surely? When Mother Nature gives you the warning sign that menopause is on its way, this would be the time to kick start your family planning if you don’t have any kids or would like to add to your brood, not wait another 20 years before deciding that you may have missed the child-rearing boat.

However, thanks to the ‘wonders’ of medical science, 72-year-old (yes 72) Daljinder Kaur has given birth to a healthy baby boy in India. The mature first-time mother and her husband, 79-year-old Molinder Singh Gill, fell pregnant after undergoing three rounds of IVF treatment at the National Fertility Clinic in Haryana state. The clinic is known to offer IVF to women decades past menopause and it claims to have had a healthy baby born to a mother aged 70 in 2006.

And it’s not as if romance bloomed late in life for Daljinder and Molinder – the couple has been married for 46 years.

So, it begs to ask the question – just because you can do something, does it mean you should? If science enables women to have children well passed the age of natural conception, is it okay to have children in your 60s and 70s?

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Written by Debbie McTaggart

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