Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Haryana woman, 70, becomes world's oldest mom-India-The Times of India

Haryana woman, 70, becomes world's oldest mom-India-The Times of India: "Rajo Devi, 70, became perhaps the world's oldest mother when she delivered a girl child on November 28, 2008 with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment at a Hisar fertility centre. Rajo had entered menopause 20 years ago."

Reading an article like this evokes mixed feelings. The good thing is that it highlights how modern IVF technology can help practically anyone to have a baby ! However, it does raise some concerns.

For one, no where in the article is it mentioned that donor eggs were used for treatment. I think this omission can mislead readers ; and lull older women into thinking that they can have a baby whenever they like !

Equally worrisome is the fact that after reading such an article, many people start believing that doctors are mad scientists who are now playing God; and that IVF specialists are irresponsible, and will do anything, in order to earn money , or some publicity. This craze to establish world records for " the oldest mother" is ridiculous - and one wonders where it will end ! 75 ? 80 ?

I am not happy about the publicity this particular case has attracted. Was this a publicity gimmick ? Is this really being done in the child's best interests ? My fear is that if IVF doctors continue behaving so irresponsibly, society will clamp down on their freedom, and start placing restrictions on what they can do - and what they cannot do.

While I am a big believer in patient autonomy and allowing couples to decide what they should do, I also feel that such freedom should be tempered with responsible decision making. Just because it's possible to do something does not mean this should be done !

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