Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What Do You Think?


When I first saw that a woman in India had given birth at the age of seventy I was definitely expecting to read that she had given birth to help someone in her family. You know, something like finding a perfect bone marrow person or some other kind of selfless act. I just could not and still cannot believe that someone could even give birth at 70, let alone want to give birth at 70. I was wrong of course. The oldest woman to ever give birth has done so. She claims to be 70 and her husband about 72. Neither have birth certificates, but judging from the photo, I could see 70. She looks good for 70, but I could definitely believe her.

The woman, who gave birth by c-section conceived using in vitro. Here is my thing about this. I am a guy so there is probably no way I can ever understand how deeply some women want children. Fair enough. But, I also think that having this child is probably a little selfish. I have no idea what the life expectancy of people is in India, but I would really doubt that either parent would make it to the high school graduation of their baby. I don't always agree with the decision of 70 year old men to have children with their 30 something wives, but at least I know that the mom will probably be around. When these parents die, who is going to look after the baby? I'm sure some relatives will, but did the couple ask the relatives before they got pregnant? Did they say, "hey, we're going to have a baby, but probably die in a few years. So, would you take care of our child for the rest of your life?"

If they don't have any relatives than it is going to fall on the people of India and government to take care of the baby. Last I checked India was a fairly populous country and that is without a bunch of 70 year olds giving birth. I think the couple could have found some foster children or orphaned children to provide some love to who really need it. I don't think they should have been giving birth at 70. What do you think?

43 comments:

Katja said...

sounds like they needed an heir. In vitro is at least 10k.

Miranda said...

Alright, I'm gonna go out on a limb and give what's probably not a very popular or widely held opinion ...

If you can't get pregnant naturally, maybe that's a sign that you shouldn't bear your own children? I mean, I'm all for kids (even hope to have my own some day) but if it turns out my plumbing is broken, I would love to adopt someone else's baby ... a baby that needs immediate love and support. There are so many unwanted kids around that sometimes it seems awfully selfish of people to spend so much money and so many resources on a child that is biologically related to them.

I definitely have to agree with Enty—in this case, it's like a million more times as selfish since the parents won't likely be around for a substantial portion of the child's life. Hopefully there is someone like me out there who would adore to raise this child as their own.

twunty mcslore said...

If she hadn't done ivf that kid wouldn't even exist in the first place so the argument is kind of irrelevant- not existing versus parents who die in your teens? I'll take being alive, please.
Oh, and she looks good for 70 so I'll have what she's having.

Scott said...

I agree, enty. She waited 70 years to decide whether or not to have a child? That's absurd and irresponsible. Their child will not be able to live a normal childhood(I could only assume) and parents are the nurturers. Who's gonna explain the birds and bees to this child-are they just gonna give it straight to their child while on bedrest?

I hate people like this.

cruise2losechick said...

What do I think? I think they're a couple of fame-whores who haven't a conceivable notion (no pun intended) what it means to be a parent. I completely agree with you Enty, providing for orphans or children in challenging situations would be a much kinder, more altruistic display of parental affection and concern.

GladysKravitz said...

I'm with Miranda and I know it sounds mean, but sometimes I wonder when enough is enough. If 30 year olds aren't able to conceive, I do understand why they might try to stretch science and go to these lengths to have a baby. On the other hand, even for 30 year olds, what is so special about YOUR sperm and YOUR egg that you ignore the thousands and thousands of children needing loving homes?

I know this isn't a popular stance, especially to infertile people under 40, but it bothers me that people spend tens of thousands of dollars to make a baby that is imbued with such a special genetic code that it outweighs the presence of thousands of needy children who are waiting for a loving home.

For anyone over 45 to do this seems completely narcissistic and even cruel. Who wants their dad to attend their high school graduation in a wheelchair? No matter how much money is involved, a big inheritance doesn't make up for a parentless existence.

Even more so, what about the effects of having OLD parents, even if they remain alive? My parents were in their 40s when I was born, and I never went bike riding, hiking, or skiing with them because they were too tired to do any of that.

Heck, I learned to eat like Enty at my parents' house (and not to exercise), but I'm thinking that India isn't the place to go to hone one's childhood obesity skills.

donna said...

this topic always seems to set people off, and I need to add my humble opinion. As the 47 year old mother of 4 children, ages 25, 24, 4 and 5, let me tell you that enough is only enough when you feel that you can not contribute in any way to your children's lives. I love all of my children, and yes, the older ones got the younger, hipper version of the person I am today. But the younger ones are gifted with a more patient and less neurotic mother than the older ones. I have always believed that things happen for a reason, and my finding love and getting pregnant again at 42 and again at 43, was a blessing and actually stopped me from drinking and drugging myself well into the grave. Say what you will, but each situation is different and not all of us over 40 moms are selfish! some of us are actually the least selfish people you will meet!

AnonMom said...

It's beyond selfish, but I agree that they probably needed an heir. Being blunt, but I'm surprised they allowed a girl to be born.

There's a reason why woman physically cannot reproduce past a certain age. But, money talks more than reason.

Anonymous said...

I just can't imagine why she would want to have a child at this age. I'm a few years younger than she is, and there is NO WAY I would want to take on the responsibility of an infant/toddler/child at my age. I don't even especially want to hold your new baby. I raised three kids, I'm done.

shazzzba said...

THIS IS SOOOOOOO WRONG.....

Podbaydoor said...

I do agree with what Miranda, ea, but in this woman's case, blame society.

She had been trying to get pregnant without any luck for years. In her situation, if her husband dies before her (which is mostly the case) all of his property will go to direct male relatives, not her. Which means that in her old age she will become homeless without any financial support, since India doesn't have any sort of welfare support.
Sorry to say, but this child is her pension plan, it's either bare it or die.

jax said...

well i don't want to put an age limit on motherhood becasue as well all know there are a lot of kids being raised by their grandparents but i want to know if they have other kids and who in god's name would grant invitro to 70 year olds?

disgusting.

amster said...

I think when I am 70, the last thing I will want to do is take care of a baby. You have to feel sorry for the kid when he gets in school. His mom will be 80 when he is ten. He will will never hear the end of it from his classmates. I really pitty the kid if she is breastfeeding. She does look good for 70.

Molly said...

forget not being alive to see the kid graduate, what about being able to keep up with the energy of a child? this poor kid is going to be suffering because the old fogey's can't keep up. it's selfish AND stupid.

Lisa said...

If only young, beautiful, rich couples who will be together forever can procreate, we would be extinct within 100 or so years.

P.S. Amen, Donna!

Molly said...

donna, you're young. 70 is not young. you're comparing apples with oranges, imo.

cruise2losechick said...

As the daughter of parents who were in their 40's at the time of my conception, I have lived both the pros and cons of being a "late in life" baby. My parents were more financially sound than when my elder sisters were born (19 and 13 years before me), and there is a certain "life understanding" that comes with age, so in some regards, it was great. However here I am now, 47 years old with no surviving parent. I lost my mom when I was 42, and my dad just recently. My eldest sister on the other hand, got to reap the benefits of having both parents around well into her 60's. My parents were also a lot less energetic than younger parents of my friends (when I was a child), so there wasn't a lot of interactive activities. When my mom would come home from work, she was truly too tired to "deal" with things that are MUCH less difficult for a younger mom. I know this from personal experience as I had both of my children very early - in my early 20's. I could go on. Now. Let me tell you the OTHER side of the story. I became a grandma for the first time last year, at the age of 46. If I have a similar life expectancy of my parents, my beautiful grandson will have me in his life well into his 40's! For me, THIS is the age (in my 40's) that makes being a grandparent great! I can do all of the "fun" stuff on my time, and when he wears me out, I can hand him back to his mom and dad! Also, for the poster(s) who eluded to the fact that parents over 40 were getting a bad rap here, remember, the woman in this article is 70, not 40! There is a HUGE difference between 40 and 70! So I stand by my original comment. These people have no business bringing an innocent child into the world at their ages. IMO it's selfish, period.

donna said...

believe me molly, are you not preaching to the choir here .. i am a young 47 believe me, and the kids are helping me to stay that way .. i was responding to Gladys who wrote:

"For anyone over 45 to do this seems completely narcissistic and even cruel. Who wants their dad to attend their high school graduation in a wheelchair? No matter how much money is involved, a big inheritance doesn't make up for a parentless existence"

helenf said...

For those people who think even younger couples should not use IVF, I think you cannot truly understand infertility unless you experience it. Don't say 'oh I'd adopt' unless you are actually at that stage. How can you know exactly how you'd feel unless you are at that point?

Plus it is not easy to get adopt a child. It can take many years and thousands of dollars and even then adoption often falls through. There's a hell of a lot of red tape.

Sometimes people cannot afford adoption but can (whether due to insurance or the NHS in Britain) afford IVF. I'm not saying that is right or wrong, but it's often the case.

Saying infertility is a sign that someone shouldn't have kids is quite cruel. So it's not in god's (or whoever's) plans for one couple to get pregnant, but it is for the local crackhead down the road?

Infertility is a medical condition. Many women experience a burning desire to carry a child that will affect them for the rest of their days. If medical science can help them get their wish, I say go for it.

Yes, this is an issue close to my heart.

Molly said...

i was responding to Gladys who wrote:

"For anyone over 45 to do this seems completely narcissistic and even cruel. Who wants their dad to attend their high school graduation in a wheelchair? No matter how much money is involved, a big inheritance doesn't make up for a parentless existence"


ohhhh....well, i don't think gladys has kids and if you don't have kids, i'm sorry but you really don't get it.

i know a ton of women in their 40's who still have young kids. i don't know anyone who is 70 with young kids. 40 is the new 30. 70 is...too damn old.

donna said...

My argument has never been that this woman did the right thing, because when I first read it, I thought to myself, what is she nuts? Prolly what my friends all said behind my back when I was pregnant with the younger girls!! lol

but, I agree with you that those who dont have kids, will never get it, and when they do have them, boy are they in for a surprise!

jax said...

yes Gladys the lesbian has kids.
2 beautiful ones too.

Molly said...

yes Gladys the lesbian has kids.


who called her gladys the lesbian?

Grace said...

Hurray for parents who have kids in their 40s -- my dad was 45 when I was born and he had more energy and get-go than my friend's 28-year-old dad.

But 70 -- yeah, there are cultural issues going on that Americans don't understand, as mentioned above -- needing a male heir to take care of the mother who will otherwise be homeless.

This is India, folks. This is their reality.

Grace said...

Oh, yes, dad is still alive!

Nature Girl said...

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!

No matter how much the parents will love the child, they simply won't have enough energy or live long enough to truly care for him/her. No way.

I was born when my parents were in their 40's - suprise! - and now I'm 31 and I've already buried them and picked out the gravestone.

Although its unfortunate my parents will never meet any future children of mine, these new parents in India might not see THEIR child reach elementary school!

Selfish.

GladysKravitz said...

LOL. I'll call me Gladys the Lesbian.

But when I'm talking about having kids later in life, I'm talking more as Gladys. I'm almost 50 and yes, I'm wiser with my younger one(14) than I was with my older one (20), but I think most of that is due to EXPERIENCE with the older one, not necessarily age. My opinion about people older than 45 having kids just has to do with odds and with energy levels.

Also, money---it's VERY VERY expensive to do in vitro and it bothers me that someone in their late 40s would be that obsessed with their own gene pool that they would see fit to spend that much money on perpetuating it, instead of taking care of children who are already born and needing parents.

But I knew when I wrote that that a lot of people would disagree, and that's fine. Enty wasn't writing about 45 year olds. It's just my opinion.

But 70 year olds? In India?? Come on. That's just selfishness and some form of insanity. I know there are lots of children just waiting to be loved in India. Why would YOUR genes be that important?

GladysKravitz said...

Oh, and just as an aside, I don't think you have to have kids to "get it." I have a close friend who didn't have kids solely because she "got it." She didn't want to spend her life devoted to someone else's welfare. I have to admire her for her honesty and integrity. Kind of makes you wonder how Mariah Carey is going to be as a mom, though, doesn't it?

Molly said...

gladys, you do get it now that you've said more. but your friend got that she didn't want kids. that's great and more power to her, but that doesn't mean she really knows what it's like to have them. just as you don't get what it will be like to have teens until you have them. this is why, whenever friends say, 'not my kid', i hold off all judgment until we get there, because i know i don't know what it's like until i'm there. i also know saying 'not my kid' will come back to bite you in the ass...lol.

we're all more relaxed and wiser with number 2 than number 1. thank god!

cruise2losechick said...

Nature Girl, you said it. You and I, and others who are the "product" of parents who bear children in their 40's or later are living witnesses to what it is like from the child's perspective.

Yay for all those who have kids later in life and are super-parents who can do it all and still feel fulfilled, and then live to be a healthy 120 years old, popping out kids every decade but reality isn't typically quite so rosey whether a person is a U.S. citizen or a citizen of India. I believe another poster stated it very well by saying that there comes a time of "reason" - a time when you just HAVE to say, "Enough's enough!".

85 years old dealing with a 15 year-old hormonal, pubescent teen. Kids with parents of "normal" age have a difficult enough time as it is getting through that stage, feeling misunderstood and utterly embarassed by their parents...can you imagine how this child will feel? I hope I'm wrong in this case...it's very sad.

KellyLynn said...

Oddly enough, the idea of Mariah procreating gives me the heebie jeebies more than this couple procreating.

Molly said...

mariah is 70...in dog years.

helenf said...

I don't think 70 year olds should be having kids, because they won't be around to see them grow up.

But as I said earlier, I see nothing wrong at all with younger people seeking medical treatment to have kids. It's not 'obsessing over their gene pool' - it's just a natural desire to have their own kids. That may sound contradictory but it boils down to a basic feeling that they can't help - not a cold 'we must have children that carry our dna' decision.

If you had kids easily, you're going to struggle to get that. If you don't have any desire to have kids you probably won't get it either.

Miranda said...

"Oddly enough, the idea of Mariah procreating gives me the heebie jeebies more than this couple procreating."

At least we know her kids will be taken care of.

Lisa said...

There are no guarantees. My dad died when I was seven. He wasn't around to see me grow up and was a hell of a lot younger than 70 when I was born. My mother is in her 70's and runs circles around all her grandchildren.

bionic bunny! said...

there are no guarantees, period.
my SIL tried forever to get pregnant, and rounds and rounds of pills (which made her miserable) but i don't remember if they ever tried IVF. i always felt so bad because i thought she'd make a wonderful mom.
they finally adopted- one state adoption (from an addicted mom) and one private.
so here comes the nature vs. nurture argument: both girls spent their high school years in another state in schools for "difficult" children.

and IVF at 70 is ridiculous, no matter what, but i'm curious about a couple of things, mostly what the reasons behind it were, and the cultural/religious differences. they do seem to be well dressed, so they have money... actually i have a LOT of questions! i mean, they couldn't have actually used her eggs! hell, i'm only 49 and mine have been dead for at least 5 years!
TMI?

bionic bunny! said...

OMG, i googled this, and this is the second time THIS YEAR that a 70 yr. old has given birth by IVF!
the other woman had twins!

Hotseat said...

perhaps if there wasn't such a despicable caste system there, these people could have adopted a child. i'm sure there is no shortage of children in need in a country of over one billion.

bionic bunny! said...

amen, hotseat!

PJ Nelson said...

GladysKravitz said... "I have a close friend who didn't have kids solely because she "got it." She didn't want to spend her life devoted to someone else's welfare. I have to admire her for her honesty and integrity."

That would be me but I didn't know we were friends :) I have had dogs since 1991... they are my kids because I am not ever going to be willing to have kids - and it's a physical impossibility too.

notvotingforsuckno said...

I cannot have kids and I get so sick of people weighing in on what it is "correct" for us to do. I do not want to give birth, so I decided to adopt from another country. Many people ask, "Why not adopt a needy baby here in the U.S.?" as if it is their business.
Believe me, adoption can be ridiculously hard (We were on the Viet Nam wait list for almost a year before it closed.) and any woman who is in her 40s has every right to consider in vitro because she will most likely wait at least a year for a U.S. baby (and this is one with drug exposure or something like that). She will wait 3 years for China, she can't get an infant in Russia and they don't always test for FAS. If either parent has any kind of even mild health problem, Korea won't deal with them. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Guatemala are all closed for hague violations. Not all agencies work with Ehtiopia or Haiti. And with DSS, the goal is often to place the child with family members or to allow the parent about a year to rehabilitate themselves while the child is in your care. At least, that is how it is in this state. Please think about this before you make comments about women (of appropriate age) go about making their dream come true. A dream, by the way, that comes so easily and naturally to other people.

Grace said...

The 70-year-old couple who had twins were so desperate for a male heir that they spent their life savings and took out a bank loan for IVF.

"We already have two girls but we wanted a boy so that he could have taken care of our property."

I think this is the reality of India.

shakey said...

Geez, I'm 46 with a 7 year old (just the way things worked out), and I feel bad that he doesn't have younger parents.

Had a friend in high school whose father was in his 70s. She found that very, very hard. He didn't understand why she balked at his controlling everything in her life. He raised her the way things were done when he was that age, which was late 1900s/early 1920s.

I imagine the mother kept the child even if she was a girl because that was her one and only shot. I'm confused - doesn't a womb have to be viable, and wouldn't this woman have gone through menopause already?

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