NEW DELHI – Doctors in India raised ethical and health concerns yesterday after a woman gave birth to her first child at age 70, following two years of IVF treatment. Daljinder Kaur gave birth to a healthy baby boy last month after falling pregnant with her 79-year-old husband, following fertility treatment at a clinic in northern India.
Kaur said the couple, married for 46 years, were delighted to finally have their first child after enduring years of ridicule in a country where infertility is sometimes considered a curse from God. “I feel blessed to be able to hold my own baby. I had lost hope of ever being a mother,” Kaur told AFP from her home in the city of Amritsar.
“I used to feel empty. There was so much loneliness.” Kaur put her age at around 70, a common scenario in India where many people do not have birth certificates, while the clinic said in a statement that she was 72. But fertility expert Sunil Jindal raised questions about the future of a born child. to elderly parents, as well as health problems for the mother. “There are ethical issues. In my opinion, it is unfair to perform such a procedure on a woman over 60,” Jindal told AFP.
“The mere fact that a 70-year-old woman has to carry the weight of a child in her womb for nine months is stressful. “Then the question arises, how are the parents going to care for the baby? That is also quite a task.” The clinic, in the northern state of Haryana, told AFP the couple’s baby was conceived using Kaur’s egg and her husband’s sperm after two previous failed attempts.
But Britain’s Guardian newspaper yesterday quoted the clinic’s doctor as saying that donor eggs were used. The doctor refused to comment to AFP yesterday, saying it was unethical on his part to do so. Gynecologist Anshu Jindal, based in Meerut, not far from the capital, said she tried to discourage women over 60 from undergoing fertility treatment, for the sake of mother and child. “According to me, it is not an age to have a baby.
It will take its toll,” she told AFP. The clinic’s doctor told AFP on Tuesday that tests showed Kaur was medically fit to carry the baby during the pregnancy. The case is not the first in India: a 72-year-old woman from the state of Uttar Pradesh would have given birth to twins in 2008, also by IVF.-AFP