How old is too old when it comes to IVF?

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Published 14/04/2015 | 00:00

Deborah Coleman.
Deborah Coleman.
Frozen human embryos ready for use. But who can say what is the age that IVF should become unavailable?

There has been much debate about the German mother of 13 who is about to give birth to quadruplets.

The debate doesn't stem from the number of children she has or is currently carrying but rather her age.

Annegret Raunigk is 65 years of age and due to retire from her teaching career next year and yet, she is soon to become a mother again.

The story has sparked much debate about the ethics of IVF and egg and sperm donation.

Such scientific advancements cannot be dismissed yet should they be readily available to everyone, simply because they want them to be?

Many have lashed out at those who expressed concern over the woman's age and reasons for embarking on a pregnancy at this stage of her life.

The ageism and feminism arguments don't wash here though. There are many, many things that age should not be a barrier to but just because science makes something possible, it doesn't mean it is advisable.

Carrying quadruplets at the age of 65 having already given birth to 13 children is a very risky and unconventional road to take.

IVF can give a precious gift to so many people who struggle to conceive and there is no doubt that it is a fantastic option but I don't understand why anyone at the age of 65 would pursue it.

Ms Raunigk is quoted as saying she wanted to give her nine year old daughter a younger sibling but surely she hasn't let this dictate her decision.

Many will say that age shouldn't be a barrier to any decision and if the woman is healthy and willing to raise the children then where is the problem?

Where do you draw the line? Who can say what is the age that IVF should become unavailable?

Perhaps this is the most practical way to look at it but while age is only a number the age of 65 plus four newborns is one thing but there is a much slimmer chance the woman will live long enough to see the children reach adulthood.

None of us can predict how long we will live but if you have a baby in your sixties you are taking a huge chance and banking that you will enjoy a long and healthy old age.

Wexford People

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