After a woman from Punjab gave birth to her first child in her 70s, following two years of IVF treatment, doctors have raised ethical and health concerns. Daljinder Kaur gave birth last month to a healthy boy after falling pregnant by her 79-year-old husband, following fertility treatment at a clinic in Haryana. Daljinder Kaur said the couple, married for 46 years, were overjoyed at finally having their first child.
“I feel blessed to be able to hold my own baby. I had lost hope of becoming a mother ever,” she said at her home in Amritsar.
She put her age at about 70 — a common scenario where many people don’t 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 child born to elderly parents, as well as health issues for the mother.
“There are ethical issues. In my opinion it is unfair to do such a procedure on a woman who is over 60,” Mr Jindal said. “The sheer fact that a woman in her 70s has to carry the weight of a child in her womb for nine months is stressful. “Then the question comes how are the parents going to look after the baby? That is also quite a task.”
The clinic in Haryana said the couple’s baby was conceived using Daljinder Kaur’s egg and her husband’s sperm after two previous unsuccessful attempts. The clinic’s doctor told news agency AFP on Tuesday that tests showed Daljinder Kaur was medically fine to carry the baby through pregnancy.
But Britain’s the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday quoted the clinic’s doctor saying donor eggs were used. The doctor declined to comment on Wednesday, saying it was not ethical of him to do so.
Gynaecologist Anshu Jindal, based in Meerut not far from the capital, said she tried to discourage women over the age of 60 from undergoing fertility treatment — for the sake of both mother and child.
“According to me it is not an age to have a baby. It will take a toll,” she said.