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IVF treatment allows a woman to give birth – at age 75

<em><strong>A demonstration of IVF treatment.</strong></em>
A demonstration of IVF treatment.

Another case has been witnessed in India of a woman in her seventies giving birth after receiving in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. 

A resident of Sangod, a rural town in Rajasthan, the woman – reportedly aged 75 – gave birth on Saturday, October 12th, to a daughter after conceiving via IVF treatment in March. The birth was performed by Caesarean section only six-and-a-half months into the pregnancy, after a scan found danger to the health of both the mother and child. 

The child was born underweight and necessitated being taken to the newborn intensive care unit (ICU) of a separate hospital, where a team of paediatricians is monitoring their health. The birth mother remained at the Kinkar Hospital near Kota where the procedure was carried out. 

“Apart from elderly age, the woman has a single lung following tuberculosis 45 years ago and also has hypertension so the C-section was difficult,” said Dr Abhilasha Kinkar, who carried out the procedure. “The elderly woman had no child and she had adopted a boy of their relatives but her daughter-in-law used to beat her after which she decided to give birth to a child of her own.” 

Of the risks to the pregnancy inherent to pregnancy at such an advanced age, Dr Kinkar said “I comprehended her complications of conceiving a child at such elderly age when she approached me around a year ago but she was adamant…there are only twenty to forty percent success chances in IVF technique and it gets even more complex in such elderly age but thankfully the elderly woman has witnessed success.” 

IVF, when administered to women in later life, is the subject of controversy. In India earlier this year, a case was observed when a 74-year-old woman gave birth to twins after receiving IVF treatment. A joint statement of the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, the Indian Fertility Society, and the Academy of Clinical Embryologists said that the organisations were “deeply appalled” by the case, calling it a “deplorable omission of ethics, morality and misuse of ART [assisted reproductive technology].” 

The event led to calls for a law to be formulated at the central level setting age restrictions for those wishing to undergo the procedure. The latest case of childbirth is likely to reignite the debate. 

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