It’s 2021 and women are more in control of “if and when” they are going to have children than ever before.
Fertility treatments and alternative ways of becoming a parent are changing what parenthood looks like. While 74 is not the average age for new moms, Mangayamma Yaramati from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh gave birth to a healthy set of twins at 74, becoming the oldest women to give birth in 2019.
Although Mangayamma, her husband and their two healthy babies got a fairytale ending to their pregnancy journey, Doctors are concerned about her fertility doctor and gynaecologists decision to give an elderly woman fertility treatment at all. The Society for Assisted Reproductive technology considers women above the age of 37 as being at an advanced reproductive age with recent reports in the UK claiming that women as young as 35 were being denied fertility treatments because they were too old.
So how is it that Mangayamma was given fertility treatment at 73?
A Medically debatable decision
Although it is medically possible for a woman in good health to have a child through IVF and other fertility treatments at an older than the average age. The cut-off age for IVF in South Africa is 45 for a woman looking to use her own eggs and 50 for a woman looking to use donor eggs.
Other countries have similar age limits for the treatment as pregnancy and childbirth may be risky for both the mother and her child or children after a certain age.
While some doctors in India shared uncertainty over the decision to perform IVF on an elderly woman. Mangayamma’s doctor, Dr Uma Shankar who also delivered the children says Mangayamma’s health and that of her children was carefully monitored throughout the pregnancy and delivery ensuring all would be well.
Mangayamma’s birth story
Mangayamma’s birth story doe not begin at pregnancy, it begins when her 50-year-old neighbour gave birth to a healthy baby, Mangayamma and her husband who had never had children of their own but always wanted them told The Washington Post, they were inspired by their neighbour’s success.
Mangayamma’s husband says he had always felt guilty about not having children and felt that he nad his wife were being judged by their community.
Being at such an advanced age Mangayamma’s pregnancy was carefully monitored from her very first doctors appointment, through her pregnancy and during her c-section delivery. The healthy babies were born and Mangayamma was sedated to give her body time to recover and rest.
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