Oldest Woman To Give Birth Dies, Raising In Vitro Fertilization Ethics Issues

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

Ethics have yet to catch up with technology on the fertility question, but this news item begs for nations to pass strict laws on who qualifies for in vitro fertility treatment:

MADRID -- A Spanish woman who deceived a U.S. fertility clinic about her age and became the oldest woman to give birth has died at 69, leaving behind 2-year-old twins, newspapers reported Wednesday.

Bad cases make bad law. So Maria del Carmen Bousada's decision to become pregnant at age 66 by deceiving a U.S. fertility clinic is flawed from the start. She told the Los Angeles clinic where she was treated that she was 55, not 65.

It's tricky business passing judgment on women's fertility decisions because men have sired children late in life since the Old Testament described Methuselah's feat:

Gen:5:25: And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech.

Most commentators refer to more verifiable instances of late fatherhood, but you get my point.

I won't pass judgment on Bousada's decision but I would like to point out several facts. First, adoption agencies place age limits on would-be adoptive parents. So why can't countries or states adopt similar laws regarding fertility treatment? And let's hope that most older women who are stricken by a desire to parent try foster parenting first: While adoption is tough for older people, hundreds of thousands of parent-less children need loving surrogates to stand up and step forward.

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By Bonnie Erbe