Saturday, May 06, 2006

Older mothers

The world press has faithfully reported another milestone in older mothers - Britain's oldest mother at the age of 63. She's 7 months pregnant with a donor egg. The articles are all full of disapproval of how someone can become a mother at that age - a small section on the added complications of pregnancy, and a much larger section on how she will be too tired to play with her children properly, won't live long enough to care for them etc, etc.

In general, from my own experience (my grandfather was 54 when my uncle was born, and was starting to be too old to do the vigorous playing he had dreamed of doing with his son - according to my mother) I'm somewhat wary of parents being too old. It's an individual thing, and given that I was 34 and 36 when my two boys were born, I can't throw too many stones.

But I find it incredibly annoying that none of this is ever said when an older man becomes a father. A few examples:

Rupert Murdoch (aged 72 when his most recent child was born)
Neville Wran (couldn't find details, but was at least 50, I think quite a lot more when his two children with Jill Hickson were born)
Paul McCartney (aged 60 when his most recent child was born)

Or don't fathers really matter in a child's life?


At 8:44 pm, Anonymous JenniferV said...

I love "she is very slim, blonde and in pefect condition: she fits all the criteria for maternity". And that is from her DOCTOR!!

At 10:12 am, Anonymous elsewhere said...

well, they do and they're good for throwing more than balls (at least in theory!)

At 11:53 am, Blogger Susoz said...

It's a difficult issue - speaking as someone who was 42 when my son was born. I tend to think that ART should only be used on women until around the age of latest menopause - which is about 58. Pregnancy is a huge strain on the ageing body. So there are ehtical considerations there.
As far as the baby/child is concerned - nothing is guaranteed for anyone - a 21 year old mother coould of course be killed at age 25. Given that the average lifespan for women is around 83, a 63 year old woman hopefully will see her child grow to adulthood.
Male fertility does decrease with age, so the older fathers are anomalies. There must be issues for children whose fathers are in their 80s (Tom Uren is another one) but I guess everyone has issues...


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