On the one hand, it makes sense to have kids while you’re still relatively young — in your 20s or 30s — so that you have the energy to keep up with them and take care of their needs better. On the other hand, it’s good to wait so that you’re financially and emotionally stable and so that you can enjoy life without kids for a bit first; it’s difficult to go to grown-up concerts and parties when you have little ones to take care of. Or you could just wait until you retire before having kids.
Susan Tollefsen plans to become pregnant via in vitro fertilisation (IVF) this year, giving birth after she turns 60 in October. The retired teacher already has a two-year-old daughter, also conceived via IVF. Of course, you’ve done the math — she’ll be 78 years old when the second child turns 18 and in her eighties by the time the kid finishes college. Despite this, however, doctors at one of the most successful IVF clinics in England have agreed to help Tollefsen conceive.
Meanwhile, conservative Member of Parliament Nadine Dorries called for a law to limit the age at which IVF can be used. “Once you pass the point of natural conception,” Dorries said, “that’s when you should stop. We need to legislate for this because inevitably society will have to pick up the cost later. Perhaps the cut-off point could be extended by a couple of years into the early 50s, but moving as far as 60 — which is a huge leap — is slightly preposterous.”
Personally, I couldn’t imagine intentionally starting on the adventure that is parenthood at that age — I’d be far more likely to take on wrangling a motorhome than a toddler — but I must also note that my in-laws are both in their mid- to late-seventies and quite capable of taking care of my kids a couple days a week. So while I don’t question Tollefsen’s ability to bear and raise a child at her age, I might be inclined to wonder about her sanity.