As you know, John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston is pregnant at age 47, but CNN says “that’s nothing.” Two doctors in New York helped women in their mid-fifties get pregnant last year. And in 2008, an Indian woman named Rajo Devi (pictured), aged 70, gave birth for the first time.
Dr. David Kreiner and Dr. Jamie Grifo say “these days, it’s not that difficult to get pregnant in your late 40s or early 50s — as long as you have two things: someone else’s eggs and at least $16,000.”
Kreiner, of East Coast Fertility in Plainview, New York, says women could get pregnant with donor eggs at up to 80 years old. “Theoretically, there’s no age limit. But it hasn’t been tested.”
The chances of getting pregnant naturally over age 45 are “slim to none,” doctors say. The chances of “conceiving naturally at that age are less than 5 percent each month, and the miscarriage rate in the first trimester is 70 to 80 percent.” Even using IVF treatment with a woman’s own eggs at that age will likely not lead to pregnancy. Kreiner says, “Forty-three is pretty much my cutoff for IVF with a woman’s own eggs. Occasionally, I’ll do it at 44, but the success rate is under 5 percent. When I explain this to women, they don’t even want to try.” When women over 45 use donor eggs with IVF, however, their success rate for conception hovers around 75 percent.
Doctors say in order to have a child using donor eggs later in life, “you have to be screened, which includes blood tests and ultrasounds of your uterus to make sure you can carry a baby. Then you have to have a psychological evaluation to make sure you’re mentally prepared to have a baby to whom you’re not genetically related.” That’s where I wonder if adoption isn’t a better option for women looking to have children in their 40’s and 50’s. The child won’t be related to you regardless, and pregnancy at that age can bring on medical complications. Helping a child who is already here seems like perhaps a more valiant use of that desire to be a mother.
Kreiner, 54, wonders why women his age would want to become first-time mothers. “To have the energy to be a new mother at my age, that’s very tough,” he said. “I personally just can’t relate to the desire to be a mother at my age.” But he says, “I rule out my own feelings as being irrelevant,” adding that he’ll help “women get pregnant into their 50s as long as they’re healthy enough to do so.”
What do you think about women having children in their late 40’s or early 50’s? If you have had or are having a child at that age, do you feel experiencing pregnancy is important, even if the child is not related to you? Would you/did you adopt?
Photo: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images