Babies over 60: miracles of birth or distasteful intervention? 11



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Anyone who sat back and watched Liz Hayes present on ‘Late Bloomers” on Sixty Minutes last night would no doubt have formed an opinion about the story on women over 60 and some much older, giving birth to firstborn children.  Being over 60, you know more about how your bodies function, how tired you get, how much you might have wanted children at any age, and how much you fear your own mortality more than the reporters making the story.


If you missed the story, it provided a snapshot of several mothers throughout the world who had given birth between the ages of 50 and 65 with the help of donated eggs and either their younger husband’s sperm, or donated sperm.  All of the women had relied on IVF for conception and had had what looked to be healthy happy children.

You can watch it here… 

But they were growing up with mothers in their sixties, with at best 20-30 years of life ahead of them at current average mortality rates.  The story presented this as not miraculous, but rather, exasperating.


Whilst these mothers got the babies they always wanted and never had for a variety of reasons earlier in life, is it fair to do this to the children?  Is it an appropriate step for the older women?


Are these babies miracles of nature or a challenge the older ladies shouldn’t have taken on at such an age?


How do you feel about IVF and medical research being used in this way to make women over 60 into first time mothers?


Would you have contemplated this should it have been available to you?


image: from Channel 9, 60 Minutes program

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. As a 62 year od grandmother who regularly minds (for extended periods of time) my 6 and 12 yr old grandchildren, I cannot fathom having young children at my age. It breaks my heart to think I may not see my grandchildren educated, married and have children so it would be the same if I were a parent of a young child.

  2. This is a big can of worms, but I’ll open it.
    I know I am looking at this with biased eyes, as I was a teenage bride of the mid 60s. Had 5 kids before I was 30. Was a grandmother at 38 and a great grandmother at 57.
    While a woman may be fit and healthy at 50 and beyond, none of us know when our bodies (or minds) will start to pack it in. Why would one potentially doom a child to caring for a geriatric parent, before they have had a chance to marry and have their own children? To me it is just plain selfish.

  3. I was at school with a girl whose parents were older than those of the rest… I think her mum was in her early forties when my friend and then her sibling were born. My friend always felt uncomfortable and rarely invited friends home. It shouldn’t have mattered to her but it did and she vowed and declared that she would have children younger or not at all. I can only imagine how it would have been for her if her parents had been in their sixties when she and her sibling were conceived.

    I have to agree that the attitude of want to be parents at all costs is incredibly selfish. If you were unable to have children before this age then it was not meant to be.

  4. The reason women have menopause is because……..
    I’m sure there are more newsworthy things that Liz Hayes could have discussed rather than this drivel.

  5. For myself I would say no ,hell no ,but maybe if I had never been able to have a child and I was given this chance I might say yes if I thought I was fit and healthy enough so I wont judge them and they aren’t hurting anybody, and for the lady who says their kids would have to care for them , well I thought that was what nursing homes were for not many children care for their parents these days.

  6. I’m 64, younger than a couple of the mothers in last night’s report, and I’ve never had children. We would have loved them, but it wasn’t to be, so we have wonderful connections with nieces, nephews and god children; in fact we are both great god parents!!!

    The medical resources are so strained in this country, I don’t believe money should be spent so we can have a baby who, in all probability, our nieces/nephews will raise. The cost for me to produce a child should be allocated to a YOUNG childless couple. In the meantime we can spoil our great nieces/nephews!

  7. So many young women have babies that they are not physicaly or mentaly able to care for.The children are disadvantaged and abused.
    With maturity this won’t happen.Sure,the women might die before their children are mature but that goes for women of any age.
    My parents waited till the depression was over and my mother was 39 when she had her first child 43 when she had me and 2 more after the last one when she was 50. No invitro fertilisation in those days . We all grew up poor but happy, and where all on our lifes path when our parents died in their mid 60’s.
    With people living longer today I see no problem with a woman wanting a child at any age and no one else has any right to say they cant . If you want to stop someone having a child start with the schoolgirls.and the mentaly chalenged .

  8. Women go through menopause for a reason, it’s natures way of saying you’re past the age for having children.

  9. No, no, no! No thought is given to the welfare of the child when people go against nature in this way. It is so unfair. I empathise with older women who have missed out on the joys of motherhood, for whatever reason, but they should accept things for what they are.

  10. At 69 now, and having had my two sons at the age of 35 and 37, and now, not even yet a grandparent, not feeling as robust nor being as healthy as I once was, I can’t see that having a child when into your 50s and sixties, is a great idea at all.

    I appreciate that there are women who might decide to have a child at over 50 but I wonder just how it will be for them when their child is 21 and they are already into their 70s. Somehow I do not feel it is fair to expect a child of a parent over 50 to be responsible for caring for an elderly and perhaps ailing parent, when their life has barely begun. Does a woman of say 60 years old having their first child, really think about how it might be when that child is, say, 21, and they are 80 or so? They are going to probably lose their mother while still relatively young, and when a 21 – 30 year old is out partying and arriving home in the early hours of the morning, are they going to enjoy not being able to go to bed at a reasonable hour at 80 or so? I somehow don’t think so.

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