A woman in her 60s has become the oldest woman to give birth in Australia. Aged 62 (earlier reported as 63), the woman from Tasmania delivered a girl by caesarean section, in a private hospital in Melbourne, on the Australian mainland. She was 34 weeks pregnant. Both the baby and her mother are said to be doing well. The infant is understood to be the first child for the unidentified mother and her 78-year-old husband. The hospital issued a statement, saying “the family has advised that they are not seeking any publicity now, or in the future” and that they would uphold their right to privacy.
The baby girl was reportedly conceived overseas with the assistance of IVF and a donor embryo. The previous Australian record was held by a woman who gave birth at age 60, in 2011.
The president of the Australian Medical Association, OBGYN Dr Michael Gannon, condemned the record-breaking event on Twitter, commenting that there are “greater priorities in women’s health” and that the decision to have a child so late in life was “selfish, wrong.”
“This is a rights issue. Consider rights of the child, society, taxpayer. Madness. Not designed to have kids in 60s’.”
Gannon’s comments drew criticism online, with some asking why his judgment was not aimed at the doctor who performed the procedure or the child’s father, who is even older than the mother.
Professor Michael Chapman, president of the Fertility Society of Australia, told The Guardian, “No one should be criticizing her. I think to do so is wrong. I think we’re all selfish in having babies and one of the main motives of having them is self-fulfilment and selfishness, so I don’t criticize her at all for that.”
However, he added, he would never recommend someone of her age fall pregnant and said that, if he were her treating doctor, he would have been “terrified” about the health risks to her and her child.