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Should there be an age limit for in-vitro fertilization?

Posted by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 5:50 AM
  • 9 Replies

What do you think? Should there be an age limit for in-vitro fertilization?


A 59-year-old woman has become the oldest person ever to be offered fertility treatment by a British clinic.

Doctors at the private London Women’s Clinic on Harley Street, one of the most successful IVF units in the country, have unanimously agreed to help Susan Tollefsen conceive.

Mrs Tollefsen, a retired teacher who turns 60 in October, said: ‘I’m still so full of life and healthy at 60 I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be treated.’

Until last week’s decision, older women have had to travel abroad for treatment – so-called ‘fertility tourism’ – because Government guidelines say the NHS should not recommend IVF to women over the age of 40 and private clinics generally will not treat women older than 50.

But in a move that has provoked an ethical storm over whether post-menopausal women have the right to fertility treatment, the clinic has decided to revise its policy.

Mrs Tollefsen already has a two-year-old child, conceived at a Russian clinic after she was refused treatment in the UK because of her age.

There are now calls for an upper age limit for fertility treatment to be enshrined in law, rather than simply a guideline.

Clinicians usually refuse to offer to treat women older than 50 because of health concerns, the reduced chances of success, and fears for the upbringing of children with such an old parent. Critics claim that women who put off motherhood until later in life are selfishly putting their own needs before a child’s.

Clinics also risk having their licences suspended if they do not take the welfare of any resulting children into account when providing IVF treatment. However, they do not have to inform the regulators if they are treating an older woman.

Normally, private clinics treat women over 50 only in exceptional circumstances, for example if she still has a menstrual cycle.

'Other women my age should do this too'

That Mrs Tollefsen will now receive help demonstrates how concerns about upper age limits have relaxed. In sharp contrast, Elizabeth Buttle, who also gave birth at 60 in 1997, received IVF treatment only after lying about her age, telling doctors she was 49.

It is feared that last week’s decision by the London Women’s Clinic could lead to a flood of older women seeking treatment.

Last night, Tory MP Nadine Dorries described the plans as ‘preposterous’ and called for Parliament to intervene with new laws setting an upper age limit for IVF.

She said: ‘Once you pass the point of natural conception, 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.’

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by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 5:50 AM
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Replies (1-9):
Jynnifer292
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 7:21 AM

I think it is a decision that should be left up to the individual.  I think it is foolish to risk pregnancy at 60 but I also think it is foolish to smoke, drink, do drugs, sleep around etc. We should not be able to control what someone else does with their own life, body, child.

glitterteaz
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 7:24 AM

More power to the woman but I would never want to raise a kid at her age. I have one kid left in the house and teenagers are a miserable lot as it is!!!

mandarose
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 7:36 AM

I don't think that there should be an age limit but i think that every woman should have to go through a screening and all that good stuff just like they do for adoption. It's one thing to birth your own  child into an unstable situtation but it's another to have it done unnaturally.

valkay
by Bronze Member on Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:22 AM

I think so.  If our bodies were meant to have kids our whole life then we would have been made that way.

 

atlmom2
by Susie on Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:41 AM

In the US, I think there is an age limit.  Some of these other countries seem to have ladies lie or they do not care. Yes, there should be a limit.  Its not fair to the children either.  My Mom had me at 32 and I thought she was older than the hills compared to other Mom's.  Now I am sure kids that have mom's over 40 probably think that way.  I can't imagine having a Mom that when you start school she is 64 years old.  That should be retirement age. 

IF she lives to life expectancy the kid will be 20 at most when her MOm dies. My Dad died when I was 23 and its been 25 years.  I wish so much he was still around.  Why knowingly put your child through that pain of having you die when they are so young, or even younger for that matter.  My Mom was lucky to be in her 50's when her Mom died and her 60's when her DAd died.  That is impossible when you have a child so late in life.  Nothing is guaranteed but when you have a child at 59 you know you may not even see grandchildren.  I gave my Mom her first grandchild and I was 30 at the time.  She was in her 60's. 

CoeyG
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:47 AM

I see no reason for there to be an age limit.  If the woman at 59 is healthy there is nothing that would indicate she wouldn't be around for another 20 possibly 30 years or more and nothing indicates those years wouln't be active productive years. 

I wouldn't do it myself but my hats off to women who have had children past their 40 and 50s.

Jynnifer292
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 11:15 AM


Quoting mandarose:

I don't think that there should be an age limit but i think that every woman should have to go through a screening and all that good stuff just like they do for adoption. It's one thing to birth your own  child into an unstable situtation but it's another to have it done unnaturally.


My boss did ivf with her eggs and her husband's sperm. It wasn't happening naturally but it is their biological child.

Jynnifer292
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 11:23 AM


Quoting atlmom2:

In the US, I think there is an age limit.  Some of these other countries seem to have ladies lie or they do not care. Yes, there should be a limit.  Its not fair to the children either.  My Mom had me at 32 and I thought she was older than the hills compared to other Mom's.  Now I am sure kids that have mom's over 40 probably think that way.  I can't imagine having a Mom that when you start school she is 64 years old.  That should be retirement age. 

IF she lives to life expectancy the kid will be 20 at most when her MOm dies. My Dad died when I was 23 and its been 25 years.  I wish so much he was still around.  Why knowingly put your child through that pain of having you die when they are so young, or even younger for that matter.  My Mom was lucky to be in her 50's when her Mom died and her 60's when her DAd died.  That is impossible when you have a child so late in life.  Nothing is guaranteed but when you have a child at 59 you know you may not even see grandchildren.  I gave my Mom her first grandchild and I was 30 at the time.  She was in her 60's. 

My grandfather lived to 99, his sister to 98. My cousin has cancer and her chances of survival are not good. She is 38 and has three teenagers. Nothing is guaranteed. My husband and I were 32 and 38 when our first was born, our second at 35 and 41. I think we actually do more with our children than some of the younger parents we know.

I think that our bodies belong to us and nobody should be able to tell us what we can and cannot do with it. The more restrictions allowed, it is only a matter of time before one is put in place that effects us personally. For instance, hospitals that will not under any circumstances allow a vbac and put women through unneccesary surgery.

ajjs1972
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 11:24 AM

yes- there should, for both partners!

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