The ethics of fertility treatments are once more in the headlines after a 62-year-old Spanish woman confirmed she was pregnant with her third child, despite struggling to find a doctor to perform IVF at her age.
Doctor Lina Alvarez, who is currently eight months pregnant, revealed to Agencia EFE that she had always wanted to be a mother again but was refused on multiple occasions.
“But one gynaecologist in Madrid – who I won’t name as I haven’t checked if he agrees – said I should take some tests, and that if I passed we would try with an implanted embryo,” the mum-to-be explained.
“There was only a six per cent chance, but I got pregnant, with a girl.
“And I feel fine and lead a normal life.”
Dr Alvarez already has two sons, aged 27 and 10; the former was born with cerebral palsy and requires constant care, while her youngest was conceived via IVF, a full 10 years after menopause.
“I had the same criticism when I had my son at 52,” Dr Alvarez continued. “But I don’t have a generational conflict with my children, I am open to life and healthy.
“When she is 30, I’ll be 90… She’ll have been raised and life expectancy for women is growing all the time.”
While there is currently no law limiting the age a woman can undergo fertility treatments, many doctors agree that the health risks involved – namely premature birth, hypertension, diabetes and excessive haemorrhaging during labour – isn’t worth the risk.
“If we take it that a woman does not get pregnant naturally after 50, we should not contribute to that overload on the body,” Juan Antonio Velasco, director of a Spanish IVF clinic, pointed out, while José Antonio Castilla, the former secretary general of the Spanish Fertility Society, agreed that: “This person is taking on a huge risk.”
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