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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

World's oldest woman to give birth dies



Maria del Carmen Bousada, a Spanish woman who lied about her age to a U.S. fertility clinic in an effort to have children, died over the weekend. She was 69 and leaves behind her 2-year-old twin boys.

It was in 2006 when Bousada told a clinic in Los Angeles that she was 55, the maximum age the clinic would perform the procedure on a single woman. Says an Associated Press story: "Guinness World Records said the 66-year-old was the oldest on record to give birth and the case ignited fierce debate over how much responsibility fertility clinics have over their patients."

In an interview, Bousada said the clinic did not ask for identification and thought that because her mother lived to be 101, she would live long enough to raise the children. Bousada had lived with her mother for most of her life. When the older woman died, Bousada decided to finally have children. Bousada told the British tabloid News of the World: "Often circumstances put you between a rock and a hard place, and maybe things shouldn't have been done in the way they were done, but that was the only way to achieve the thing I had always dreamed of, and I did it."

Dr. Vicken Sahakian, director and owner of the clinic, told the AP that when he learned that she had lied about her age, "I figured something might happen and wind up being a disaster for these kids, and unfortunately I was right."

Sahakian maintains that nothing from the procedure would have caused her death. She was implanted with a younger woman's eggs and donated sperm and hormones were used to rejuvenate her uterus. Those hormone treatments last three weeks but Sahakian said they were not a cancer risk.

Bousada's brother said that she had died but would not give a cause. A Spanish newspaper, using an unnamed source, said that "she had been diagnosed with a tumor shortly after giving birth."

The debate will certainly rage on about older women giving birth and how much fertility clinics should be responsible when they perform these procedures without getting all the information.

What do you think? Could the procedure have ultimately led to her death? And should she have even tried to have babies at 66? As tired as I am now, I can't imagine trying to keep up with toddlers in my 60s.

-- Sherry Robinson

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:02am]


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