Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

How Old is Too Old To Give Birth? May 21, 2010

Kelly Preston and John Travolta are expecting. She is 47 and the media is already talking about her “miracle baby.” While Ms. Preston is nowhere near to being the oldest woman to give birth (that honor goes to a 70-year-old Indian woman who gave birth to twins in 2008) it does raise the question: How old is too old?

Last year a Spanish woman who lied about her age to obtain IVF treatments died at aged 69. She left behind two-year-old twins who are now orphans.

These stories are extreme, of course, but how old is too old to have a baby? Just because the technology is available, should we use it? What do you think?

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3 Responses to “How Old is Too Old To Give Birth?”

  1. Jennifer Gill Says:

    I’ve been wanting to respond to this, but not wanting to be judgmental. So I think you’ve helped me, by asking the questions, to think outside my exasperation. I guess the only person I can comfortably answer those questions for is me. I have opinions about IVF that are mostly age-free – the Octomom is just as selfish as the Spanish mother you mention, in my eyes. I don’t think there’s an age cutoff if pregnancy happens naturally and the parent is willing (or rather, there is a natural cutoff and I don’t think it should be overridden). There are definitely more potential complications, but perhaps an older parent is best able to handle them.

    I guess I don’t think having the technology is reason enough to use it. It seems to put children on the level of boob jobs and designer handbags; if Princess wants it, she can buy it. However, I’ve never had the kind of money that it would take, so I can’t say that wealth wouldn’t change me. From here, it looks selfish, and I don’t think ego is ever a reason to conceive. Then again, maybe that’s evolution, and I shall be phased out naturally.

  2. lmanterfield Says:

    Well said, Jennifer. I’m also struggling to put my finger on why the whole idea of buying babies makes me squeamish. I don’t begrudge any woman who is willing or able to have the baby she desires, and yet there is something that doesn’t feel quite right.

    I guess my opinion and I will also be naturally selected out of the picture.

    • Jennifer Gill Says:

      Just revisiting this today, and it strikes me as even more important – maybe we need to be the support and loving guides to children in our lives who might just end up like us. I need to remember the people who shaped my life, the adults I admired as a child and teenager who maybe didn’t have children (there were some who did, and yet still seemed undefinable as “parents”), and who treated me as a whole, special person with something to offer. I need to tap into those role models, and think about how I might be important to someone years from now, when they realize as I did that the 2.5 and white picket fence ain’t happening for all of us. I guess we do have a legacy to pass on.


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