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Economy

What’s wrong with elderly women giving birth?

Adriana Iliescu  with her daughter. The Romanian woman gave birth for the first time in 2005 while aged 66.  Reuters
Adriana Iliescu with her daughter. The Romanian woman gave birth for the first time in 2005 while aged 66. Reuters 

A 59-year-old plans to have a baby through IVF and dissenting voices can be heard everywhere from the newspapers to the office watercooler. But is there really any reason why we should have a problem with the idea, asks medical ethicist Daniel Sokol.

Imagine walking past a poster on the street. It shows a mother and baby. The mother, however, is old enough to be the baby’s grandmother.
The initial reaction of many passers-by, upon being told that this grey-haired and wrinkled woman is the mother, would be one of revulsion. There is something deeply unnatural about the image.

These are the thoughts that many have had in response to the news that Susan Tollefsen, who became a mother at 57, is now considering IVF treatment again at the age of 59.

But is there a rational basis for concern?