Related Topics: Menopause, Opinion, Pregnancy

Why it Doesn’t Pay to Second-Guess Nature – Part 2

A new test which determines when menopause will begin will allow women to have children at ever older ages.

AnnA Rushton

In part one of this article I discussed a new test which promises to predict the onset of menopause.

Dr Shirley Bond and myself have addressed this issue in the seminars that we have given on natural hormones and our view is that this is medically irresponsible. IVF should be a last resort for women wanting to have a family but who have been unable to do so.  Of course it is valuable in this context, but the bigger picture also needs to be addressed.  Is it sensible to encourage women on the verge of menopause to become pregnant when the risk to both mother and child is so greatly increased?

This test kit enables women to find out if their fertility is coming to an end and if it is to be used sensibly, in my view, then long before a woman reaches the end of her fertility it would make a great deal of sense to have everything else in place such as having her own fertility and health checked regularly, and that of her partner.

This is not even addressing the emotional and social implications of late motherhood. The oldest reported mother in the world is Rajo Devi Lohan from northern India who became a mother at the age of 70 after having fertility treatment and now the number of new mothers around the world who are collecting pensions has become too numerous to list.  So it certainly can be done, but should it be done?

We have made amazing advances in health care and treatments to slow the effects of aging but the reality is that even a 60-year-old mother will be facing those tricky teenage years in her 70s and may not live long enough to see her children grow up or have children of their own.  You can say that that is true of any of us as we could be knocked down by the proverbial bus any minute but the norm is that most parents do not expect to die before their children hit puberty, or even earlier.

Additionally, we do not have the energy after 60 that we had at 20, however much yoga we do or supplements we take. Of course a child brings amazing joy but it also brings enormous pressure.  The emotional impact of a new baby on a woman who already has grown up children, or grandchildren, can be severe and some older mothers have found that they have been severely at odds with their own families over this issue.

Rajo Devi Lohan lives in a country where life expectancy is just under 64 and 2009 saw the reported death of a Spanish woman who gave birth at 66 after lying to a Californian fertility clinic about her age. She left behind two-year-old twins and it is the future of the children we ought to be thinking about, not just the very natural desire of a woman to have a baby.

Use the comments section below to let me know what you think…

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