What were they thinking? 74 year old Indian woman gives birth to twins via IVF

What were they thinking? 74 year old Indian woman gives birth to twins via IVF I was astounded this morning when I read the news from India of a 74 year old woman giving birth to twins via IVF, a new world record. According to The Telegraph: “Erramatti Mangayamma, who conceived through IVF, delivered twin… Read More »Custom Single Post Header

What were they thinking? 74 year old Indian woman gives birth to twins via IVF

What were they thinking? 74 year old Indian woman gives birth to twins via IVF

I was astounded this morning when I read the news from India of a 74 year old woman giving birth to twins via IVF, a new world record.

According to The Telegraph:

“Erramatti Mangayamma, who conceived through IVF, delivered twin girls at the Ahalya Nursing Home in Guntur, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
“I am very happy. God has answered our prayers,” Mrs Mangayamma told reporters after the delivery.
Her husband, Raja Rao, and other family members marked the occasion by handing sweets to an assembled crowd outside the clinic after word spread around the town.
A team of four doctors performed the caesarean operation. Dr Sanakkayala Umashankar, who led the medical team, said the mother and babies were doing well.”

Apparently the couple had been childless for 57 years, and had been referred to the doctor by a medical board. The children were conceived from Mr Rao’s sperm and eggs from an egg donor.

The obvious ethical questions that jump out are:

  • what were the medical risks for a 74 year old woman being pregnant?
  • given that carrying twins is even more risky than carrying a singleton, what risk assessment – of both Mrs Mangayamma and of the babies – was undertaken in allowing this woman to be implanted with two embryos?
  • given the age of  Mr Rao, what genetic risks were considered for the babies? The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, for example, recommends sperm donors not be aged over 40, so that potential hazards related to aging are diminished”. Here is a man producing sperm who is aged in his 70’s!
  • was the birth carried out in a nursing home – rather than a hospital-  because Mrs Mangayamma is a resident?
  • what capacity do Mr Rao and Mrs Mangayamma have to care for the children?
  • who is going to care for the children after they are born?
  • given that both Mr Rao and Mrs Mangayamma have exceeded the life expectancy in Andhra Pradesh of 68.5-  what is the life expectancy of both Mr Rao and Mrs Mangayamma in light of these events- and what impact will their deaths have on the children? It was- sadly- little surprise that the day after she gave birth that Mr Rao had a stroke and is how hospitalised.
  • who will then be caring for the children?
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