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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 06:32 GMT
'World's oldest mum' raps critics
Adriana Iliescu during a news conference in a Bucharest hospital
Iliescu said the child's birth was "the will of God"
A 66-year-old Romanian woman thought to be the oldest recorded mother has dismissed concerns that she is too old and frail to bring up a child.

Adriana Iliescu, who underwent fertility treatment for nine years, spoke at a Bucharest hospital 48 hours after giving birth to a baby girl.

"Each person has a mission in life, and may be this was my mission," she said.

She also rejected criticism by the Romanian Orthodox Church which said her actions were "selfish".

"If this child is born, it is also by the will of God," Mrs Iliescu said at a news conference at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital.

"Today is a happy day for me, because I can see my daughter. I have touched her hand and she squeezed my finger," she said.

She added that "concern about the coming days is unjustified" because "nobody can predict the future".

'Baby catching up'

Mrs Iliescu, a retired university professor and author of children's books, said she hoped the child would follow in her footsteps.

Baby Eliza Maria in hospital in Bucharest
Baby Eliza Maria was born prematurely by Caesarean section

She said earlier she was optimistic about her future as a mother, claiming her family had a history of longevity.

The girl, named Eliza Maria, was born five weeks premature by Caesarean section after her twin sister died in the womb.

But doctors said that Eliza Maria, who weighed just 1.4kg (3lb), was now breathing normally.

"The baby is developing normally given her prematurity and is catching up, in terms of weight," said Bogdan Marinescu.

Dr Marinescu, who carried out the fertility treatment, earlier justified the procedure by saying she was in an appropriate condition to give birth.

Mrs Iliescu's case has led to calls by Romanian officials for a public debate on the medical and ethical consequences of fertility treatments.

Hear how the 'oldest mum' responds to her critics

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