Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Sunday, 17 May 2009 10:32 UK

Age 'no issue' for oldest mother

IVF test tube
Most British clinics will not offer IVF treatment to women aged over 50

A businesswoman who at 66 is to become Britain's oldest mother says she does not have to defend her decision.

Elizabeth Adeney, of Lidgate, Suffolk, is eight months' pregnant after undergoing IVF treatment in Ukraine, according to the Sunday Mirror.

She told the paper her age was not important, claiming it is "how I feel inside" that matters.

Ms Adeney said she felt as young as 39 at times and was fitter than some of her younger employees.

"It doesn't interest me that I'm going to be the oldest mum in the country," she told the paper, before revealing she planned to give birth at a clinic in Cambridge.

Most British clinics will not offer IVF treatment to women over the age of 50.

'Fitter'

Ms Adeney, who runs a manufacturing business near her home and will be 67 in July, said: "I have young girls working for me in my factory and I'm fitter than half of them.

"I don't have to defend what I've done. It's between me, my baby and no-one else."

Professor Severino Antinori, who helped 62-year-old Briton Patricia Rashbrook give birth three years ago, said he was shocked at the prospect of Ms Adeney having a child.

"I respect the choice medically but I think anything over 63 is risky because you cannot guarantee the child will have a loving mother or family," he told The Sunday Times.

However, Dr Gillian Lockwood told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that improved life expectancy meant a healthy woman of 66 would probably live another 20 or 30 years.

Using donor eggs from a younger woman reduced the risks of miscarriage or abnormalities to the child, said Dr Lockwood, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.

She said it would be "unfair" to discriminate on ground of age alone, adding: "We don't prevent much younger women with serious health problems getting pregnant... even though they run much higher risks."



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