A 74-year-old woman in India has likely set a world record by giving birth to twins, saying she and her husband always wanted children but never thought it would happen. 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.
The news was met with bemusement and criticism from medical professionals and politicians, questioning why IVF was administered to such an elderly woman and asking what will become of the children in the future.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Dr Umashankar said: “She was referred to us by a medical board who declared she was healthy enough to go through the procedure. To me it was just another case.”
When asked about the criticism over the ethics of giving IVF to a woman of her age, he said: “That’s an emotional question. I can’t answer that.”
Mrs Mangayamma married Yerramatti Raja Rao in 1962, and the couple had not managed to conceive after 57 years of marriage.
Local reports say a woman who lives in the same neighbourhood as the couple managed to conceive at the age of 55 via IVF.
The septuagenarian couple apparently drew inspiration from her case and approached IVF experts at the clinic late last year, who decided to help them.
As she had already gone through menopause some time ago, doctors had to obtain eggs from a donor and fertilise them with sperm from her husband, the news agency ANI reported.
“It is another world record. Mangayamma and her husband are also happy,” Dr Umashankar said. Critics questioned the ethics of proceeding with the pregnancy, with some claiming it was down purely to set a new record.
“No it was not for any record. It’s the media that’s talking about records,” said Dr Umashankar. “We didn’t tell anyone or publicise it, she has been in hospital for the last nine months under our care.
“She has a strong family network and they will help her.”
The average cost of IVF in India is between 100,000 to 125,00 rupees but Dr Umashankar said the clinic waived the fee.
“I did not think she could get pregnant so we did not feel right charging her. Medically it’s a marvel that she did.”
The oldest mother until now on record was another Indian woman, Daljinder Kaur fro Amritsar, in Punjab, who, in 2017, gave birth to a baby at the age of 72.
Pregnancy over the age of 50 has become more common due to advances in medical technology in recent years but the ethics debate rages on. Doctors say that risks posed to women getting pregnant also increases proportionally with age, especially in their forties.
Source: Telegraph UK