Ahmedabad: Jivuben Rabari became a mother at the age of 70, after struggling to conceive for almost 45 years! In the eighth month of her pregnancy, she delivered her child by C-section.
Jivunben who is reportedly 70 years old and her husband who is 75 hail from Kutch in the state of Gujarat. They had been struggling to have their own baby since four decades and were unsuccessful. They finally were able to have their child through IVF (In vitro fertilization).
Despite being aware of the risks, Jivuben travelled 150 kms twice in a month for the IVF procedures!
Jivuben reached out to Dr Naresh Bhanushali in Bhuj after learning about IVF treatment through family members.
They welcomed their son last month through C-section in the eight month of pregnancy as the mother’s blood pressure was high. The hospital had a team of doctors on standby for this case because of the many risks involved.
Dr. Naresh Bhanushali has said to the media, “When Jivuben and her husband first came to us, we told them that they couldn’t have a child at such an old age, but they insisted. They said that many of their family members have undergone this procedure as well.”
The doctor further added that they were counselled for 3 months before the decision and were explained how dangerous it was to have a baby at this age. However they kept insisting on having their own child so the doctor finally gave in to their request.
In spite of knowing the risks involved the couple was positive about having the baby and they also travelled in a public bus for 150kms twice in a month for the procedure.
Having a child at 70 is full of risks!
The proud mother recently spoke about her baby and pregnancy journey in a press conference. Jivunben claims to be the oldest woman to become a mother. She doesn’t remember her exact age and does not have any documents but says she’s around 70 years. The current official record for the world’s oldest woman to become a mom is held by a woman in Spain who gave birth to twin boys when she was 66 years old.
Doctors say while cases of women giving birth in their 60s and 70s make news headlines there are many risks that are involved. Most late pregnancies are accomplished through IVF procedures.
Medical practitioners usually advise against older pregnancies as the child is likely to have abnormalities and it can also endanger the mother’s health. There could be complications such as high blood pressure, blood sugar and signs of damage to organs like kidney which can lead to pre term birth as well.
A mother at 70– miracle or selfishness?
Other than the various health concerns there are questions that how will the parents take care of their child. Would they be there to see their child grow up? What if they fall ill and have health issues, who would take care of the child then? These are important questions that need to be addressed as well.
There has been a rise in cases of older couples opting to have a baby through IVF. It is something to be celebrated as it is the realization of so many dreams and it also shows the advancement of medical science. However, we also need to have a look at the other side, the side we close our eyes to as it is too ugly.
We are in the 21st century but there are still many couples who are stigmatized for not having their biological child. Especially in villages you are looked down upon if you don’t have a child- your own flesh and blood. They suffer isolation, humiliation and ridicule by many of their family members.
Couples are okay to stay without a child for decades but they don’t consider adoption. The ones who do are not supported by their family or friends; this puts the emotional well-being of the adopted child at risk too.
In 2016, Daljinder Kaur a woman from Amristsar gave birth to a baby boy when she was 72 years of age. Her pregnancy made headlines and also raised various questions about ART(assisted reproductive technology) for older people. Many called her pregnancy irresponsible and questioned the couple’s decision. However the doctor who assisted them argued that giving birth is a fundamental right and should not be determined by a person’s age.
Kaur who had two failed attempts at IVF and underwent the treatment for almost two years said she had lost all hopes of becoming a mother ever and she feels blessed to hold her own baby finally.
Older women becoming mothers are judged, but no criticism for older men becoming fathers!
Women embracing motherhood at a later age makes headlines, but there are no such articles about men. Older dads are more common than older moms. It’s completely normal for a man to choose to be a father when he is old but when the same decision is taken by a woman, we are quick to judge and criticize!
Women as young as 35 are judged when they decide to have a baby saying it’s too late and it is best to have a child as early as possible in a marriage. They are bombarded with suggestions and unsolicited advice about the pros and cons of late motherhood.
Whereas for men the subject rarely comes up when they decide to be fathers after a certain age. This speaks a lot about the society that we live in. Isn’t the biological clock ticking for men too? Or there is very little knowledge or interest in male fertility and the risks associated about the health of their offspring.
It takes more than just courage to take a decision of having a baby at the age of 70. A woman’s body goes through so many changes during pregnancy; some of these changes are visible like your increasing belly while other changes in your mental state like tiredness and forgetfulness are not seen.
Let us celebrate this incredible pregnancy journey of this woman. However let us also take measures in educating people about the various other options available like adoption.
At the end of the day let’s remember that all children bring happiness and brighten up their parent’s life!