My kids pretty much tell anyone who will listen that their 42-year-old mom should have another baby. And each time I hear those words, I promptly respond with: “That ship has sailed.” Well, it looks like that ship hasn’t sailed for everyone who’s considered to be of “advanced maternal age.” Last week, a 64-year-old woman from Burgos in northern Spain gave birth to healthy twins. That is not a typo: She was 64. Sixty. Four.
The babies — a boy and girl — were delivered by Cesarean section by doctors at Recoletas Hospital. And according to the medical team, the twins are in perfect health. The woman, who is being identified only by the initials M.I.A., had undergone IVF treatment in the United States before returning to Spain.
This isn’t the first time M.I.A. has made headlines for giving birth. Six years ago at age 58, she had her first child at the same hospital. However, a Spanish newspaper, Diario de Burgos, reports the woman’s daughter has been in the custody of local authorities since 2014 because she didn’t attend school and was not properly cared for.
And while being able to give birth at age 64 seems like a (terrible) miracle, fertility after age 50 is actually not impossible. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 600 babies were born to women between 50 and 54 years old in 2012. By comparison, there were only 144 such births in 1997.
Less than a year ago, an Indian woman named Daljinder Kaur — believed to be at least age 70 — gave birth to a baby boy, the first for her and her 79-year-old husband. Kaur also went through IVF to bear the child.
Even though these women have been able to carry and give birth to healthy babies, doctors routinely warn of the heightened risk of health complications as maternal age increases.