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Should There Be an Age Limit For Fertility Treatments?

I'm a firm supporter of fertility treatments that help women and couples have babies when health issues make it difficult. I always thought that young people would be the ones seeking out this kind of help, but I just read about a 59-year old woman who gave birth to triplets, all with a little medical help. Her body was obviously passed her prime and well into menopause, but she wanted a baby. In France, where she lives, it's illegal to help a woman have a baby if she can't procreate naturally, so she went to Vietnam, received treatment, and gave birth to two boys and a girl.

In several countries, it's fairly common for older women to have babies after undergoing fertility treatments. Ever since 1994, when Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori helped a 63-year-old have a baby, other doctors have followed suit. So my question to you is this: Do you think there should be an age limit for fertility treatments? If a women needs help having a baby, does she have a right to seek it regardless of whether she's in her 20s, 40s, or 60s? Share your thoughts below.


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Liz4aker Liz4aker 8 years
I agree with Aylee. It should be decided on a case by case basis. Is the woman healthy enough to carry to term and deliver? Will the age affect the health of a child? Again if the woman is financially able to have fertility treatment, then she probably is financially stable enough to provide for the future. We shouldn't make legal decisions on how good a parent will be. Yes the parents could die sooner than if the kids were had when the woman was in her 30s, but then should we decide whether or not a woman with a history of breast cancer in her family should have a kid? She too could die before the child reaches her 20s.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
I'm not going to say she woman over 55 (or in menopause) shouldn't be able to do it but I would think that they wouldn't want to take risk with the baby's health.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
I agree with Deidre- the idea of a 60 year old woman doing this is repugnant to me. Honestly, why not just foster some children? I've heard some of the greatest foster parents are around that age, and you could make such a difference in someone's life, without necessarily going through all the health issues, and leaving your kids parentless. Then again, I was raised by my grandparents, they were about 55 when they adopted me, and I'm 23 now, and they still function just fine as parents. Even though I personally don't like what this woman did, I'm not sure it's something you can legislate. Still, it's irritating. "Survival of the fittest. If you can't have babies, there's a reason. Chalk up to that being life and try to be fulfilled and happy without them. I don't believe in going against nature's plan." Disgustingly harsh. That is all. Please don't tell me this stems from some belief that God doesn't want otherwise healthy 20 and 30 year olds who really want babies not to be able to have them.
candace87 candace87 8 years
There should absolutely be an age limit. Well, these women should actually know by that age that having a child then would be selfish. What will happen when that child is growing up, and their mother or parents pass away before they're old enough to make it on their own? That's a horrible, selfish act on the mother's part.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
aylee, it is a very real possibility my father (and mother) are going to need care just as I am about to start embarking on a life of my own. They got to have their full lives before their own parents needed looking after but mine will be "elderly" just as I have children of my own and a career to think about. I am in grad school right now and it's possible I will go straight from grad school into a mountain of debt and then need to give up my career to provide full time care. So whilst grateful I am also VERY realistic about what having older parents means. It must be nice for anybody who could afford to drop out of their career/grad school to look after their elderly parents but I would not be able to do it so easily and so need to factor this in to any future planning I may do. I especially need to do this because my mother is incapable of looking after herself and my father is likely to go to an early grave because of it! My mother has just dropped her part-time job to take full time care of my grandfather who has terminal stomach cancer and I forsee this as something which is likely to happen to either/both of my parents in the next 10 or so years. It's not pessimism; it's being realistic and it /helps/.
austerity austerity 8 years
Agreed, MissJules. I also want to add to those of you that think this is just another 'the government is evil'-problem; it's not about government vs. free choice here (i.e. it's not a political problem); there's an objective reason why these women should avoid having babies and that's the HEALTH RISKS involved for them and their babies! I'm perfectly fine with a 60-year old woman with all the emotional capabilities to make a great mother; but physically, she's going to allow her child to be exposed to avoidable health risks! She clearly cares more about her own need to have a child than that same child's health! What kind of a mother would allow that?
aylee aylee 8 years
"I think it's unfair because it means I'll be in my late 20's when I am dealing with him maybe needing care... etc. and I have my own life to think about at this time." I understand and agree that prospective parents should think (and think hard) about the future they can give their child if they get pregnant late in life. But your parents decided to have you and you should be thankful for that. But instead, you think it was unfair what they did because you have a life of your own to think about and that you might have to deal with your father needing care. My grandmother died in my early 20's and helped taking care of her. She lived at home. That didn't deter me from having my own life.
MissJules5x MissJules5x 8 years
i completely agree with the majority here saying that menopause is not a fertility problem. I understand fertility treatments when there is a genuine issue conceiving children. menopause means your body should not be conceiving. i think its crazy that there are 60+ year olds out there trying to have babies when there are plenty of children out there that need good homes. Instead these women would rather risk their lives and the lives of an unborn child because "its what they want" i think its selfish and dangerous.
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 8 years
I don't believe that the choice should be legally limited, but older women should just make wise choices. Giving birth at an older age puts both the mother and child at a much higher risk. I don't understand the need to give birth to biological children when there's such risk involved. I honestly find it a bit selfish that older women spend thousands trying have their OWN babies and refuse to consider the thousands of children waiting to be adopted!
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 8 years
I have to disagree with most of you. All these medical advances have made it possible for women who thought they would never experience motherhood to be able to do so. I have a lot of friends who are having their first child over 40. These are different times where women have careers, most couples both need to work to support a household, and women want to do so many things before having children why would anyone think that they're out of luck just because of their age when science has provided the means to make that happen. Times have changed and age has been redefined.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Mesayme - in response to your sidenote, there's basically a de facto age limit on those procedures, because most doctors won't even consider it before at least age 25, and even then you have to deal with the ridiculously patronizing "oh, but I'm sure you'll change your mind. Everyone does eventually" BS that most people believe. And there's already a consultation basically built into the doctor visits leading up to such a procedure.
quitecontrary quitecontrary 8 years
I didn't mention before- My grandmother had my mom at the age of 46, naturally (and as a BIG surprise!) and she fully admitted that the age gap was incredibly difficult- and I know it was very hard for my Mom, too. They had an amazing relationship, but my Grandma had already had 3 kids in her late 20's, so she was pretty experienced! Some of her grandkids are older than my Mom!
quitecontrary quitecontrary 8 years
I think that as a society, we've gone WAY too extreme in some medical procedures. A woman's body stops being able to make babies for a reason. Just because we can implant a fertilized egg in an otherwise barren womb doesn't mean we should. It just seems seriously wrong. And that child's future? A kid who's just going into university shouldn't have to worry about what nursing home to put their parent into! I worry also about the mentality of a woman of that age who decides that she wants kids so late because she was "too preoccupied with her career" etc. I'm sorry, but in this case, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. Yes, a woman's body is her own, but to me, that includes respecting it's natural cycles.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I have old parents. My dad is nearly 70 and I'm only 24. I think it's unfair because it means I'll be in my late 20's when I am dealing with him maybe needing care... etc. and I have my own life to think about at this time. My mother is 53 and her parents are only just starting to need care. She's had her life, two grown up children and a career. :/ I got teased for having old parents too. It's just not fair to have kids late in life.
pyleela pyleela 8 years
David Letterman was in his 50's when he had his son. No one really cared about that. Why should a woman be limited by age if men aren't?
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
it seems really unfair that nature allows men to be parents well into old age but women need help after 40. i'm kind of grossed out when women older than 50 are pregnant (i know, i know). it seems weird and unnatural, but people are living longer now and if someone can afford fertility treatments then they probably can afford to take care of a child, and they must really want one. i don't know, personally i wouldn't have a baby after probably 42 but to each their own.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I just have to add: survival of the fittest?? and you would apply that only to women who want to have children- but not to cancer patients, premature babies or anyone with a migraine who wants to take medicine?? please!
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
no. I believe scientific advantages should be available to everyone - doctors should decide, not the government.
aylee aylee 8 years
I don't agree with limiting fertility treatments to certain age group. The treatment should be done on a case to case basis, which can be determined by the doctor in charge based on other factors such as physical and mental health.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i'm all for people being allowed to have children if they are in a position to be great parents, but i have to say that with all the health risks that we know about now due to age, it just makes me nervous to hear about things. i'm guessing that any doctor that helps older women with these fertility treatments has done a thorough screening to ensure that they are taking as many precautions as they can to reduce the risk. i guess that i'm not one to say that someone can't be helped to have kids that late in life...the thing to think about though is what is life going to be like for the kid. if you're already in your 50s or 60s, then what type of involvement can you have when you're child is 20 and graduating college and you're 70-80? and what about the chance that maybe your child doesn't get married until they are 30 - and you're 80-90? there are just a lot of questions to consider.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
I think they should consider how old they will be when the kid's 10 because that's when they run you ragged. Other than that? who am I to say. Sidenote: I wish they'd regulate an age on sterilization surgeries...a consultation should be required for something that life altering.
TheMissus TheMissus 8 years
Umm... I disagree with all of you. It's a woman's body. It's her choice. You start limiting the age a woman can go out and have a child, what's next? Anyone can be a mother at any age, as long as their doctor deems that they are healthy enough for a fertility procedure. And if someone has the financial means to go and seek this type of treatment, then there is nothing you can or should do. Anyone can be a good mother at any age. Sure, it's easier for women who are in their LATE 20s to mid 40s to be mentally ready for motherhood... But woman of all ages are able to be mothers, and good ones too. Whether they are 10 or 70. Bottom line... YOU DO NOT WANT GOVERNMENT MESSING WITH YOU REPRODUCTIVE CHOICES. And please keep in mind, fertility treatments are often not covered by health insurance. So if someone has the financial means to have this procedure, then there is nothing you can do. So if you must judge, please keep it to yourself. Don't spoil a mother's happiness. (All this from someone who doesn't even like or want kids. Who woulda thought it???)
Deidre Deidre 8 years
Wow. Well, obviously, the idea of much older women going through infertility treatments and carrying a child (or children) is a really horrible idea. It's unsafe for the mother and child. About as unsafe as those mothers who schedule c-section deliverys 8 months in, before their pregnancy has fully come to term (you know, the crazy moms who do it based off their busy schedules or so they won't gain too much additional weight). Yipes. However, I don't think a law on this would be passable. And, I personally don't believe that the law should dictate what a woman can or cannot do with her body. I would certainly hope that a doctor would not allow for this type of infertility treatment, however. If the woman can't get the treatment, then there wouldn't be a need for legislation.
jessy777 jessy777 8 years
Part of me wants to say no because procreation is a personal choice and shouldn't be sanctioned by law and part of me wants to say yes because it sounds like a very selfish choice. A person who may not live to see their child's 18th birthday may not be making the best choice. Again, it isn't for me to say but I know it wouldn't be right for me.
psterling psterling 8 years
There should absolutely be an age limit to these types of procedures. No question.
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