Too Old To Be a Mama?
There was an interesting column in the Focus section of yesterday’s Globe and Mail that really got me thinking. Unfortunately, I can’t link to it (it’s only available online to subscribers). Last week, a 63-year-old woman, Patricia Rashbrook, gave birth to a baby after receiving fertility treatments. Columnist Margaret Wente and writer and father David Eddie debated the morality of her choice. Here are a few excerpts:
Wente argues, “women are no longer enslaved by their reproductive organs—and a good thing too. If technology can give women wider reproductive options—as men have always had—that’s fine with me. And because we’re living so much longer and healthier, 63 is no longer old.”
Eddie counters, “but doesn’t this case seem symptomatic of a culture that has lost track of the fact that certain doors do close at some stage…..the truth is that as women approach 40, there is an exponential increase in the chance of birth defects and a correspondingly vertiginous drop-off in egg viability (Dr. Rashbrook used a donor egg). At some point, people just have to realize they have to grab a chair before the music stops.”
Wente counters, “if women were still required to abide by the biological imperatives that ruled the lives of their great-great-grandmothers, they’d have 10 or 14 pregnancies by the age of 42. Hey, that’s only natural!”
Eddie responds, “I’m afraid I do feel like all this postmenopausal hormone therapy and egg implantation is going against God’s design.” He also argues (and this is what gave me pause) “given current life-expectancy statistics, there’s a good chance neither she nor her husband will live to see J.J. into adulthood and that seems irresponsible.”
I have to take Wente’s position, although personally, I barely have the physical strength to raise a child now. I can’t imagine doing it at 63.
What isn’t under debate is the fact that there is no controversy over men who become fathers after retirement. On the contrary, they’re admired for their potency.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
Labels: on motherhood