Starting a family and raising happy and healthy children is a dream that many couples realize. For other couples, time, effort and even medical treatments are required in order to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. Unfortunately, some couples never have children despite their best efforts. Infertility is one of the most challenging things a couple that wants children has to go through, but what happens when even doctors cannot figure out the reason for continued and devastating infertility that leads to multiple miscarriages?
For one couple, personal challenges and difficulty conceiving resulted in a hopeful woman becoming one of the oldest mothers in the world. Erramatti Mangamma from Guntur town of Andhra Pradesh, India became one of the world’s oldest mothers when she gave birth to her first child in her seventies back in 2019. It was reported that the couple struggled to get pregnant for over five decades before their eventual success in conceiving a baby.
Normally, a healthy woman can naturally conceive even into her 50s according to Healthline. However, there are virtually no reported cases of women conceiving after the age of 60 years old. Most doctors can help women over the age of 50 to get pregnant through methods such as IVF, but after a certain age, women are deterred from having kids.
Mangamma was 72 years old when she conceived, and the doctor who helped was told that she was in her 60s. He was quite angry when he found out that she was in fact well over 70 years old. Mangamma’s pregnancy and birth have raised issues about the ethics surrounding IVF in older women.
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At 74-years-old, Erramatti Mangamma is now the oldest woman to give birth — beating the next oldest woman, another Indian woman named Daljinder Kaur, who gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the age of 72 in 2016. Mangamma and her husband, 82-year-old Raja Rao, became proud parents to healthy twin girls in 2019.
The couple married 57 years before they welcomed their girls, but were never able to have children. When their neighbor became pregnant at the age of 55 through the use of in vitro fertilization, they decided to try for a child of their own according to The Mirror.
However, the doctor who handled Mangamma’s pregnancy insisted that he was tricked into believing that she was in her 60s. “It was only by chance, after she had conceived, that her husband let out accidentally to one of the nurses her real age,” Dr. Sanakkayala Umashankar said according to the New York Post. “I was livid!”
The couple’s age became even more apparent when both of them were admitted to the ICU right after the birth. The news outlet reported that Raja Rao collapsed the day after his daughters’ birth due to a heart attack, and Mangamma had already been transferred to intensive care after her cesarean section.
However, before his heart attack, Rao was ecstatic about his wife’s birth and announced, “Due to the grace of God and doctors, I am the proud father of two baby girls. We are the happiest couple on earth today.” Despite their setbacks, the couple continues to be overjoyed.
Due to her advanced age, Mangamma remained in the hospital for the entire 9 months of her pregnancy to make sure that there would be no complications. “I cannot express my feeling in words,” Mangamma said according to The Mirror. “These babies complete me. My six decade-long wait has finally come to an end. Now, no one call me infertile anymore.”
As to why they decided to get pregnant so late in their lives, DNA India reported that the couple said, “We faced a lot of social stigma in our village for not having a child. We could not bear the taunts since our marriage so we tried our best but now we hope God will bless us.” Reportedly, the couple had finally decided to adopt, but the doctor recommended that the couple can still go through IVF since Mangamma’s health was so good according to the New York Post.
The pregnancy progressed normally, and after they were born, the girls began to gain weight normally as well. Naturally, there are concerns about the age of the parents and whether they will be around to raise their children, but Mangamma’s niece, Lakshmi Bhia, said that the family was ready to step in when needed to continue raising the children. The relatives of the couple hail the birth as a “medical miracle.”
Another woman, Daljinder Kaur, and her husband Mohinder Singh Gill also had a successful IVF pregnancy at the age of 72. The couple is from the state of Punjab in India, and their son, Armaan, was born in 2016. However, both Kaur’s and Mangamma’s pregnancies have brought to light the issue of ethics when it comes to IVF and women’s fertility in India.
What do you think about late-in-life pregnancies? Do you approve of Mangamma and her husband’s choice? Tell us your thoughts, and be sure to pass this article on to your friends and family.