A 70-year-old woman in India is reportedly the world’s oldest woman to give birth, when she had twins last week. The girl and boy babies were delivered one month early by emergency caesarean section but are reportedly alive and well after being transferred to specialist neonatal care at Jaswant Roy Speciality Hospital.
Omkari Panwar and her 77-year-old husband, Charan Singh Panwar, have two grown daughters and five grandchildren but wanted a male heir and sought IVF assistance, according to newspaper reports. ‘The treatment cost me a fortune but the birth of a son makes it all worthwhile. I can die a happy man and a proud father,’ said Charan, a retired farmer, who told reporters that he mortgaged his land, spent his life savings, sold his buffalos and obtained a credit card loan to afford the IVF treatment costing INR 350,000
Journalists were unable to verify Omkari Panwar’s age because she does not have a birth certificate and does not know her birth-date. Instead, her recollection that she was nine years old at the time of Indian independence in 1947 has been used to determine her age to be 70. If accurate, then Omkari is four years older than the 66-year-old Romanian woman, Adriana Iliescu, who previously was believed to be the oldest woman to give birth when she had a daughter in 2005. Britain’s oldest mother is Patricia Rashbrook, who gave birth to a son in 2006 aged 62, after paying INR 800,000 for IVF treatment in Russia.
Omkari dismissed any awareness of the record and fails to see its ‘benefit’: ‘If I am the world’s oldest mother it means nothing to me. I just want to see my new babies and care for them while I am still able’. Critics of post-menopausal motherhood say that they should not be allowed to receive fertility treatment because of increased health risks to mother and child. Others question the ability of geriatric parents to cope with young children and the harm of early parental bereavement.