Pregnancy can be daunting for any mother, but when a more advanced age comes into the equation things are definitely made more complicated. With increased health risks, disapproving family and friends, and the issue of actually being able to conceive, having a baby later in life is no small challenge. Then there’s the question of ethics — there are many people who question if it is morally right to bring a child into a world that you will not be part of for much longer.
Despite all of this, as these incredible stories prove, there are still women who will go to great lengths to have a baby no matter what their age, and the results can be shocking, heartwarming and even tragic.
#1. Rajo Devi Lohan
Rajo Devi Lohan set a new record for the world’s oldest mother when she gave birth to her daughter Naveen in the remote village of Hissar, India, in 2008. She was 69 when she became a mother for the first time following IVF treatment, and as a result of her advanced age she nearly died from complications after the delivery.
Rajo lives with her husband Ballo, and his second (and younger) wife Umi. She said in 2012: “The only reason I am still alive in spite of my illness is Naveen. She is a gift to me from God and until I get her married I cannot afford to die.”
“I will get her married when she turns 15-years-old, but until then I simply cannot die. Naveen does not need to worry about her future, she has her other mother, Umi, her uncles, relatives and father to look after her.”
#2. Daljinder Kaur
When Daljinder Kaur gave birth to a baby boy in India 2016, she became the world’s oldest mother. Although she is not sure of her exact date of birth, she told doctors she was around seven years younger than her husband, who was 79 at the time. The couple had been married for 46 years, but were unable to conceive naturally during that time.
They therefore made the controversial decision to undergo IVF using anonymous donor eggs at the National Fertility Centre in Haryana state, which specializes in helping women who have already been through menopause.
Daljinder Kaur said of the birth: “Everyone asked me to adopt a baby but I never wanted to. Now I have my own child. We will raise him and give him a proper education. I had faith in Almighty that I will have my own baby, and Waheguru [God] answered my prayers.”
#3. Omkari Panwar
Omari Panwar already had two daughters when she decided to pursue IVF in her late 60s. Despite having five grandchildren, she and her husband were desperate for a son to take over the family property. Their wish became a reality in 2008 when, at the age of 70, Omari gave birth to twins; a boy and a girl weighing in at just 2 lbs each. The couple had used their life savings and also took out a bank loan in order to have IVF treatment.
The delighted mother said at the time: “We already have two girls but we wanted a boy so that he could have taken care of our property. This boy and girl are God’s greatest gift to us.”
Her husband Charam Singh, added: “The desire for a male child has always been there, but God did not bless us with a male child. Now, we are very grateful to God, who has answered our prayers.”
#4. Adriana Iliescu
When 66-year-old Adriana Iliescu became pregnant in 2005, her decision to have a child was branded ‘grotesque’, ‘horrifying’ and the ‘ultimate act of selfishness’ by religious and ethical groups. The Romanian university lecturer had been unable to conceive naturally and had been undergoing fertility treatment for nine years before she finally became pregnant with triplets.
Sadly two of the fetuses died in the womb, and her daughter Eliza, was born early weighing just 3 lbs, and had to be kept in intensive care as a result. Thankfully she recovered and grew up healthy. Adriana since said of her decision to get pregnant so late in life:
“Eliza is energetic and fun — a very happy child. She is everything to me and nothing else counts or matters. The child is mine and that’s all I care about, but medically it is not impossible for me to have another child. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink. If I live as long as my parents did, Eliza will be 20 by the time I pass away. I think I still have a lot to give her.”