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60 year-old woman gives birth to twins in Canada after fertility treatment abroad

Sarah Guy

Progress Educational Trust

17 February 2009

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[BioNews, London]

A 60 year-old woman has sparked controversy in Canada by travelling to India to receive fertility treatment after years of failed attempts to conceive naturally. Ranjit Hayer, originally from India, has become the oldest woman in Canada to give birth after receiving IVF at Dr Anoop Gupta's Delhi fertility clinic; her twin boys were delivered seven weeks prematurely by Caesarean section at the Foothills hospital in Calgary last week. 

Canadians are not usually eligible for fertility treatment above the age of 50, so Hayer travelled to what has been dubbed by one Canadian newspaper the 'salvation destination' amongst the global community of infertile; India, where 'unregulated reproductive technology makes anything possible'. Hayer is not the oldest woman to have given birth; a growing number of post-menopausal women have turned to fertility treatment in India where regulations have been minimal. In November 2008, a woman in the northern Indian state of Haryana gave birth to her first child at the alleged age of 70 years old. In 2006, Carmela Bousada of Spain was hailed as the oldest new mother after giving birth to twin boys at 66 years of age.

The case in Canada has not only raised ethical questions about older mothers and their ability to parent, but also about who pays for the treatment of patients who undergo medical procedures abroad. 'I very much object to the resources this woman has used in the health system. We have spent a lot of money on her' said Dr Cal Greene, medical director of a Calgary-based fertility clinic. Physicians in the state expressed concern that the cost of care for Hayer's twins could reach $6,000 a day, as resources are limited. Dr Greene would 'rather see those resources used in the normal age group'. However, Juliet Guichon, a bioethicist at the University of Calgary said it would be unethical for the medical system to turn away any patient in need.

Dr Gupta's clinic is one of an estimated 150 clinics in India offering an extensive range fertility treatments to patients such as Mrs Hayer who are either unable to access treatment in their home country, or cannot afford to. The lack of regulation has caused concern even within India: 'Total madness is prevailing', said Imrana Qadeer, a professor of public health at Jawaharlal Nehru University, a campaigner for regulated assisted reproduction. 'It is a totally unregulated thing... the doctors get away with a lot of things because people trust them and also there is a lot of ignorance about technologies... Women are vulnerable, they can be pressured'. Surrogacy in India is a big attraction for foreign patients, where the total cost is about $10,000 compared to $50-70,000 in the US. Yet surrogates tend to be poor, uneducated women often unable to read the contracts they sign. Egg donation is also widely desired by foreign patients, and according to Dr Gupta, has been on the increase since the economic downturn.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 17 February 2009   Date Updated: 17 February 2009
Customer Reviews (2)
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Angelika Faye   19 February 2009
I am always searching on internet to find a possibility for me, to get pregnant as an " older" woman . I am now 51 years and here in Germany where I live IVF my age is not possible . But I always hear or read about women even older than me giving birth .... Many women have this desire but no help and no understanding in their own countries . This article gives me hope to get what we are dreaming of ...... Thank you for this article .
Mohamed Ashraf   18 February 2009

Its high time for us to have rules & regulations for ART in India.Its good to see that we are getting lots of patients from abroad in the health industry as suchmainly coming because of cost effectiveness & we are at par with any developed countries.But at the same time we should stick on to certain guidelines & principles.

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