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Why I lied to doctors, by world's oldest mother, aged 67

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Monday, January 29, 2007 | 0 comments

A spinister who has become the world's oldest mother lied about her age to undergo IVF treatment, she admitted yesterday.

Carmela Bousada, 67, convinced doctors that she was only 55 - the age limit for treatment at the fertility centre she chose.

The pensioner chose sperm and egg donors from a catalogue and underwent the procedure without telling her family.

• Britain's oldest mother takes parenthood in her stride

She gave birth to healthy twin boys, called Pau and Christian, after a difficult pregnancy on December 29 - seven days before her 67th birthday.

Yesterday, Miss Bousada told how she had always dreamed of having children, though she would have preferred to have done it within a traditional relationship.

"But didn't work out that way," she said.

"It's been at least a decade since I've been with a man.

"Now I've got to look for a dad for the kids. I'd like to meet someone a bit younger than me. They'd have to like children, of course.

"And I might have to have surgery to keep my looks. But for now if have any spare money I'll spend it on the boys."


Miss Bousada dismissed concerns that she could struggle to cope because of her age.

"How will I cope? I'll buy a playpen," she said from her one-bedroom flat in Cadiz, in southern Spain.

"Everyone has to have children at the right time for them. This was the right time for me. It was something I always dreamed of."

Miss Bousada decided to try and get pregnant after her mother died in 2005 aged 101.

Inspired by magazine stories about older women having babies, she sold the flat they had shared for £30,000 and used the money to pay for IVF treatment at the Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles.

The private clinic refuses to treat women over 55, but Miss Bousada said: "I conned doctors I was younger.

'They didn't ask for my passport'

"They didn't ask for my age or my passport. I may look tired now but before the births I did look slim and a lot younger."

She said that her family and friends were unaware of her treatment.

"I told a few girlfriends that I loved the idea of having a baby, but none of them took me seriously. They thought it was impossible.

"I've wanted children for a very long time. Now finally I have two perfect boys. People are entitled to their opinions but they shouldn't judge me."


Miss Bousada, a retired administrator for a Spanish chain store, said she only ever had one serious boyfriend. She vowed never to get close to a man again after he broke her heart.

She has since only had short-term relationships, the last one more than ten years ago.

It is more than 18 years since she went through the menopause, but Miss Bousada said she never lost the desire to have children.

Doctors began her IVF treatment by giving her hormone injections to reverse the menopause.

She had the final stages of the treatment in May last year after choosing the donor parents - eggs from an 18-year-old brunette and sperm from a blond, blue-eyed Italian-American.

She didn't tell her three brothers what she had done until she was two months pregnant.

Miss Bousada told the News of the World: "At first they thought I was joking. Then they were completely blown away and they wanted to know why I hadn't told them before."

She described having serious medical problems during her pregnancy and drawing shocked looks from people in the street as her bump grew.

Doctors put her on a high protein diet to build up her strength as the pregnancy sapped her body of nutrients.

But after six months she began to swell up so much with water retention that they feared her kidneys were failing.

Her condition was so serious as doctors prepared to carry out a caesarean that her close family were summoned to her bedside in case she died during the birth.

'This was the right time for me'

The babies were born seven weeks premature at Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona, which specialises in high-risk births.

Pau was 3lb 7oz and Christian 3lb 5oz. Although healthy, they were fed with tubes in incubators for the first three weeks.

Miss Bousada tried breastfeeding but "didn't produce much milk".

The birth made her the world's oldest mother - 130 days older than Adriana Iliescu, who gave birth to daughter Eliza in January 2005.

Patricia Rashbrook, 62, became Britain's oldest mother last July when she gave birth to a boy conceived through IVF.

The consultant child psychiatrist, from Lewes, East Sussex, had the fertility treatment in Italy after she was refused in the UK.

Miss Bousada seems oblivious to the problems a woman of her age will face as a new mother, although she admits that she is already "exhausted".

She said: "I'm sure I'll be able to cope. When they begin toddling I'll get one of those playpens and put them in there."

A spokesman at the Pacific Fertility Center said: "We do not speak about our patients."





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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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