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Concerns raised after 56-year-old mum gives birth

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Wednesday, February 28, 2007 | 0 comments

A 56-YEAR-OLD woman who has given birth in a Brisbane hospital is believed to be the oldest IVF mother in Australia.

February 04, 2007 - The woman, who was 36 weeks' pregnant, gave birth last week after undergoing treatment at the Queensland Fertility centre.

Sources said the woman was the recipient of a donor egg after raising three other children aged from their mid-teens to mid-30s.

They said the mother also required treatment with the heart drug Digoxin following the birth at the Mater Hospital on Tuesday.

The mother has refused to comment on the case but The Sunday Mail has been told she was forced to move suburbs because of "negativity towards her pregnancy".

Her husband is believed to be aged in his mid-30s.

The case is being investigated by the Fertility Society of Australia Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee - which provides accreditation for IVF clinics - over whether it breached the self-regulating industry's code of practice.

But because there are no age limits in the code, which stipulates only against any fertility treatment that may be harmful to the mother or baby, the body is unable to take any action against the clinic.

"I am not aware of any older women than this," RTAC chairman Ossie Petrucco said yesterday.

It is the second time in two years the clinic has been targeted by RTAC.

In 2005, founding QFG director Warren DeAmbrosis was scrutinised after he helped Brisbane woman Dale Chalk fall pregnant with her second set of quads - believed to be a world first.

The high-powered IVF Directors Group, comprising medical directors from every IVF clinic in Australia and New Zealand, stopped short of punishing Dr DeAmbrosis but pushed for the industry to do everything it could to avoid such an outcome again.

According to the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data, the success rate for women aged between 40 and 44, who had undergone fertility treatment, was 7.1 per cent, compared with 33.5 per cent for women aged 23 to 24 years.

The average age of women undergoing treatment in 2004 in Australia and New Zealand was 35.4 and their partners were 37.8.

In 1998, an Adelaide woman, 53, gave birth to triplets after undergoing an IVF treatment with embryos she and her husband had stored years earlier.

In January 2005, 66-year-old Romanian woman Adriana Iliescu became the world's oldest mother after giving birth to a daughter after conceiving through IVF with a donor egg.

Meanwhile, a simple test that more than doubles the chance of having a healthy baby could transform the IVF process.

Scientists have found a way to test the genetic make-up of a woman's eggs, allowing the best to be chosen.

A trial has produced more than 30 healthy babies and dramatically increased the success rate.

Perfected by doctors in Las Vegas, comparative genomic hybridisation counts the number of chromosomes in an egg.

Up to 75 per cent of miscarriages are thought to be due to embryos having the wrong number of chromosomes, with eggs from older women particularly likely to be defective.


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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 our 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 there will be no more babies in our house.

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