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Great-great-grandmother gave birth from 18-46

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Tuesday, September 18, 2007 | 0 comments

I once helped my Dad research our family tree. Life certainly happened before contraception! We found one great-great-grandmother of ours who had children over a 28 year span - from age 18 to age 46! And she was far from the only one having children over 40 back then.


We all heard stories of women getting pregnant very late, and my own mother delivered in the hospital next door to a post menopausal woman who delivered at 54: she had no periods, and did not discover she was pregnant until the tummy began to grow, so she delivered.


Someone I know worked as a physician delivering babies for a Native American community at their reservation hospital. She said that they had numerous women between ages 45 to early 50's coming in to have babies and that no one even raised an eyebrow because it wasn't like they were unusual (except in terms of some additional health problems, but not in terms of fertility).

I can assure you that this population is not doing egg donation! And they really didn't offer reproductive endocrinology services either. If a woman could afford to go outside the system for that, then she probably wouldn't be living on a reservation.


The British record (currently under contest) [for a natural conception] is held by Kathleen Campbell, who was 55 when she had her son in 1987. Currently there is some controversy over the age of the latest natural mother in Britain, who is apparently 60, but may be “only” 54.


I know of two people who were "change of life babies", my mother is one of them. She was the unexpected last of 9 children. The other is the youngest of only 3 but there are 25 years between her and her siblings. When I first met their family at church I thought that her sister was her mother and her mother her grandmother!

My mother is in her mid-50's and is barely going through menopause, I'm sure it was possible for her to get pregnant when she was 50.


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"In 2005, there were more than 104,000 births in the United States to women ages 40 through 44, and over 6,500 to women 45 and older. In 2004, there were 1,786 live births to women over 42, using donor eggs."

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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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