A WEALTHY Victorian woman has used IVF to become what is believed to be the state's oldest first-time mum using the technology.
The woman, who wants her identity kept secret, will be 54 when she realises her long-held dream and gives birth later this year.
"It's been a long time coming. We're thrilled," she said.
The woman is one of about 30 women over 50 who have IVF treatment across Australia each year. She will be the 14th Victorian mother over 50 to have given birth since 2000.
The woman said she thought hard about the vexing ethical questions around bearing a child so late in life, but quickly decided there was no better time.
"People say, well, you might die. Well, you might die when you're young, too," she said.
"We figure if we can give the child 20 to 25 years of a loving home environment, a good education and a secure financial background, we're doing better than a parent whose quality of life is poor.
"We are financially very secure and we have all the time in the world to look after the child."
The mum-to-be said she had been active and healthy all her life, and had been receiving IVF treatment for more than two decades.
"It's not like I decided at 50: let's have a child," she said.
She stopped trying after a bad experience several years ago, but last year, with menopause approaching, she thought she would give it a final try.
"We just thought we'd do it, and then we could rest easy that we had tried everything," she said.
A donor egg was used, because most clinics do not treat women over 45 using their own eggs.
A Herald Sun survey of Victorian clinics indicates most do not treat women -- even with donor eggs -- who are over 50.
IVF Australia senior fertility doctor Professor Michael Chapman said the cut-off aimed to coincide with the typical end of fertility.
He did not recommend women have children so late in life, saying the social risks could outweigh the medical ones.
"If the woman is fit and healthy, the risks are less excessive," Prof Chapman said.
"But the child is going to be a teenager when she is in her 70s. That's my major reason for agreeing with a limit."
He said the 30 women over 50 who had IVF treatment each year used donor eggs and about 10 of those had children.
Miscarriage and having a child with Down syndrome are among the medical risks facing older mums.
Angelina Calabro, who says she conceived naturally when she was 55, is believed to be the oldest mum in Victoria.
Doctors say there is a one-in-40,000 chance of natural conception for women over 50.
Melbourne IVF chair Lyndon Hale said women over 50 could also conceive using frozen embryos from previous IVF treatments.
About three embryos were produced from a typical treatment cycle, he said.
About 3.6 per cent of Victorian women give birth when they are 40 or over.
Most new mums are between 30 and 34.
According to the Infertility Treatment Authority, about 20 per cent of IVF treatments in Australia involve women aged over 40.
There were 1596 IVF babies born in 2005.
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