Are elderly women who have babies through IVF being selfish?

The lovely Betsy of Ruthblog linked to this old 2009 article from BioEdge.


The record for Britain’s oldest women to give birth will be broken next month by 66 year old Elizabeth Munro, from Cambridge. It is thought that Ms Munro, who is single and a successful business woman, travelled to the Ukraine to become pregnant using donor eggs and IVF treatment.
In the UK, health trusts determine which women will be eligible for IVF treatment on the National Health Service (NHS), and factors limiting availability include the age of the woman. Not many trusts will consider providing NHS treatment for women over about 39 years old. However, some private clinics, which are not obliged to follow NHS guidelines, will offer treatment to women up to the age of 50, although it is rare for them to consider treating women older than this.

[…]Ms Munro, who is due to give birth next month by Caesarean section, claims she still feels 39 and is fitter than many women a third her age. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, she said: ‘It’s not my physical age that’s important – it’s how I feel inside.’ She added: ‘I don’t have to defend what I have done. It’s between me, my baby and no-one else’.

The Telegraph article says this:

The childless divorcee travelled to the Ukraine for IVF treatment and is planning to give birth at a clinic in Cambridge in the next month.

She will be nearing 80 when the child becomes a teenager.

I also note that IVF is covered for women under 40 by the state-run National Health Service, (as are breast implants), just like in Canada. Another reason that Christians should oppose socialized medicine.

Betsy makes this snarky comment:

Yet another example of how selfish people can be. So much for what’s best for the child. I want it, and I can get it, so I will. And of course the doctors aren’t willing to turn down a buck. So sad. Poor kids with moms who will likely die while the kids are in college. How kind. I’m willing to bet old women are doing this because their grown children are too selfish to provide grandchildren. And what 20-year-old wants to spend his time caring for his mom after her hip replacement surgery or while she’s dealing with dementia?

I note that Ms. Munro is divorced, so her child will be raised without a father in the home. I just think that when people begin a new realtionship with a living thing, that they should count the cost of the relationship and make sure that they can set aside the time, money and effort required to take care of that other person/animal/whatever. It’s no good to treat children like property, and no good to treat husbands like property either.

Something even worse

Anyway, here is a newer UK Daily Mail article that is even worse.


Cradling her twin boys in her arms, the world’s oldest mother confidently proclaimed that longevity ran in her family.

But just two and half years on, Maria Carmen del Bousada’s boasts have been proved sadly wrong.

The 69-year-old, who admitted lying about her age to receive fertility treatment in the U.S, has died from cancer.

[…]Orphaned before reaching school, her sons, Christian and Pau, will have to rely on others to find out about her.

[…]Earlier this month, Britain’s oldest mother Elizabeth Adeney, who had a boy in May, was 67. Like Miss Bousada, she too was childless and single when she underwent fertility treatment using a donor egg and donor sperm.As for Miss Bousada’s cancer, it is understood that the former shop worker had been told that the drugs used during her fertility treatment may have hastened the advance of the disease.

[…]It is known that some types of cancer are sensitive to hormones associated with both pregnancy and fertility treatment. Miss Bousada told doctors in Los Angeles that she was 55 when she travelled there to undergo IVF treatment.

Critics, including her own family, called the pensioner, who went through the menopause 18 years before her £20,000 treatment, ‘selfish and irresponsible’.

After the birth she admitted lying about her age and predicted she would live to 101 as her mother had done.

‘I have every reason to believe longevity runs in my family,’ she said.

Please take a look at the related post below on how children are affected by single motherhood, because there is an interesting debate with a single mother in the comments, and you can see how they think.

Related posts

13 thoughts on “Are elderly women who have babies through IVF being selfish?”

  1. While I am thankful for the IVF procedures that allow infertile couples to conceive (as long as all the embryos are given a chance at implantation), this is jut selfish of the woman.

    Fact of the matter is, we all have a certain life expectancy. If she beats the averages and lives to be, say, 90 – how many of those years will she be physically and mentally capable to raise a child, and not in a nursing home?

    Even if she remains healthy, she will die while this child is still relatively young. I lost my dad in my mid 20s, and feel horribly robbed. Every day I wish I could talk to him, to ask his advice, and just spend time with him. My daughter will never know her grandfather. Of course, none of us can predict when God will take us, but why would someone choose to have a child, *knowing* that the child will lose their parent at a young age?

    And this doesn’t even cover the willful choice to be a single parent, but you covered that very well in the related blog post.


  2. I personally am against any and all IVF procedures for anyone, but I think this is especially bad and yes, very selfish.


  3. I think all IVF is unbiblical, let alone selfish.

    God’s design for child-bearing is within the context of marriage. Since child-bearing is a result of sexual intercourse, and sexual intercourse is reserved for marriage, there is no way around this fact. The woman having a baby should be married to the person who impregnated her.

    I realize there are couples who are unable, for whatever reason, to have children. This does not justify IVF anytime without the husband’s sperm, let alone IFV all together.


  4. Thanks for posting, WK, and to the above commenters for weighing in.

    To the article and comments I would add to your research and consideration:

    a.) Is IVF ethical (i.e. right, wrong, or neutral)? and

    b.) What MAKES IVF ethical, unethical, or neither?

    IVF creates human embryos through fertilization after hyperstimulating a woman’s ovaries with hormones (putting them at high risk for cancer later in life). Implantation is extremely difficult due to several factors that destroy the embryos: freezing for preservation, the implantation process itself, and then any existing intra-uterine issues the woman may have preventing her from being pregnant in the first place, so many (usually between 10 and 30) embryos are created and the “leftovers” destroyed once the mother conceives. This means in very practical terms that IVF destroys more human life than abortion.

    Life expectancy of the mother, selfishness, personal preference, and God’s design for childbearing are all surely valid points, but none of them on their own make IVF immoral. What makes it immoral is that you knowingly destroy human life so that hopefully one may live, and we cannot do evil that good may come of it.


    1. Wow, great comment!

      IVF is much worse than I thought. It’s like ordering 20 cockatoos from the pet store and then having them choose 1 at random for you and throwing the rest out. That’s not fair!


    2. I would say if something is done for selfishness, it is immoral because selfishness is sin. Going against God’s design would also be immoral because when you go against God you are sinning. So those issues are not only “valid points,” they are also examples of the immoral nature of IVF.


  5. Well and I suppose I could have added that what makes something wrong period is its grounding in the character of God, but I don’t see how it’s relevant to this PARTICULAR article, as the woman in question isn’t Christian. Appeals to God’s authority might not hit home with all readers, though it’s certainly a good reminder for believers.


  6. To all of you who think IVF is “selfish”: if you ever attempt to have biological children someday, I hope you find out you are sterile. Then see how it feels to be judged.


    1. Whether one is sterile or not has no bearing on the fact that IVF is selfish. It’s all about self – “I want a child from my own body!” Can a sterile person not adopt a child? Selfish need to have a “biological” child is just that – selfish. If you are unable to have a biological child, then live with it!


    2. I understand this is an old thread, just wanted to add something as we battle this scenario and have been constantly pressured from “well-meaning” friends to do IVF. My husband and I are battling infertility and have had couple of miscarriages. Even so, this is also God’s Will for our life. It is pretty hard to go through this experience. Both of us are engineers, married young, but childless approaching our mid-30’s. But in all circumstances, we give Praise and honor unto God. Us having children or not is not going to add or take away anything from our relationship with Christ, but us having the faith until the end irrespective of our circumstances will be reflective of what kind of christian we are.


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