General Question

troubleinharlem's avatar

Should there be an age limit for artificial insemination?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7968 points ) February 1st, 2011

In Development Psychology today we were talking about how there was a woman who, at 63, gave birth to a child using in-vitro technology. The age limit at USC was 55, but she had lied about her age and eventually got through the whole process without a catch.

Some people were saying that women should not be mothers after a certain age, and that’s why I asked this question.

So, what age should artificial insemination or in-vitro stop, and why?
Are there societal limits that come into play?

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26 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Case-by-case, between the doctor and the woman.

janbb's avatar

I don’t have an answer at the moment but a further question, “Is there an age at which men should no longer father children – naturally or artificially?”

JilltheTooth's avatar

I hate the idea of opening a door on reproductive limitation, how far would it go? Having said that, the idea of older and older people taking such measures to have children when, statistically, their chances of raising said children to adulthood are reduced by age-specific circumstances, concerns me greatly.

ETA: GQ, I hope it sparks a good discussion.

zenvelo's avatar

it’s arbitrary, I know, but I think the birth needs to be done before age 47, so the child is 18 when the mother is 65. And I think it should be close to that for the father, too.

I will be 65 when my daughter graduates from college, provided she gets through it in 4 years.

sinscriven's avatar

I couldn’t pick an age, it’d be as arbitrary as saying you’re read for adult decisions at 18.

I think even at 55 and using IVF is a bit irresponsible. What kind of quality of life is that kid going to have when their parents are already winding down in their sixties? They will be 72–73 when the kid graduates from high school and then what? Maybe a few years left with them as an adult before they die, and then leave the very young kid with having to deal with death and burial expenses and experiences in their teens and 20s.

Even if finances weren’t a question it deprives the kids of a stable family environment in the sense that you don’t know if mom and dad will still be alive next year.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@janbb : Well, I read a study once that said that men who have children later have risks of having children that have birth defects because the sperm is too old.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Every situation is different. How can we pull a number out of the air and say it’s ok or not ok?

Nullo's avatar

Certainly, there is a practical upper limit. That said, the natural world is fantastically inexact.

JLeslie's avatar

@troubleinharlem Artificial Insemenation (AI) is when the woman ovulates and sperm is introduced inside of the woman artficially (not via sex). In vitro is when eggs are removed from a woman and the eggs and sperm meet in a lab, then the embryo is placed inside of the woman. AI and IVF are not synonomous. A 60 year old woman would never be able to get pregnant through AI, because she no longer has eggs left to ovulate.

As far as your question. I kind of think 50 would be my upper limit, but I rather not have a rule, and leave it up to the doctor and patient I think.

wilma's avatar

@JLeslie “A 60 year old woman would never be able to get pregnant”
Never say never, right now the oldest woman know to conceive naturally was 59.

JLeslie's avatar

@wilma Never might be strong, but it is incredibly unlikely. I feel 99.99% sure that fertility doctors are not recommending AI for 60 year old women. Who is this 59 year old woman anyway?

wilma's avatar

” A British housewife became the world’s oldest natural mother after giving birth at the age of 59, it was claimed yesterday. Dawn Brooke had a healthy boy without any fertility treatment.” from here.

JLeslie's avatar

@wilma Wow. Amazing. Still, very very rare. But, my main point was AI and IVF are not synonomous. Then Octomom got everyone thinking doctors regularly purposefully put 8 embryos in women, but he was an idiot. Most multiple births of 4+ babies from fertility treatments are AI, not IVF.

wilma's avatar

Yes @JLeslie I know and I agree. :)

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JLeslie's avatar

@noelleptc If she is going to a fertility doctor, probably she is not successfully getting pregnant from sex.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Rampant agism. Did she love the child? That’s the only question worthy of an answer.

Response moderated (Spam)
creepermax's avatar

Adult. @funfunadventure5

faye's avatar

I think the 63 year old women had the baby for her daughter- do I remember right?

Seelix's avatar

I think that if a woman is healthy and responsible and wants to have a child, it shouldn’t matter how old she is when she becomes a mother. Fertile men continue to produce sperm all their lives, as far as I know.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think it is a very complicated and emotional issue. Just to add another thought to the discussion, there are age limitations on adopting infants in most circumstances. Is it moral, logical, fair or just?

JLeslie's avatar

@faye Now that would change that particular story completely.

klutzaroo's avatar

@troubleinharlem “Well, I read a study once that said that men who have children later have risks of having children that have birth defects because the sperm is too old.”

Men produce new sperm all the time. Their sperm doesn’t get old. Eggs can get old, but not sperm. The sperm factory keeps cranking out new ones until it quits, often at death.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@klutzaroo : I read the same study, and although men produce new sperm, the quality of the sperm deteriorates with age, less motility, more deformed swimmers, etc. It makes sense.

OpryLeigh's avatar

As much as I don’t want to say that anyone who is able to love, care and provide for a child shouldn’t have children, I tend to agree with all those that have mentioned how the age of the parents will affect the child later on in their younger lives. If someone has a child at 60 years old, when the child is 15 years old they will be 75 I know you’re all impressed with my maths skills there!!. Is that fair on the child?

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