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KatawaGrey's avatar

Can a post-menopausal woman be a surrogate mother?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21433points) June 3rd, 2011

To be honest, I don’t know anything about menopause Mostly, I know that menopause is the female body’s way of saying, “Okay, that’s it, no more kids, no more menstruation and way less hormones,” but what I really want to know is how that effects a woman’s ability to actually give birth. I know a post-menopausal woman can’t conceive, but could she conceivably be a surrogate? If she could be a surrogate, does menopause do other things to the body that would make it that much more difficult for her to give birth? Do you know of any cases of post-menopausal surrogates?

Basically, anything you know about the subject is appreciated. I have just gotten an idea for a story and I need to know if it’s feasible or just plain bunk. Thank you!

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14 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Even if a post-menopausal woman could (which I have no idea if she could or not), why on Earth would anyone use her as a surrogate? Is she literally the last woman on the face of the planet? Are there no fertile women available? I can’t imagine it would be anything but a hard and extremely complicated pregnancy with severe risks to both the baby(s) and the surrogate mother.

nikipedia's avatar

I’m thinking no. But an interesting question!

During the menstrual cycle, in addition to the release of unfertilized eggs, a lot of other things take place: the corpus luteum develops, and the endometrium is shed and regenerates. Both of these are necessary for pregnancy to occur—the endometrium creates a hospitable environment for a fertilized egg to implant, and the corpus luteum secretes hormones that maintain the endometrium.

If either of these degrade, the fetus will be spontaneously aborted. If they never exist in the first place, as in menopause, the fertilized egg will fail to implant.

Buttonstc's avatar

There was a case that made the news of a woman definitely post menopausal who had a child via IVF. I don’t remember the precise country but I know she was old enough that there was all this outrage about her not living long enough to raise the child to maturity.

So I’m thinking she was in her seventies or so. I’ll try to find it.

Oh yeah, I do recall that they gave her significant amounts of hormones to enable this to be possible.

And there was also a case here in the US where a mother of an adult daughter with fertility problems did act as surrogate and birthed her own grandaughter. She was in her fifties.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs: What’s up with the tone? I said I was thinking about writing a story. I knew if I phrased the question as “Can a post-menopausal woman give birth?” no one would answer my question and everyone would say that she couldn’t even get pregnant. Sheesh.

To avoid further confusion, I’m thinking about writing a story in which all pre-menopuasal women die out and a group of doctors decide to implant embryos that had been frozen before this happened into the only women left, who are post-menopausal.

@nikipedia: Thanks! I’m going to do a little more research on my own before I consider this further but these are excellent jumping off points.

@Buttonstc: I would love to read that account. If you can find it or any like it, please post it. Thank you!

Buttonstc's avatar

I can’t do links from iPhone but you can find it easily enough. A 61 yr. old woman in Ohio gave birth to triplets being a surrogate for her own daughter.

Buttonstc's avatar

Arlette Schweitzer was the first US woman being a surrogate for her daughter in 1991. She gave birth to twins. Evidently her daughter was born without a uterus. What a lovely story.

The one with triplets is more recent.

So your definitely on a firm footing with your story plot. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Who would have imagined triplets yet. You’d think one would be enough of a strain :)

nikipedia's avatar

Great detective work @Buttonstc! I guess I was wrong!

Buttonstc's avatar

I just found out that the 70 year old woman in India is now near death having never really recovered from the child’s birth 18 months earlier.

There is a sad picture of her bedridden with the baby sitting next to her and the quote “the doctor never told me it was dangerous to give birth at my age.”

Yeesh. Talk about medical care (NOT) in third world societies. So sad. It’s now left to her 70 yr. old husband to raise the child.

Her name is Rajo Devi Lohan.

Buttonstc's avatar

@nikipedia

That’s what comes of watching too much TV. One does learn some fascinating stuff.

I definitely knew it had been done but was just a little fuzzy on the details :)

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Buttonstc's avatar

Yeah. Not something I’d be eager to volunteer for :)

But evidently the lady who birthed triplets for her dauhter was just fine not that long after when they interviewed her.

To each his own.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@KatawaGrey I seriously didn’t mean for it to have tone; those are the questions I would ask as a reader and that I would think a writer would have to answer in order to keep disbelief suspended.

laureth's avatar

[mod says] Please keep answers helpful and on topic in the General Section. Thanks!

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