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anna-banana
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08 Dec 2008, 4:32 pm

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A 72-year-old woman who has two children and five grandchildren has given birth to twins, making her the world's oldest mother.

Omkari Panwar delivered twins, a boy and a girl, by Caesarean section last week.

"I am very happy," Charam Singh, 75, the father of the twins, told ABC News through an interpreter.

Singh was reluctant to speak because he has received negative publicity for his wife's having children at such an advanced age. Even many people of his village in India's state of Uttar Pradesh haven't supported the decision. Still, he and his wife are happy.

"The desire for a male child has always been there, but God did not bless us with a male child," he said of the son who is a product of in vitro fertilization. "Now, we are very grateful to God, who has answered our prayers."

Panwar, also known as Rajkali, and her husband, a retired farmer, were desperate to have a male heir. Boys are highly valued in India, particularly in rural areas. Traditionally, many Hindus believe that death rites must be performed by the closest male relatives, making the need for a male heir especially important. In addition, although the dowry system is officially banned in India, many Indians still practice it, making daughters a more expensive proposition.

In India, it's common to abort female fetuses, although it is illegal for doctors to reveal the sex of a fetus to pregnant parents. In some Indian states where female abortion rates are high, the government will pay parents to raise and educate daughters to create a more balanced male-to-female ratio.

The septuagenarian couple spent their life savings and took out a loan from the bank for Panwar to undergo in vitro treatments. For the couple, the desire to have a son was most important because they wanted to carry on the family name. They know that their son may never be able to care for them in the traditional way because of the age gap.

Panwar had a difficult pregnancy. Singh said that he never thought his wife would make it through the pregnancy and that the in vitro treatments were painful. But she survived.

"It is a miracle," he said. "Now, she is very happy."

The frail woman was in serious condition when she arrived at the hospital. Her blood pressure was high and she was bleeding.

"I arranged to have blood transfusions and made lots of preparations to save her babies and her life," said Dr. Nisha Malik, who performed the emergency Caesarean section.

Malik told ABC News that Panwar had a difficult pregnancy, suffering from back pain and was on bed rest for eight months. She said that Panwar looked about 65 years old.

"I was really shocked," Malik said of hearing that Panwar was older, a fact based on the woman's own estimates as she doesn't have a birth certificate.

Although the babies were born a month premature and had a low birth weight, the twins' doctor at Sushila Jaswant rai Hospital located near New Delhi told ABC News that the babies are doing well.


this is wrong on so many levels...


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buryuntime
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08 Dec 2008, 4:34 pm

Wow.



Kajjie
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08 Dec 2008, 4:40 pm

That's incredible but very wrong. :(



violet_yoshi
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08 Dec 2008, 4:45 pm

It's an affront to nature.



anna-banana
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08 Dec 2008, 4:47 pm

I don't like the fact that they did it for the male heir a lot more than just the fact that the woman is a dinosaur...


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08 Dec 2008, 5:00 pm

anna-banana wrote:
I don't like the fact that they did it for the male heir a lot more than just the fact that the woman is a dinosaur...


Well that's why they call some places backwards.



HaliaTotheres
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08 Dec 2008, 6:05 pm

I always get sad about those kinds of things only because the parents most likely wont be there for their highschool graduation/wedding/middleschool graduation/first boyfriend or girlfriend I would want to be there for those things, what are they going to do in the end? (I hate saying it that way, but it's true)



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08 Dec 2008, 6:27 pm

Whatever happened to a woman's reproductive freedom and her right to choose? Or do such rights apply only to abortion?

Seems to me that if ol' Granny wanted to pop out a few more kids, she has every right to follow through. After all, it's her choice, right?


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release_the_bats
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08 Dec 2008, 6:40 pm

Fnord wrote:
Whatever happened to a woman's reproductive freedom and her right to choose? Or do such rights apply only to abortion?

Seems to me that if ol' Granny wanted to pop out a few more kids, she has every right to follow through. After all, it's her choice, right?


Assuming that these are rhetorical questions (?), I'm with you, Fnord.

One could pose the question: Should new technology be developed for the sole purpose of allowing people to reproduce at more advanced ages? And the ensuing debate might be different.

But this sounds like a natural birth, or one involving common / standard procedures and technology, so I don't see why anyone outside of the family has the right to judge or complain.



ShadesOfMe
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08 Dec 2008, 7:03 pm

Wow. That's pretty old. Good for her!

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In India, it's common to abort female fetuses, although it is illegal for doctors to reveal the sex of a fetus to pregnant parents.


Why is it illegal? to stop people from aborting based on the sex of the child? What about people who aren't going to abort? what if *they* want to find out? That is unfair.



legendoftheselkie
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08 Dec 2008, 7:10 pm

Wow, that's old. The only way I'd ever go through all that again is as a surrogate for one of my daughters, who is struggling with infertility. But I'm on so many medications that I don't think it would be possible.


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08 Dec 2008, 7:24 pm

"Grand" children topic

Biologically the children are not hers. The husband's sperm may have been used, but those eggs belonged to some other woman. They may well be her own grandchildren, who knows? (The daughter's eggs)

Sounds like the husband wanted the kids more than the wife. But since they came out of her, they are her offspring. Traditional.

And what is the role of the woman's grandchildren? Was there no grandson?

Not for me. Unless the child was from my egg, no way. And I am beyond that now. But the choice is now there for others--at the right price. :roll:


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Fnord
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08 Dec 2008, 8:11 pm

sartresue wrote:
"Grand" children topic

Biologically the children are not hers. The husband's sperm may have been used, but those eggs belonged to some other woman. They may well be her own grandchildren, who knows? (The daughter's eggs)

Sounds like the husband wanted the kids more than the wife. But since they came out of her, they are her offspring. Traditional.

And what is the role of the woman's grandchildren? Was there no grandson?

Not for me. Unless the child was from my egg, no way. And I am beyond that now. But the choice is now there for others--at the right price. :roll:

The choice has been there for a while. A couple of years ago, there was a 64-year old woman here in the States who misrepresented her age to receive fertility treatments in order to give birth. These treatments actually allowed her own eggs to be fertilised with her husband's sperm.

I can't find the story now, though.


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09 Dec 2008, 1:24 am

That's selfish, stupid, and downright wrong. What's going to happen in five years when those kids' parents DIE? Who's going to look after them?


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09 Dec 2008, 3:34 am

I agree that everyone should be able to choose when they wish to produce offspring, but I feel that parents shouldn't be allowed to reproduce that late. It's unfair on the children and is only selfish.



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09 Dec 2008, 7:32 am

Child-rearing is a young woman's job. Ol' granny won't have anything close to the energy required to raise a child.

Why do these affronts to nature always happen in India? Whenever I see a story about a kid born with an inordinate amount of heads/limbs/genitals, it's always from Bangladesh or Pakistan or someplace like that. The Western world has a comparative few home-grown freaks.