Fertility Journal

Is the infertility customer always right?

A UK clinic has recently accepted a 59 year old woman for IVF / egg donation. She will be the oldest woman to receive this treatment in the UK.

When such events arise there are predictable protests. It is argued that if treatment is successful, the risks of pregnancy are significantly increased, that she may not live long enough to see her child reach adulthood. Yet are not many 59 year old women very youthful in their outlook and in remarkably good health?

Would there be the same outcry if the father were 59, 69 or even 79? This seems to be more acceptable to public opinion even though an octogenarian father is very unlikely to see his child become a teenager.

The human female is unique in having a menopause. This could be considered as a brilliant design as it means that the human mother will hopefully live long enough to bring up her youngest child instead of having babies until she dies. Simply because the technology exists to extend the ability to bear children by a decade or two, is it right to use it? Should doctors exercise their right and ability to say “no” to the paying “customer”? Or is the customer always right?

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