How Old Is Too Old To Have A Baby?

The other day while riding on the subway I noticed a woman with a wide gray streak in her hair. I noticed her because she and I seemed to be the only two women in the subway car wearing long-sleeve shirts. On that very hot day, all the other women, younger women, were wearing sundresses or sleeveless T-shirts. I thought it was kind of amusing that neither one of us had dared to bare. I remembered a friend once saying that you knew you were a certain age when you stopped waving good-bye on the beach.

But then I realized when the woman moved closer to me to get off at her stop that, unlike me, what she was wearing was not a loose fitting shirt but rather a billowy maternity top. The woman who looked at least fifty was very obviously pregnant.

We all know that women today are having babies later, and later. Through the use of IVF and the buying of donor eggs, more women than ever before have been able to give birth through their 40's and even into their 50's. Of course some women always have had their last child over 40. Now I don't know for a fact if this woman really was pregnant with her first child. But she got me thinking: Is a woman ever too old to finally have a baby if she really wants one?

I have a friend who did get pregnant and have a baby girl in her early fifties. I think she used a donor egg and it turned out to be a very happy experience. I also have heard of a childless couple who adopted twins in their fifties and are coping well. And, in another case, a couple in their sixties, using the husband's sperm, a donor egg and a surrogate are now caring for a 4-month-old infant. That couple was both embarrassed and ecstatic about their unusual late-in-life parenthood.

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