Topics

Pregnant at Age 63? Another Glimpse into the Brave New World

The big news out of Britain today is the announcement that a 63-year old psychiatrist is pregnant, thanks to a donor egg and the services of the controversial Italian fertility specialist, Dr. Severino Antinori.

FromMedical News Today:

Dr. Patricia Rashbrook, 63, from Lewes, East Sussex, England, will become Britain’s oldest mother. Dr. Rashbrook was treated by Severino Antinori, a controversial fertility doctor, at an undisclosed European country.

Dr. Antinori, who has a fertility clinic in Rome, considers 63 to be the age-limit for IVF treatment. Dr. Rashbrook, a psychiatrist, is seven months pregnant. She already has two grown-up children from a previous marriage. She says she is very happy to be pregnant.

In a statement, Dr. Rashbrook and her husband said “A great deal of thought has been given to planning and providing for the child’s present and future well-being, medically, socially and materially. We are very happy to have given life to an already much-loved baby, and our wish now is to give him the peace and security he needs…. We will therefore welcome a return to an undisturbed family life, in order that the well-being of both mother and child may continue to be promoted. We have greatly valued the warm support shown to us by family, friends and colleagues.”

Here we catch another glimpse into the Brave New World of the new (and rapidly developing) reproductive technologies — some employed now by doctors who defy law, ethical guidelines, and public concern.

This story points to the intersection of several very modern ideas. First, the belief that a woman has a “right” to a pregnancy regardless of age, marital status, etc. This is directly tied to the exaggerated ideal of personal autonomy that prevails throughout the culture. Second, this story also points to the cultural belief that any medical technology must be used, just because it now exists. This plays right into our cultural assumptions about the inherent goodness of all technology. Third, this story must also suggest something about changing ideals of parenthood. This mom will be age 73 when the child is age 10. What obligation of long-term support does a parent owe a child?

We will discuss these questions today on The Albert Mohler Program, broadcast live today from Washington, DC. Let me know how you are thinking about this.OTHER COVERAGE: BBC News, The Telegraph [London], ABC News, The Guardian [London], The Times {London].