A 63-year-old woman just gave birth to a healthy baby girl in a Dubai hospital this week, in what is being called a first in the United Arab Emirates.
This was the first time that Dr. Jagaud Nirmala, specialist obstetrician and gynecologist at Thumbay Hospital, had helped an expecting mother over 60.
"The patient consulted the hospital in the 32nd week of her pregnancy after undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in India," Dr. Nirmala told Gulf News. "But I was very confident of handling the challenge as both the mother and child seemed fine after the initial examination."
The Sri Lankan mother and her Indian husband have chosen to remain anonymous but they say they are "thrilled with this birth."
The woman's husband works in Ras Al Khaimah and she has two children from a previous marriage. She gave birth to her last child some 13 years ago, the hospital said.
Although this woman may have just become the oldest in the UAE to give birth, it's definitely not a global record. Daljinder Kaur, an Indian woman, gave birth at the age of 72 in 2016. She is believed to be the world's oldest mother, according to The Telegraph.
In a similar story, and just last week, a woman gave birth to twins in Spain at 64-years-old. The same woman, who has not been identified, also gave birth to her first daughter when she was 58.
These women, like the new mother in Dubai, underwent a controversial IVF procedure in order to give birth at such an old age. Many medical professionals have cited health risks to mother and child, especially if the procedure is done on elderly women.
"There are always high risks of gestational diabetes, hypertension etc with age but that can be monitored," Dr. Nirmala said. She explained that elderly couples usually turn to donor eggs for the procedure, as the woman would have already passed through menopause.
Despite risks, the practice is becoming more and more common.
"It is no longer a miracle for women to deliver after 50," Dr. Amla Nazareth, a specialist obstetrician and gynecologist, told Gulf News.
"With the facility of freezing eggs and embryos, women are delaying pregnancy due to career or economic reasons. They are not willing to bring a child into this world unless they can afford the upbringing," she said.
In India, many doctors are calling for greater regulations on the country's fertility clinics. The country's medical council has even tried to ban fertility treatment for women aged 50 and above.
"We condemn this totally. With science, you can make a 90-year-old person pregnant, what’s the big deal? The question is not about technicalities, it’s about ethics," Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, head of India’s federation of 31,000 gynecologists, told The Telegraph.