British Woman, 59, Pursues Infertility Treatments

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True

Susan Tollefson gave birth at 57. Credit: Jenny Goodall, Solo / ZUMA Press


A 59-year-old London woman and the mother of a 2-year-old may just be the oldest UK citizen to ever be offered in-virto fertilization.


Government guidelines in that country forbid National Health Service doctors from recommending IVF to women over the age of 40, and private clinics generally will not treat women over the age of 50 for infertility.

Now, however, doctors at the private London Women's Clinic agreed to help Susan Tollefsen conceive, according to the Daily Mail. The retired teacher previously traveled to Russia in order to conceive her 2-year-old daughter after being turned away from the British health system because of her age. Tollefsen became Britain's oldest mother after giving birth to daughter Freya at age 57.

The move by London Women's Clinic has provoked controversy in England and some are calling for a law outlining maximum age requirements for IVF.

Member of Parliament Nadine Dorries calls the plan "preposterous." She tells the Mail: "Once you pass the point of natural conception, that's when you should stop. We need to legislate for this because inevitably society will have to pick up the cost later."

Tollefsen defends her decision, saying that she should not be denied the opportunity to carry another child. "I'm still so full of life and healthy at 60 I don't see any reason why I shouldn't be treated," she tells the newspaper. "I really want to do it --110 percent. The clinic said they'd have a look if I definitely wanted to go ahead. I agree, there should be a cut-off point. Perhaps 65 is too old, but I'm still so healthy I don't see why I shouldn't be treated."

According to BioNews, 69-year-old María Carmen del Bousada de Lara of Spain was previously thought to be the world's oldest IVF patient. She gave birth to twins at age 66, and died of cancer in July 2009, leaving her children orphans. She allegedly lied about her age in order to get infertility treatments from a Los Angeles clinic.

Should there be an age limit on fertility treatments?

Related:
Female Infertility

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