The age at which human women are able to conceive and give birth has fascinated scientists, as well as media-driven sensationalism. When it comes to the record-breaking age for childbirth, there have been many disputed claims. In this article, we discuss the oldest recorded births reported by medical professionals and focus on information that has been officially verified.
Thanks to modern medical care and increasing fertility awareness, women are able to extend their childbearing years significantly beyond what was possible in prior centuries. Even so, it’s important to note that any pregnancy over the age of 35 carries a higher risk of complication for both mother and baby – though not necessarily a guarantee of anything going wrong. As healthcare providers become increasingly aware of reproductive risks in older mothers, expectant parents should know the facts in order to make informed decisions about when the best time might be for them to conceive and give birth.
History of Oldest Mothers
Throughout history, there have been numerous examples of women who have broken barriers and defied the odds in terms of childbirth. We often hear about the youngest mother (Lina Marcela Medina de Jurado) but who is the oldest person to ever have a baby?
By examining the records of women who have entered motherhood later in life, we can gain insight into the age at which giving birth is considered safe and healthy.
Lina Medina – Age 5
Lina Medina was just five-years-old when she gave birth to a healthy son in Peru in May 1939. Known as “the youngest mother”, medical records show she conceived at the age of five years and seven months. According to her parents, Lina began developing breasts and pubic hair around the age of two, leading them to believe that their daughter was experiencing abnormal growth.
There was no definitive diagnosis that Lina had precocious puberty so she underwent a number of tests including X-Rays, which showed that she had an enlarged uterus and a partly calcified fetus. Unsurprisingly, there were many skeptics at the time who questioned how this could be but potential medical explanations included:
- Ovarian cysts
- Endocrine disorders due to possibilities of hormonal imbalances
- More recently it has been suggested that Lina may have had an adrenal gland tumor
Although it is impossible to be certain about exactly why Lina became pregnant at such an exceptionally young age, it remains a fact that she did become pregnant and give birth naturally on 14th May 1939 making her both the youngest natural mother ever recorded as well as one of the most remarkable fertility case studies. The father remains unknown although there have been various speculations ranging from her own father or possibly someone from their village.
Rajo Devi Lohan – Age 70
Rajo Devi Lohan is recognized as the world’s oldest mother. In November 2008, at age 70, she gave birth to her firstborn child in a hospital in India. Prior to this feat, she had taken fertility treatments for two and a half years after being rejected by multiple adoption centers due to her advanced age.
Mrs. Lohan’s decision garnered media attention worldwide due to its rarity and raised debates about the ethics of older pregnancies (in India, it is illegal for women aged 50 and over to conceive). Nevertheless, her case is an example of medical science’s advancements that allow some women who are beyond their reproductive years the chance to become mothers.
At 70 years old, Mrs. Lohan had already outlived the average life expectancy of Indian women by more than 17 years; however, she could have become even older if not for the unfortunate death of her son shortly after his birth due to developmental disabilities caused by her medical conditions. Although Mrs. Lohan has since passed away at the age of 75, her legacy will remain as an inspiration for many aging couples who wish to start a family against all odds.
Omkari Panwar – Age 70
Omkari Panwar, an Indian woman, is considered to be the oldest woman to give birth. In 2008, at the age of 70, she gave birth to twins via caesarean section. Omkari was already a grandmother at the time of her pregnancy.
Panwar and her 77-year-old husband, Charan Singh Panwar, had been trying for a baby for nearly 30 years when they underwent in vitro fertilization treatment with an undisclosed donor egg. After two unsuccessful attempts in other countries and a second unsuccessful attempt in India using donor sperm they were successful on their third attempt using donor eggs along with her husband’s sperm.
Omkari gained nationwide attention leading up to the delivery of her twins and afterwards has given many interviews and television appearances celebrating her experience as a mother much later in life than what is typically seen. She serves as an inspiration to prove that no matter your age or circumstances you can achieve your dreams;
Daljinder Kaur – Age 72
Daljinder Kaur of India became the oldest woman in the world to give birth to a healthy baby, at age 72. Kaur and her 79-year-old husband had been trying for years to have a child, but were unable due to being infertile. Miraculously, after two years of trying assisted reproductive techniques (ART) treatments, the couple’s dream of becoming parents finally came true.
The ART treatment used by Kaur and her husband involved:
- extracting nine eggs from Kaur’s ovaries,
- combining them with sperm from her husband,
- transferring a single fertilized egg back into her uterus a week later.
Shortly after becoming pregnant she was given intensive care and was monitored very closely throughout the whole process. In April 2016 at Dera Baba Nanak hospital in Amritsar she gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Arman weighing 4 pounds 2 ounces.
Kaur is not only the oldest woman in India to give birth but also the oldest woman in recorded history who has given birth without using an egg donor or surrogate motherhood services. Her immense courage has inspired many older couples facing infertility issues around the world to never give up hope on their dreams of having children despite their age and medical conditions.
When it comes to the oldest person to give birth, health risks are a major concern. Such an advanced age can make the pregnancy more difficult and dangerous for both the mother and the baby. This is due to an increased risk of complications, such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, and more.
Let’s explore some of the potential health risks associated with an older mother giving birth:
While having a baby at an advanced age may be exciting and rewarding, there are some important health risks associated with pregnancies later in life. For example, women who are 35 or over may have an increased risk for pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, preterm labor, preeclampsia and placental abruption. Additionally, couples who are 35 or older may experience difficulty conceiving due to decreased fertility or early menopause.
Women with existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes should be especially aware of risk factors when considering a pregnancy during later stages in life. Women of all ages should discuss any existing medical conditions with their doctor before attempting to become pregnant. Furthermore, those over the age of 35 should consider genetic counseling prior to conception in order to better assess the risk of genetic disorders that younger couples typically do not have to worry about.
In general, it is recommended that potential parents who are considered “older” take extra precautions when considering a late-in-life pregnancy as there can be a greater chance for chromosomal abnormalities in babies born to older mothers compared with those born to younger mothers. Additionally, physicians may recommend more frequent prenatal visits throughout the pregnancy due to the increased risk of complications.
Increased Risk of Birth Defects
Research has shown that women over the age of 35 are at increased risk for certain complications associated with pregnancy, including an increased risk for birth defects. Birth defects are a broad category of health issues that can affect any part and function of the body, such as the heart and brain. Although the majority of birth defects occur in babies born to younger mothers, advanced maternal age is a factor specifically associated with an increased risk for certain birth defects and genetic disorders.
Risk factors associated with advanced maternal age include chromosome abnormalities such as Down syndrome (involving an extra copy of chromosome 21) and Edwards syndrome (involving an extra copy of chromosome 18) as well as neural tube defects – serious conditions affecting parts of baby’s brain or spine. Other genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis can also become more likely when either the mother’s or father’s ages exceed certain thresholds.
Studies have shown that older mothers over age 35 may also face increased risks for
- high blood pressure during pregnancy
- preterm labor
- placenta problems
- gestational diabetes
- cesarean delivery – if too much time passes without progress during labor.
As women continue to delay childbearing until later in life, it is important to be aware of these potential risks so informed decisions can be made about fertility treatments if desired.
Over the years, people of all ages have become parents. The oldest recorded mother who gave birth to her own child is in her 70s. However, the oldest recorded parent on record is Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara, a Spanish woman who became a mother at the age of 66 years and 358 days old, according to Guinness World Records.
If you are thinking about having a baby in later life, you should speak with your healthcare provider to assess any risk factors and make sure you are healthy enough to get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby.