Today’s news story about the oldest woman pregnant with quadruplets is contributing to the miseducation of women about their fertility that we so often see in the media. Here’s why :
1. News outlets are calling what she did “inseminations” using donor egg and donor sperm. It isn’t possible to inseminate a woman with eggs from a donor and sperm from a donor in order to produce a pregnancy. The only way to help someone get pregnant with an egg and sperm from donors is to create an embryo first through the process of IVF = in vitro fertilization.
2. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to see a trend of 60 year olds in the US carrying a pregnancy. If you’re an American woman interested in pregnancy over age 50, there are ways you can do it. Most docs will recommend using a gestational carrier and transferring 1 embryo at a time. Women in the US and even in Europe (why she went overseas) will have a hard time finding a local doc to help them achieve pregnancy over the age of 50 with their own uterus.
3. There is a misunderstanding out there that having functioning ovaries is necessary to carry a pregnancy if a woman has run out of eggs. There is a simple biology lesson that we can learn from this. The lesson is that you don’t need functioning ovaries to carry a pregnancy. As long as a woman has a uterus, she can achieve a pregnancy through hormones and the transfer of an embryo. The inevitable truth (until science has a different solution for us) is that all women eventually run out of eggs. Some women run out of eggs earlier than others and some sadly run out before they are mothers. Third party parenting is an option for women to consider (along with other options like adoption and embryo donation) to help them on their journey to parenthood.
I wish the news outlets would provide a more balanced story and allow IVF doctors and psychologists to chime in. A quadruplet IVF pregnancy is considered a medical complication. Your fertility doctor doesn’t want any of her patients to see this story and think it’s “remarkable” like it’s being portrayed in the media. Fertility docs hope patients don’t see this as something that we would ever promote or consider for our patients regardless of their age. I hope she has the safest and healthiest pregnancy possible.