72-Year-Old Man Gives Birth

December 9, 2008

In the UK-of-the-day spirit …

Motherlode, a New York Times blog, reports today that a 70-year-old woman has given birth in India.

It only mentions in passing that her husband is even older: 72.

The real story, of course, is the 70-year-old woman’s record age, and whether or not it’s irresponsible for her to have given birth. It perhaps can be dangerous, even with an egg donor. And mom will be 88 by the time the child is of age.

My first response to this story was to go where the article led me: to blame the 70-year-old woman for being irresponsible.

Then it hit me that it was perhaps even more irresponsible for the 72-year-old man to have had a child. After all, doesn’t an elderly man’s sperm put a child more at risk? And he’ll be 90 (hypothetically, if he lives that long) by the time the child is of age. Women live longer then men, so the age issue is even worse for the father here.

I’m assuming here that you also agree that it’s probably generally not a great idea for people in their 70′s to have babies, not because it’s unnatural, but because of the chances that such old people won’t be able to responsibly raise the child.

But why just blame the mother? It’s at least equally irresponsible for elderly fathers to have babies. It’s just not news, I suppose, because it happens all the time.

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