Hundreds of thousands of babies are born in Spain every year, but when doctors at Recoletas Hospital in Burgos delivered a set of twins last week, it was far from an everyday occurrence.
The twins, a boy and a girl, were born to a 64-year-old mother, an incredible anomaly the hospital staff called an “exceptional case.” According to CNN, the Spanish woman had become pregnant through in vitro fertilization treatment she received in the United States.
To put this in context, the CDC, which measures fertility and birth rates for the U.S., reported 677 successful births to women aged 50 and over in 2013. That being said, most of these births occurred among women aged 50 to 54, and data for any older age ranges is so uncommon that it isn’t even reported.
While the Spanish woman, who is currently being referred to by her initials “M.I.A., is not the world’s oldest mother to date, the list of those older than her is not very long. By most measures, that title goes to India’s Daljinder Kaur, who successfully gave birth to a baby boy last year. Although her exact age couldn’t be determined at the time, but an Indian clinic that helped with the pregnancy estimated Kaur was 72 years old.
Still, twins are a different story altogether, and it seems as though there are only a few people—including a 66 year old Spanish woman named Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara—who can top M.I.A. age as far as age is concerned. Bousada de Lara, who had her twins in 2006, died three years later, launching her story into a much larger conversation: how old is too old?
While there are many positive success stories among older mothers—Janet Jackson is probably the most famous, and most recent example—there are also many risks associated with getting pregnant later in life, including the potential of a miscarriage or the chance child being born with a disability. Additionally, there is the simple concern that older-than-the-norm parents could die earlier in their children’s life, or that their age could become a burden on their ability to care for their children.
However, in M.I.A.’s specific case this doesn’t seem to be a problem—at least at the time being. Recoletas Hospital reported that both the mother and her babies are in perfect health right now, “thanks to the coordinated work of the multidisciplinary team of the hospital.”
Photo: Dave Herholz, CC-BY
Dillon Thompson is University of Georgia student and freelance writer with a love for travel and an addiction to coffee and hip-hop music.