The parents of the baby — the Sri Lankan mother and her 61-year-old husband from Chennai, India — declined to disclose their names or other details. Image for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Istockphoto

Dubai: In what is being claimed as a first in the UAE, a 63-year-old woman has given birth to a healthy girl in Dubai, a hospital said on Monday.

The baby was born at 7.30am on Sunday weighing 2.25kg and both the mother and baby were reported to be doing well.

Dr Jagaud Nirmala, specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist at Thumbay Hospital, said this was the first time she had such a patient older than 60. “The patient consulted the hospital in the 32nd week of her pregnancy after undergoing In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in India. But I was very confident of handling the challenge as both the mother and child seemed fine after the initial examination.”

The parents of the baby — the Sri Lankan mother and her 61-year-old husband from Chennai, India — declined to disclose their names or other details. However, the woman said both she and her husband were overjoyed with the birth of their daughter. “My family and I am thrilled with this birth,” she told Gulf News on Monday.

Hospital sources added the woman who had two grown-up children from a previous marriage, had her last child 13 years ago. After getting married the second time, she underwent IVF to have this baby. The woman’s husband works in Ras Al Khaimah.

Dr Nirmala said: “It was a precious pregnancy for the couple. The expectant mother had gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia [hypertension during pregnancy] and placenta previa [wherein the placenta blocks the neck of the uterus making normal delivery impossible]. In addition, the baby was in a transverse position when she came to us in the 32nd week. I decided to let her keep the baby until the 34th week after which we were to conduct elective caesarean surgery on February 20. However, the patient got admitted on February 18 with bleeding so we decided to carry out the caesarean procedure on February 19.”

The new born was shifted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital and was doing very well. “I think the baby is doing well as she had a good birth weight and no lung immaturity. My patient, the mother, is absolutely fit and can be discharged anytime,” added Dr Nirmala

How do late pregnancies work?

Late child births are controversial as it raises many ethical issues. However, this is not the first time a sixty-plus woman has ventured into this area. Last year in May, a 72-year-old childless woman Daljinder Kaur gave birth to a healthy baby boy after going through IVF at a clinic in Haryana, India.

Talking about late pregnancies, Dr Nirmala said it was not unusual anymore. “Couples usually going in for IVF use donor eggs as the quality of a woman’s egg declines after 30 years. I cannot comment on this case as the mother came to me only at 32 weeks of pregnancy.”

A woman undergoing IVF is given supplements and hormone replacement injections to have her reproductive system up and running. “There are always high risks of gestational diabetes, hypertension etc with age but that can be monitored.”

When asked about high risks of developing breast cancer owing to HRT, Dr Nirmala said that the risk was not as high. “We are talking about an expectant mother undergoing treatment for 9 months unlike women who go through HRT for years where there is a risk of cancer. One has to weigh the pros and cons and take a calculated risk,” the doctor added.

The new born was being fed special Total Parenetral Nutriton (TPN) intravenously as she was born less than full term and needed TPN to overcome malnourishment. The chances of lactation in such late IVF cases are usually slim and the mother in all likelihood will have to have to depend on TPN for some more time.

‘No cut off date’

Dr Amla Nazareth, Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with the Prime Healthcare Group, told Gulf News that with the success of In Viitro Fertilisation (IVF), there was no real cut-off date for women to conceive. “No, it is no longer a miracle for women to deliver after 50. I recently had a case of a 45-year-old woman who delivered twins. With the facility of freezing eggs and embryos, women are delaying pregnancy due to career or economic reasons. They are not willing to bring a child into this world unless they can afford the upbringing. So, the ethical considerations have been relaxed.”

However, she warned against the dangers of ill health. “It is definitely high risk for any woman to have a pregnancy after 60 as it can bring forth underlying health issues in a woman. Today, women are suffering from diabetes and hypertension at 35 and 40 years of age. So, this health problem is likely to be compounded and that is the only reason why women must actually think twice before deciding to be mothers at such a late age.”