Has Fertility Medicine Gone Too Far?

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Has Fertility Medicine Gone Too Far?

55-year-old mom with daughterA recent case involving Annegret Raunigk of Berlin has many people questioning the point at which the curtain should close on fertility treatments.

Raunigk, a sixty-five year old school teacher, had her 13th baby when she was fifty-five and is now entering her third trimester of pregnancy with quadruplets.

According to USA Today’s reporter, Arden Dier, “Raunigk plans to add four more bundles of joy to her already large family. Raunigk underwent numerous attempts at artificial insemination over 18 months using donor eggs and sperm after her youngest daughter, Leila, asked for a baby brother or sister.” The media report continues, “While a pregnancy was planned, Raunigk says it was ‘a shock for me’ when doctors found she was carrying quadruplets.”

This type of medical intervention should not be condoned. In so many ways, this situation truly parallels the American Octomom case.

I say this because there are parental, medical and sociological responsibilities and ramifications here.

As of yet, it has not been revealed whether or not Raunigk underwent any form of psychological counseling with a trained therapist. This would be not only recommended, but vital before proceeding with fertility treatments.

We have to scrutinize why a fertility doctor would allow a woman at her age to be pregnant with quadruplets. It’s not only a dangerous situation for this senior, but may also put these babies at risk, too.

Raunigk told reporters, “I always find it very aggravating that one has to fulfill certain clichés.” She goes on to say, “I’m not actually afraid … I simply assume I’ll remain healthy and fit.”

Her gynecologist has told the media that while Raunigk is doing well to date, there is a risk of premature births.

Let me chime in here by saying that the most recent set of quadruplets in the news, the “Gardner Quadruplets” , is a completely different scenario. Two embryos were split in two to create sets of identical twins. That should be the only time someone is pregnant with quads from a fertility treatment. Above all, the mother, Ashley Gardner was in her twenties at the time of her pregnancy and the couple struggled several years with infertility.

All media reports concur that Raunigk, already a grandmother of 7 children, has children between the ages of 9 to 44.

According to Fox2Now News, despite the medical analysis backlash, Raunigk is telling naysayers, “They can see it how they want to, and I’ll see it the way I think is right.”

And she is also quoted saying, “Children keep me young.”

Really, is that so?

Having children in a woman’s twenties and thirties is physically difficult and takes its toll on the body even more so if one is in their forties and fifties.

It is mind boggling to fathom a grandmother in her sixties will be enduring pregnancy, delivery, rearing four newborns, and chasing around toddlers.

Medical professionals are agreeing that Raunigk will be unable to give birth naturally and will ultimately result in a C-section.

The aftercare, however, is another valid concern.

According to the BBC, reporter Michelle Roberts, spoke with Dr. Sue Avery, a fertility expert with Birmingham Women’s Fertility Centre and also a member of the British Fertility Society.

Avery shares in the United Kingdom that a small number of clinics offer IVF treatments to women more than 50 years of age.

Roberts reports Avery saying, “We have to consider the welfare of the child when making a decision,” and ends her statement by adding, “…it is up to individual clinics to decide if a woman, who at the age of 65 might reasonably expect to live for another 20 years or so, should be eligible for treatment.”

For the welfare of these babies, let’s all hope that future plans will be in place so these children receive the best medical, emotional and educational care possible.