World’s Oldest Mums Review: Age-Old Debate

July 23, 2009 by  
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WORLD’S OLDEST MUMS: Thursday 23rd July, Channel 4, 9pm Alert Me

Last month a British woman gave birth to a child at the age of 66, sparking worldwide debate.

Many branded her as selfish, accusing her of failing to consider the best interests of the child. However Boris Johnson publicly offered his support, saying: “Britain’s oldest mum deserves congratulations, not disapproval?.

In timely fashion, The World’s Oldest Mums sees BAFTA nominee Amanda Blue travel the world to meet the women who have decided to become mothers post-menopause.

Accelerating progression in science means motherhood is an option to women of all ages, inevitably throwing up questions of ethics. Blue addresses these in the programme as she meets a range of very different mothers who have undertaken the role of motherhood at a late age.

She attempts to answer the questions: Why do women want to become mothers so late in life? Is it safe? What are their thoughts and concerns? And how old is too old? Is there a cut-off age for motherhood?

There is in the NHS, who will not allow IVF treatment to over-40s. However 72-year-old Jenny is still eager to bear a child, and we follow her in her quest to fulfil her dream. Isn’t she afraid of leaving her young child orphaned? “You could die, but anyone could die?, she says.

Meanwhile in India, a 70-year-old woman who gave birth is met with celebration in her village. Her impulse for motherhood seemed to have come largely from the stigma that is attached to the childless woman, considered “bad luck?.

Every mother adds a new facet to the argument, your opinion continually oscillates, and even by the programme’s conclusion you’re still frustratingly unsure of where your sympathies lie.

It is an impossible tangle of morals, if delectable food for the brain.

We can be sure however, that this is a debate that will continue to rage.

Leonie Mercedes