A Spanish woman who became the world’s oldest mother after she lied about her age to obtain IVF treatment has died two years after she gave birth.
In 2007, one week before her 67th birthday, Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara gave premature birth by caesarean section to two sons, Christian and Pau, in a Barcelona hospital. They weighed 3.5 lbs each.
Without the knowledge of her family, she had traveled to California for IVF treatment at the Pacific Fertility Center. According to the Associated Press, the director and owner of the center, Dr. Vicken Sahakian, said she falsified her birth date on documents.
Dr. Sahakian had implanted Bousada with an embryo conceived with a younger woman’s eggs and donated sperm. Bousada also had to receive a three-week hormone treatment to “rejuvenate” her uterus, after being menopausal for 18 years.
In 2007 Bousada claimed that the Pacific Fertility Center did not ask her for identification. She said that she stood a good chance of living long enough to raise her children because her mother at died at 101.
Justifying her action to the Sunday Times, she said “That’s life. I have my motives.”
She had been diagnosed with a tumor shortly after giving birth, according a Spanish newspaper report. Dr. Sahakian said he did not believe the hormone treatment increased her cancer risk.
Following her death, her brother Ricardo Bousa said he had sold exclusive details of his sister’s death to a television program. The proceeds will go toward supporting his sister’s two-year-old twins.
Edward Furton, ethicist with the National Catholic Bioethics Center and editor of the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, explained the ethical problems with IVF to CNA on Thursday.
He said the major problem with IVF is that “it takes conception away from the married couple and puts it into the hands of a lab technician.”
“It’s conception without sex, really. Every child should be brought into the world through the union of husband and wife, this is the natural norm.
“This particular woman chose to act outside the natural norm, and she became pregnant at a very advanced age. Not surprisingly, she has passed away, leaving two very young children.”
Asked about whether there is difference between scientific procedures that treat disease and IVF fertility treatments, Furton replied, “Science should be in the service of natural norms.” “Yes, people get diseases, but diseases are contrary to the good of health, which by nature we should have. So doctors are trying to bring individuals back to health. So nature is the standard by which we judge science and medicine.
“Conception is good as well, but it has boundaries, and those need to be respected if we are going to avoid circumstances like this where a woman leaves behind young orphans.”