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Moral issues in 66 year old's pregnancy

The Herald-Sun reported yesterday that the decision of Romanian woman Adriana Iliescu's decision to have a baby at 66, making her the world's oldest mother, has sparked an international outcry. The retired professor and now single mother gave birth to two daughters on Sunday after becoming pregnant through donated sperm and eggs. One of the girls arrived stillborn. The story has been generating much press coverage around the world.

The newspaper has sought local comment from Melbourne Catholic bioethicist, Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, and the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Mgr Les Tomlinson.

Dr Tonti-Filippini said the birth gave rise to practical and emotional concerns.

"Children are extraordinarily demanding, particularly in the early years. To contemplate dealing with that at her age is absurd," he said.

"There's a three generations gap between mother and child. The concern is that the child will not have a healthy parent, relatively close in age who is able to understand their experiences."

Mgr Les Tomlinson said the development was very troubling.

"Motherhood should exist to shepherd the child through to adulthood but that is very unlikely to happen in this instance," he said.

"This would not have happened in normal circumstances. There are grounds for (the Catholic Church's) disquiet about this sort of technological reproduction."

Meanwhile the Sydney Morning Herald has a report this morning saying "One of Australia's biggest in vitro fertilisation clinics will reverse a policy of transferring only a single embryo at a time, after finding it greatly reduced its program's success rate."

Global outcry at 66-year-old's baby (Herald-Sun 18/1/05)
Pregnancy rate fall forces clinic into U-turn (SMH 19/1/05)

Bishop alarmed by 'designer baby' IVF use

19 Jan 2005