A 63-year-old British hospital consultant is set to become one of the world’s oldest mothers after undergoing fertility treatment, the Italian doctor who treated her said on Thursday.
Patricia Rashbrook, a child psychologist from Lewes, East Sussex, underwent in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment last October, Severino Antinori told Reuters.
Antinori, who said he was “excited and proud” about the treatment, gained notoriety in the early 1990s when he helped a 62-year-old Italian woman give birth following fertility treatment with a donated egg.
Italy has since introduced some of Europe’s most restrictive laws on assisted reproduction and Antinori said he had carried out the procedure on Rashbrook in an unnamed former Soviet republic.
“The case of the English woman gave me great joy,” he said, adding that the treatment was successful at the first attempt, using a single embryo.
He said Rashbrook, whom he last saw in November, was “perfect” for the treatment, because although she was 62 at the time, she had a biological age of about 45.
“She came here with her husband, the couple love each other, she is very slim, blonde and in perfect condition, she fits all the criteria for maternity.”
“She should live for at least 20 to 25 years - we are not giving birth to an orphan,” he said.
Rashbrook and her 61-year-old husband John Farrant posed briefly for a scrum of photographers outside their home.
She told reporters she was “delighted with the pregnancy.”
“We just want you to know we take our responsibilities very seriously and regard the best interest of the child as paramount. What we would wish now is to be allowed the right to pursue our family life in private.”
Farrant told the Sun newspaper that his wife is seven months pregnant. “We are of course both very happy and looking forward to the birth,” he said. “Obviously at our age it is quite a daunting prospect.”
Farrant is Rashbrook’s second husband and she has a 26-year-old daughter and a 22-year-old son, the paper said.
Many fertility clinics in Britain will not provide treatment for women past the normal age for childbirth.
In 1997, Welsh woman Liz Buttle became Britain’s oldest mother at the age of 60. Media reports said she had obtained fertility treatment after lying about her age to doctors.
Last year, a 66-year-old Romanian, Adriana Iliescu, became the world’s oldest mother when she gave birth to a baby girl after IVF treatment.
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD