April 24, 2024

ODD SPOT: Grandmothers overturn age-old conceptions

It’s a bit early to vote for headline of the year, but BioEdge would like to nominate “Great-grandmother admits she’s not pregnant”, which ran on MSNBC.com over a January 4 news item from Associated Press. A 59-year-old woman from a small town in the American state of Georgia, Frances Harris, told family and friends that she was pregnant with twins, even though she had been sterilised 33 years earlier. It turns out that Mrs Harris was grappling with, um, “personal issues” and that the announcement was probably wishful thinking.

Even if she had been expecting, however, Mrs Harris would have faced stiff competition in the ancient mum fun run. Late in December, a 55- year-old Virgina surrogate mother gave birth to her daughter’s triplets. Her example should encourage other couples to consider options which are “a little non-traditional”, said the daughter. And in Romania, a 67-year-old retired university lecturer is gunning for the Guinness Book of World Records. Mrs Adriana Iliescu is seven months pregnant with twins after a decade of IVF treatment. She describes her pregnancy as “the happiest time of my life”.