A Midland fertility expert defended Britain's oldest mother against critics who claim her decision to become a mother at 62 is selfish.
Child psychiatrist Patti Farrant gave birth to her son JJ in a Sussex hospital last week, spending £10,000 on fertility treatment using a donor egg in Russia. Her treatment was overseen by controversial fertility doctor Professor Severino Antinori.
The House of Commons science and technology select committee is set to call for all private clinics to disclose the full cost and effectiveness of treating post-menopausal women amid fears some vulnerable patients may be ripped off.
Concerns were raised that by the time JJ is 18, his mother would be in her 80s and he could then be responsible for her care.
But Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility Services, in Aldridge, Walsall, last night said the decision whether or not to treat older would-be mothers should not be "down to something as arbitrary as the date on a birth certificate".
While there is no upper limit for fertility treatment, most UK clinics do not treat women over the age of 45.
Dr Lockwood said: "The bottom line in all this is the welfare of the child. Today's women in their 50s or 60s are living longer, and I am influence by the fact my mother was brought up by her grandmother because her own mother died when she was a little girl.
"Donor eggs are a precious commodity and we're having to ration them because they're very difficult to get hold of, so I'd be more sympathetic to a 35-year-old woman than someone in her 60s who has already had a family and fancies having a baby with her second husband. I would want to make an individual assessment of any woman or couple seeking treatment later in life. This decision can't be down to something as arbitrary as the date on a birth certificate."
Phil Willis, chairman of the Commons science and technology select committee, is pushing for all private UK clinics to publish the cost and effectiveness of post-menopausal treatment.
He said: "Some private clinics abuse their licences as IVF clinics by taking people that they know are infertile and past their fertility cycle and charging them a lot of money.
"It must be right that women have access to objective information that lets them make an informed choice and stops them being ripped off."
But Dr Lockwood said: "I hate the way these incidents are used to tarnish the whole fertility field and call for tighter regulations.
"Rod Stewart fathered his last child well into his 60s and when that baby was born everyone was handing out the cigars, but we demean a 62-year-old woman's dream of becoming a mother and the technology that can make that possible." ..SUPL: