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When is an older mother too old


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When is an older mother too old

  1. 1. When is an older mother TOO old? Meet thewomen becoming first-time parents in their fiftiesExtracts from an article byTamara Abraham in Mail OnlineUPDATED: 12:20 GMT, 26 October 2011New generation of parents: A powerful feature in New York Magazine earlier this month drew attention tothe women becoming mothers in their fiftiesThe fact that first time mothers are getting older is an undeniable truth. Over the past tenyears, the number of women over 45 giving birth has more than doubled in the U.S.And, the Centers for Disease Control, revealed, there has been a 375 per cent increase in thesame period for births among women over 50.The rising figure is mostly thanks to improved technology and medicine. Egg-freezing, forexample, allows women to delay motherhood like never before.
  2. 2. And, obstetricians argue, many women in their fifties today are as fit and healthy as womenten or 15 years younger.Studies have shown that those who have put off having children in favour of a career arelikely to be wealthier and better-educated than their peers, therefore in better physical health.But the risks are still serious. Mothers over the age of 35 are 20 per cent more likely to givebirth prematurely, which brings with it higher incidences of lung, digestive and neurologicalproblems in the infant.A mother-to-be in her forties is at higher risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and highblood pressure, and giving birth to a child with autism (studies show this is true for fathersover 40 too). Ann Maloney, who gave birth to her first baby at 50, told New York Magazine how she and her second husband, John Ross, who she met when she was 47, conceived using a donor egg within a year of meeting. Now a mother of two, the 60-year-old admitted she had to be brought out of menopause with hormones to carry her second daughter. Second chance: John Ross, 66, and Ann Maloney, 60, with their daughters Lily, seven, and Isabella, ten, say they are still both very high energyBut despite their advanced ages, Ms Maloney and Mr Ross insist they are dedicated parents to Lily,seven, and Isabella, ten.You dont know how high-energy, actually, both of us are, Mr Ross said. Iacted in 32 productions at Harvard, worked with Erik Erikson, graduated near the top of my class.We are both very intense, and also nurturers.As father already to a 35-year-old son from a previous marriage, he admitted that his hope as aparent this time round was to do a better job.I wanted to rear a family in a better way, he said.Kate Garros, from Sea Cliff Long Island, missed out on the chance to become a mother earlier inlife, and was 53 when she and her second husband conceived twins Alexandra and John with thehelp of donor eggs.
  3. 3. Older mother: Kate Garros, 61, conceived seven-year-old twins John and Alexandra at the age of 53 with thehelp of donor eggsWhile she is clearly a loving mother to her now seven-year-old twins, the fact that she suffers fromarthritis, like many other women of 61, is a constant reminder of her age.These concerns are echoed by Wisconsin psychologist Julianne Zweifel, who told themagazine: Children are entitled to at least one healthy, vibrant parent.Just because youre alive doesnt mean youre healthy and vibrant, she warned. 1) How do you think the children of these parents will feel as teenagers or young adults? 2) In your opinion, should there be an age limitation imposed by law on women wanting to conceive a child by medical intervention? What should this limit be? Explain your arguments. 3) At the end of your discussion, I am going to choose 2 students to explain your subject and the abstract of your discussion to the group.
  4. 4. Embryo Ethics: Does discarding unused embryosconstitute murder?Extracts from an article by Mariah Wojdacz-Sep 2008for legal ZoomWith growing numbers of couples relying on in-vitro fertilization, estimates place thenumber of frozen embryos in America at more than 400,000. During in vitro, doctorsstimulate the womans ovaries to release multiple eggs - for most women, one round ofstimulation yields 15 or more eggs. Usually, anywhere from half to 90% of these eggs arefertilized in a process where the sperm and eggs are combined in a Petri-dish. The resultingembryos are then implanted into the womans uterus. To avoid risky multiple births,however, only three eggs are implanted into the uterus at a time. Often, pregnancy isachieved before all the embryos have been implanted. The extras are cryopreserved - thatis, frozen - and the couple must then decide what to do with them.Couples have several options, each with ethical implications. Some couples choose toimplant the extra embryos at a time during the womans cycle when she is not likely tobecome pregnant. Others choose to donate the embryos for stem cell and fertility research.Still others take them home to bury, or allow them to be destroyed at the clinic.So, in the debate over embryos, where do opponents draw the line?Pro-life Christians have made clear that embryo destruction is tantamount to abortion.Father Michael Seger, moral theologian at Mount St. Marys Seminary in Ohio, counselscouples with extra embryos to have them implanted as soon as possible. "One of thereasons we are so dead-set against (in-vitro fertilization) is the dilemma (couples) findthemselves in after the procedure, and what to do with the extra eggs that are fertilized,"says Father Seger. "When they come to me its post-factum ... and all their Catholic intuitionsays, Oh my God, these fertilized eggs have a right to life."In fact, agencies have sprung up to create a new avenue for embryos - adoption. Althoughthere are no laws governing the adoption of embryos - legally, they are considered"property" - agencies like the Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency have developmentapplication and screening processes that mimic adoption. Their "Snowflake" adoptionprogram matches genetic parents who do not wish to destroy or implant their extraembryos with couples who want to adopt them. Since starting the program, Nightlight hasmatched 212 genetic couples with 139 adoptive families. Thus far, 79 babies have beenborn, with 8 adopting families currently expecting at least 11 more.Other parents, however, do not consider their frozen embryos to be human beings at all. "Afrozen embryo doesnt mean life," says mother of in-vitro triplets Diane Calcaterra. "It hasto sustain itself through the mother. If someone said, I want to adopt your two embryos, ifthey put them in, that doesnt mean they would get two children out of that."
  5. 5. JoAnn Davidson of Christian Adoption and Family Services disagrees: "They are life from themoment of conception," she says of the frozen embryos. "Theres only that one uniquemoment when the sperm and egg come together, and everything else is just stages ofdevelopment."Most fertility centers limit the length of time they will store extra embryos - usually fromtwo to five years. After that time, the couple must decide what to do with them. AUniversity of Iowa College of Medicine study examined couples whose two-year storageperiod had expired. When given the option of continued storage, over half of the coupleschose it. Twenty percent donated the embryos for adoption, while 11 percent donatedthem for research. Eighteen percent chose to have the embryos discarded.Sometimes, though, parents are not given a choice. Before closing in 1999, an Arizonafertility clinic tried to locate the parents of their frozen embryos through a classified ad.About 50 embryos were never claimed. They were discarded as medical waste.For Steven and Kate Johnson, who adopted an embryo and now have a daughter namedZara, what happened in Arizona seems tantamount to mass murder. "Every embryo has aface," says Steve. "Zara is one of these faces. And its up to us to shine the light in thedarkness." 1) Would you be willing to adopt an embryo? Explain your motivation. 2) In your opinion, should it be considered a crime to discard a frozen embryo? Explain your arguments. 3) At the end of your discussion, I am going to choose 2 students to explain your subject and the abstract of your discussion to the group.
  6. 6. Surrogate Motherhood and the Ethical IssuesAdvancements in biomedical technology are challenging traditional concepts and norms, sparking a hotbedof ethical and legal debates. Center in contemporary ethical discussions is the issue of surrogatemotherhood. Surrogacy, one of several reproductive technologies, is throwing into question the verydefinitions of mothers and family.What is surrogacy?There are 3 types of genetic surrogacy circumstances: Genetic surrogacy or partial surrogacy: This is the most common type of surrogacy. Here the egg of the surrogate mother is fertilized by the commissioning males sperm. In this way the surrogate mother is the biological mother of the child she carries. Total surrogacy: Here the surrogate mothers egg is fertilized with the sperm of a donor - not the male part of the commissioning couple. Gestatory surrogacy or full surrogacy: Here the commissioning couples egg and sperm have gone through in vitro fertilization and the surrogate mother is not genetically linked to the child.There are 2 types of surrogacy arrangements: Altruistic surrogacy: In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother is not paid for her service. She offers her womb as an act of altruism. Often there will be a pre-established bond between the surrogate mother and the expecting couple. Typically the surrogate mother is a friend or a relative. Commercial surrogacy: In commercial surrogacy the surrogate mother receives compensation for carrying the child. Often there will be a mediating party, a surrogacy agency that deals with all the practical arrangements for the commissioning couple: finding a suitable surrogate mother and dealing with all the paperwork etc.Ethical issuesThe dilemmas of surrogacy arise from the fact that there are now two women who are biologicallyconnected to the child: the genetic mother and the birth mother. Yet who is to be considered the “real”mother? Is it the woman who gives birth to the child, who raises the child, or who is genetically related tothe child? Besides the minefield of legal conflicts arising from surrogacy, the ethical issues surroundingsurrogate motherhood abound.For example, there are various reasons besides infertility that a couple might decide to use a surrogate tohave a child. Viewed as “ethical,” surrogate motherhood is used as a means to avoid passing a geneticdefect to a child. What is considered to be “unethical,” is when surrogacy is used as a convenience by(wealthy) women who either do not want to disrupt their professional lives with child-bearing or who wantto avoid the discomforts of childbirth even though they do not suffer from infertility. Ethical analystsdenote a sharp distinction between these divergent motivations and debate at length whether or notsurrogate motherhood is moral or crosses ethical lines.Arguments by those who claim surrogate motherhood is ethical include that it is a solution to infertilityafter repeated failure to conceive by other means. They advance the position that in-vitro fertilization usesboth the egg and sperm of the couple, tying them biologically to the child. It is unjust that infertile couples
  7. 7. should be denied parenthood. Intrauterine insemination allows the child to carry at least the father’sbiological genes. Difficulties inherent in the adoption process are further arguments for the proponents ofsurrogacy. Also, the presence of a disorder that would place the mother’s life in jeopardy if she becamepregnant is a strong argument in favor of the process. It is also a way to avoid transmitting genetic defects.Proponents cite studies of surrogates that confirm that most surrogates view their experience as positive,meaningful and empowering. (This is contrary to popular expectations that the surrogate mothers wouldsuffer trauma as a result of having to relinquish the baby.)Arguments claiming surrogate motherhood is unethical include the physical and psychological risks to thesurrogate mother and the purported long and short-term physical and psychological hazards to the child.Another is the risk that the process might be abused. Opponents claim a deluge of “compensatedsurrogacy” arrangements whereby a surrogate is paid to carry a child to maturity. Opponents denouncethese arrangements as the financial exploitation of women’s bodies. Surrogacy is attacked as an advantageof the rich over the poor, a means of turning surrogate motherhood into a commercial industry and aconvenience for the well-off to avoid childbirth. It is considered by some to be a devaluation of thesymbolic value of maternity.There are many other additional ethical dilemmas concerning surrogate motherhood that have beenraised. If a couple divorces before the baby is born, who gets custody? What happens if one or both of thecommissioning parents die before the baby is born? What obligations does the surrogate mother have tocontinue with the pregnancy? Does she have the right to abort? What would happen if the infant is bornwith a defect and nobody wants it? Should the child be introduced to the surrogate mother? Given that thelevel of emotional distress associated with giving up a baby cannot be predicted, can a surrogate ever givetruly informed consent?Sources;Birgitte on http://www.positive-parenting-ally.com 1) In your opinion, who should be the legal ‘mother’ of a baby? The egg donor or the woman giving birth? 2) In your opinion, should surrogacy be legalized or not? Explain your arguments. 3) At the end of your discussion, I am going to choose 2 students to explain your subject and the abstract of your discussion to the group.