Exhausted and short of money, the world’s oldest mother is seeking a younger husband to be a father to her twins.
In her first interview since giving birth last month, Carmela Bousada, a 67-year-old Spaniard, said that she had sold her house in Andalucia to raise the $58,700 to pay for fertility treatment at a California clinic, where she lied about her age. The clinic’s age limit is 55.
The case has provoked an angry debate in Spain, where conservatives bemoan the decline of the traditional family and the waning influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Many have asked who will care for the twin boys when Bousada becomes too elderly.
Bousada, a retired shop worker, had lived with her own mother all her life until her mother died in 2005, aged 101. She is said to have decided to get in-vitro fertilization after seeing magazine articles about the success of increasingly elderly women in getting pregnant.
Bousada told the News of the World: “I think everyone should become a mother at the right time for them. Maybe things shouldn’t have been done in the way they were done but that was the only way to achieve the thing I had always dreamt of.
“I would have loved to have got pregnant with a man by my side but it didn’t work out that way. Now I’ve got to look for a dad for the kids. I’d like to meet someone a bit younger than me. They’d have to like the children, of course.”
The Pacific Fertility Centre in Los Angeles confirmed that it had treated Bousada, but had not known her true age. It added that the clinic’s procedures would have required her to show a passport.
Bousada admitted that she was “exhausted” from caring for the two babies, feeling her age for the first time. “Christian was awake the whole time last night,” she said. “The night before it was Pau. If it’s not one, it’s the other.”
She plans to move from Cádiz to Barcelona, where she gave birth. Friends fear that she will suffer without the help of her sister-in-law, who has been by her side since the births.
The newspaper reported that she expects to survive on her state pension of about $195 a week. However, it seemed likely that the newspaper had paid her a substantial amount of money for its exclusive. She had previously declined to speak to reporters.
“I’m sure I’ll be able to cope,” she said. “When they begin toddling I’ll get one of those playpens and put them in there. I might put them in a nursery while I get some rest.
“My mum lived to be 101 and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t. I might have to have surgery to keep my looks. But for now if I have any spare money I’ll spend it on the boys. Look, I’m a mum who’s a bit older. It’s no big deal.”
A spokeswoman for the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, which regulates IVF treatments in the U.K., said: “Every clinic in the U.K. has to take account of the welfare of the child, and one of the main factors they have to consider is the age of the mother and father. Although legally there is no upper age limit for receiving IVF, the common attitude is that treatment will be granted only at an age where a woman could otherwise conceive naturally.
“Of the 97 registered fertility clinics in Britain, the vast majority impose a maximum age limit of 45. Only a few extend that to 50 in rare cases, so a woman much older than that would have to lie about her age to such an extent that it probably could not happen here.”