Published May 24, 2007
Frieda Birnbaum, 60, gave birth to twin boys Tuesday, becoming the oldest woman to give birth to twins in the United States.
The babies were delivered at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., by caesarean section.
"Baby A" weighed 4 pounds, 11.4 ounces, and "Baby B" weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces.
Birnbaum said she felt great after delivering the two boys. "This is so wonderful, I feel so relaxed. It has been a great experience," she said.
Early Wednesday morning the boys were already breathing on their own and getting ready for a bottle feeding, doctors from the hospital said.
Mom rested well all night, and doctors described the morning as "a normal postpartum day one, without a hitch!"
Birnbaum, who is a psychologist, and her husband Ken, a Manhattan attorney, have three other children — a 6-year-old son, a 29-year-old daughter and a 33-year-old son.
The husband and wife of 38 years said they had not settled on the names, but were leaning toward Jake and Jared.
Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, director of prenatal diagnostics and therapeutics in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center, oversaw Birnbaum's pregnancy and delivered the twins.
"This was a fabulous outcome. I'm extremely thrilled and delighted to have delivered a healthy mom and two healthy baby boys," he said. "They're doing very well."
Before her noontime C-section, Birnbaum said she underwent in-vitro fertilization (IVF) last year in Cape Town, South Africa, so her youngest son, Ari, would have siblings closer to his age and because she wanted older women to be able to deliver children “without a stigma attached.”
“My daughter feels I should be living in Florida having a good life,” said Birnbaum, of Saddle River, N.J. “I hope when she’s older, she’ll see this and understand she has choices. I don’t feel like I’m 60. I don’t know what 60 is meant to be.”
Al-Khan said there is just no rulebook for handling a pregnancy such as this one.
"This was high risk, definitely; there were no guidelines of what to do and what to look for in a pregnancy at the age to 60. Can the heart, or the kidneys withstand the pregnancy?" Al-Khan asked. "It becomes a little risky to take care of this pregnancy, because no one has the experience. You have to utilized your medical judgment."
Birnbaum’s son Ari was also conceived by IVF in a procedure done in New York City. Dr. Manny Alvarez, the chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center and the health managing editor of FOXNews.com, delivered the boy.
Birnbaum made the decision to have more children, preferably twins, one stormy day on a cruise ship after reading a magazine article about women having older children.
She and her husband tried unsuccessfully to conceive again in New York and later made the decision to go to South Africa after researching medical centers that specialize in IVF for older women.
Birnbaum said she previously had some of her eggs frozen, but declined to say whether those eggs were used to conceive the twins.
The couple said they were overjoyed to learn they would be having twins. Birnbaum said she looks forward to dressing the boys in matching outfits.
Although her eldest son worries she won’t have enough spare time to spend with his children, when he has them, that is, Birnbaum said she has more than enough energy to go around.
Birnbaum said she wants her new twins, like her other children, to be happy, confident and healthy.
There are no federal standards for age limits on IVF, but the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology in the U.S. recommends that women be under 50 years old if they are undergoing IVF with a donor egg, and under 44 if they are using their own eggs.
Al-Khan went on to say that despite his early concerns about overseeing a pregnancy with a mother of this age, the pregnancy went very smoothly.
“The question is what is old,” he said. “It’s asked over and over again. And that’s a question I don’t even know the answer to anymore.”
Birnbaum doesn’t feel old and plans on sticking around for a while.
“My father lived to 92 and my mother lived to 89,” she said. “I plan to be around for a long time.”
While Birnbaum is the oldest woman to give birth to twins in the U.S., the oldest woman on record to give birth is Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara, a Spanish woman who gave birth by cesarean section to twin boys on Dec. 29, 2006 — just seven days shy of her 67th birthday.
Birnbaum hopes to inspire other women through her actions. She is planning on writing a book about her experience with Al-Khan.