An Indian woman has given birth to her first child at the age of 70 after receiving fertility treatment.
Last Updated: 5:07PM GMT 08 Dec 2008
Rajo Devi and her husband had fertility treatment before she gave birth aged 70
Rajo Devi, who married 50 years ago, gave birth to a baby girl on November 28, and is now thought to be the world's oldest new mother.
Dr Anurag Bishnoi, a doctor at the Hisar fertility centre in Haryana state, said: "Rajo Devi and (her husband) Bala Ram approached the centre for treatment and the embryo transfer was done on April 19.
"Both the mother and child are in good health."
A 67-year-old Spanish woman who had twins in 2006 was thought to have been the previous oldest mother.
Devi's husband, aged 72, had also wed his wife's sister after 10 years of his first marriage did not result in children. His second wife also failed to become pregnant.
It was not clear whose egg and sperm were used in the successful treatment.
Dr Bishnoi, who helped the couple realise their dream, said both the mother and child were in good health.
"IVF has revolutionised the way we look at infertility," said Mr Bishnoi. "Infertility is no longer a social taboo or a divine curse. It can be treated scientifically."
"Adriana Iliescu, a retired university lecturer in Romania, was the oldest woman to have given birth. She delivered at the age of 66 in 2006. Maria Del, a Spanish woman, gave birth by the IVF treatment at the age of 67. And now, Rajo Devi has become the oldest woman to have given birth and the first woman in her seventies to do so," claimed Dr Bishnoi.
"Another woman of her age is reported to have delivered a child at Muzzafarnagar, but she was previously fertile," he added.
New mother Rajo Devi, "We longed for a child all these years and now we are very happy to have one in the twilight years of our life."
Husband Ram said he wasn't worrying over who would look after the child if they died.
"The upbringing of the child is not a problem. We have a joint family as is common in rural Haryana," he said.
The couple said they were facing social stigma for being childless for the last 55 years.
"We used the usual intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) technique in her case. The ICSI method enables even poor quality sperms being used creating embryos," said Dr Bishnoi.
He said his parents and wife, all doctors, performed the procedure together. "The major concern for us was that in case the woman conceived twins, she may not be able to carry them through the full term of pregnancy. In that case, all over efforts would have failed and the woman's life would have been in danger," Bishnoi said.
To avoid multiple pregnancies, the doctors used blastocyst culture, where a single potential embryo is transferred to the uterus instead of the normal two to three embryos. "This embryo is transferred after five days in this technique, while in normal cases it is done in two-three days," he added.
"Rajo is the eldest of four siblings. She is elder to me by about 16 years. We all prayed she would get a child and even married our other sister to Bala Ram in this hope. Now the whole family is very happy that she has a child," said Chand Ram, Rajo Devi's brother who is a sub inspector in Haryana Police at Panchkula.