Elderly First-Time Mothers

November 3, 2014

It seems that over the last decade, more and more women are talking about wanting babies but not being financially and emotionally ready for motherhood. They want to have their own biological baby someday but, they are afraid that if they wait until they are financially ready, they will be too old to conceive a child.

Most of these women can’t afford to go to a fertility clinic to freeze their eggs when they are young, but now many companies are offering to pay for this option for career-minded women who will work for them during their reproductive years and use their frozen eggs when they are past childbearing age.

There have been many stories in the news lately about women in their sixties and seventies having their first child and it’s almost becoming commonplace. Men have always been able to sire a child well into their dotage but I keep wondering about the moral implications of elderly people bringing a newborn into the world.

Although scientists are working on extending the lifespan of people to 150, it hasn’t happened yet. There are thousands of people who are more than 100 years old, but they aren’t starting a family at that age.

My question is one of ethics. Do we have the moral right to deliberately bring a child into the world when we’re at an age when most of us will be sick or dying? If our bodies break down or we become mentally incompetent, who will raise that child and is it fair to the child or to the caretaker who will have to provide for the child?

Most old people don’t have enough money put aside to set up a college fund for their children. Nor do they have enough money to clothe and feed a newborn for years to come. If they are lucky and have planned their retirement well, they have just enough money to live out the rest of their years without having to resort to eating cat food.

Who will take care of this child when the parents die? And we will all die, some sooner and some later, but we will all die before this newborn reaches adulthood. Is it morally fair to bring a newborn into the world, knowing that you won’t be there to watch him graduate from high school?

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