A 67-year-old Greek grandmother has given birth to her daughter’s baby girl, becoming the world’s oldest surrogate mother.
Anastassia Ontou decided she had to offer to carry the baby after her daughter suffered through seven failed pregnancy attempts.
Mrs Ontou, from a village near Larissa, central Greece, gave birth to the 2.6lb girl on Tuesday via Caesarian section, after a pregnancy lasting seven and a half months.
She said yesterday: “I feel more like a grandmother than a mother. It was an easy decision for me – my daughter was heartbroken after not being able to carry the baby herself.”
Mrs Ontou’s daughter Constantina, 43, said she thought her mother was “crazy” when she offered to carry the child.
“I told her she’s crazy,” she said. “We haven’t cried like this in years.2 Mrs Ontou, said that she had been fortunate enough to have faced few problems during the pregnancy.
Constantinos Pantos, Mrs Ontou’s supervising obstetrician, said: “This is a heroic grandmother.”
He said that “based on international records, this is the oldest surrogate mother who is also a grandmother, based on her daughter’s medical condition.”
Mr Pantos, who heads a fertility clinic in Athens, said he had personal reservations about the pregnancy, but was convinced to go ahead after court in Larissa gave its approval. “Because of the grandmother’s age, it’s the first time such a ruling has been issued,” he said.
The oldest woman to have given birth is believed to be Omkari Panwar, from India, who had a twin boy and girl in July 2009. She claimed to be 70, although she had no birth certificate.
However, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest officially recognised mother is Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara from Spain, who was 66 years and 358 old when she gave birth to twin boys in Barcelona in 2006.
Miss Bousada de Lara died from cancer in 2009, leaving her sons orphaned before their third birthday.
The former shop worker, who was single, sparked controversy over her decision to become a mother so late in life. Her own family called her “selfish and irresponsible” for rendering it so likely that her children would be orphaned.
She admitted lying about her age to doctors in order to receive fertility treatment at a private clinic in Los Angeles, for which she paid a reported £30,000.
Shortly after the birth of her sons by caesarean section in Barcelona, Miss Bousada de Lara defended her decision.”I have wanted to be a mother all my life, but I never had the opportunity, or met the right man,” she said.
Britain’s oldest first time mother is Elizabeth Adeney, from Lindgate in Suffolk, who gave birth to a son at the age of 66, in May 2009. Mrs Adeney travelled to Ukraine for IVF treatment, as clinics here do not treat women aged over 50.
At the time of her son Jolyon’s birth, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, she said: “It’s not physical age that is important – it’s how I feel inside. Some days I feel 39. Others, I feel 56.”