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Medical Technology Helps Sixty Year Old Give Birth to Twins

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A Canadian woman has given birth to twins, following in vitro fertilization obtained in India. The IVF treatment delivered through medical technology raises ethical questions, even from the Calgary physician who helped the woman.

Obstetrician Colin Birch says, "We can do so much but the question is, should we do it just because we can do it? …isn't it fantastic what medical technology can do, how we're stretching the boundaries and everything else — but there's so much more involved in this. It's not just having the babies and being born, "said Birch in a CBC interview.

The sixty-year-old woman is recovering in the intensive care unit, after emergency C-section. She began to hemorrhage as the result of a condition known as placenta previa.

The twins are in the neo-natal ICU until they gain weight. One of the twins is getting breathing help from special equipment. Both are expected to do well.

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The woman, identified as Ranjit Hayer had tried for decades to get pregnant. She has suffered several miscarriages, and underwent surgery to help her conceive, to no avail.

Hayer travelled to India for IVF, returning to Calgary Canada to give birth. She became pregnant with triplets, but the third embryo was terminated out of medical necessity, leaving the sixty year old with diabetes, high blood pressure, and twins.

Dr. Birch says, "I couldn't imagine if I was 65 having two five-year-olds running around crazily. The energy to do that is incredible."

Glenys Godlovitch, chair of the health research ethics board at the University of Calgary says, "We need to think of this as the broader context, not just the individual circumstances here, as to what obligation is there in the Canadian health-care system or on the Canadian taxpayer to support the after-care for people who've received an initial intervention, at cost, somewhere outside of Canada."

The twin births from 60-year-old Ranjit Hayer have raised some ethical questions in the Calgary medical community.

Source: CBC news.ca