This week's big news out of the U.K. is a 62-year-old woman giving birth to a baby boy. She's not a surrogate for her daughter. She is looking forward to raising this child alone. It is her fourth and her 60-year-old husband's first. The couple, John and Patti Farrant, is said to have made plans for the child's future. However, according to the BBC, the plans don't seem to have included a name:
The couple said the baby had been nicknamed JJ early in the pregnancy, but were yet to decide what his full name would be.
The Farrants went to controversial doctor Severino Antinori to get pregnant using a donor egg. Antinori is the first doctor to have helped a woman past menopause get pregnant. He is not the only doctor to do so now. Within the last two months, a New Jersey woman gave birth to twins at the age of 59 using donor eggs.
The controversy surrounding Antinori concerns more than just his willingness to assist women over 60 get pregnant. In 2002, he announced he had assisted with the creation of a cloned baby that would be born in January of 2003. The baby was never identified for verification and, despite other similar claims in 2002-03, there is no proof of a cloned baby. Antinori claimed to have been persecuted by the Italian government. He now operates in the former Soviet Union.
Only time will tell whether these late-life births are miracles or tragedies. In 1978, much controversy surrounded the conception of Louise Brown by in vitro fertilization. She was pejoratively called the "test-tube baby" even though she spent all but a short time in her mother's womb. Now, in vitro fertilization is common. While there are still ethical objections, most notably by the Catholic Church, a Brave New World has not resulted. IVF represents a miracle for many childless couples. For the Farrants, it may well be the same. As they hold JJ, they certainly do so.