Personal Views

Was it wrong to want a baby?

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 16 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1647
  1. Alison Cobb

    Some months ago we failed in our fourth and last attempt to have a child using ovum donation and in vitro fertilisation. I am 61. With my first husband, in my late 20s, I had had three children in four years. We later separated and then divorced. Twenty years ago, when the youngest was 12, I fell in love with a wonderful man. At 47, he is 14 years younger than me. He has no children.

    Unsure that love with such a big age gap could last, it was at least five years before we asked a fertility clinic why I did not get pregnant. We paid for a sperm test and laparoscopy, which indicated nothing wrong except that at 47, I was probably too old. Later that year, accepting that we would never have a child together, we got married and lived happily in various remote places in Africa.

    Eleven years after that, back in England, one of my children, now a doctor and a mother, told us that a woman of 60 in Italy had had a baby. We questioned ourselves all over again. Was I so old now that I could not bring up a baby? Were we selfish? Would it be teased? Would it wish it had never been born? Surely not. I would, I hoped, be there for most of its …

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