An Indian woman has given birth to her first child at the age of 70, it was revealed today.
Daljinder Kaur gave birth last month to a boy following two years of IVF treatment at a fertility clinic in the northern state of Haryana with her 79-year-old husband.
It is thought she is the oldest woman in the world to give birth – taking the mantle from Rajo Devi Lohan – who was also 70 when she gave birth to daughter Naveen following treatment at the same clinic.
Hitting out at critics, Mrs Kaur said she was not too old to become a first-time mother, adding her life was now complete with the arrival of their son, called Armaan.
Her husband, Mohinder Singh Gill, added they were not worried about the future as ‘God will take care of everything’.
The baby was conceived using the couple’s own egg and sperm, the news agency AFP reports.
He is now ‘healthy and hearty’ after weighing just 4.4lb (2kg) when he was born on April 19, said a statement released by the clinic, the National Fertility and Test Tube centre.
Mrs Kaur said the couple, who have been married for 46 years, had almost lost hope of ever having a child.
She claims they had even faced ridicule in a country where infertility is sometimes seen as a curse from God.
‘My husband is also very caring and helps me as much as he can,’ she told the news agency from the northern city of Amritsar, where the couple normally live.
‘When we saw the (IVF) advert, we thought we should also give it a try as I badly wanted to have a baby of my own,’ she said.
The couple first travelled to the clinic in 2013.
Doctors said she Mrs Kaur been infertile until now because her fallopian tubes were blocked, the Hindustan Times reports.
This problem had not been detected while she was menstruating.
After two failed cycles of IVF, she finally conceived in July last year.
She estimates she is 70-years-old – a common scenario in India where many people do not have birth certificates.
However in a statement, the clinic said she is 72.
Her husband, who owns a farm outside Amritsar, said he was unfazed about their age, saying God would watch over their child.
‘People say what will happen to the child once we die.
‘But I have full faith in God. God is omnipotent and omnipresent, he will take care of everything,’ he told AFP.
Dr Anurag Bishnoi, who runs the fertility clinic, said he was initially sceptical about going ahead with in vitro fertilisation (IVF), but tests showed Mrs Kaur was able to carry the unborn baby.
‘I first tried to avoid the case because she looked very frail. Then we made her undergo all the tests and once all the results were okay we went ahead,’ the doctor told AFP.
This is the second case at the centre where a woman in her seventies has delivered successfully following IVF.
In 2006, 70-year-old Rajo Devi gave birth to a baby girl from the same centre, making her the world’s oldest mother at the time.
She nearly died from complications with the delivery but later claimed her daughter Naveen made her stronger and helped her live longer.
At the time of Naveen’s birth, many questioned whether it was morally right for a pensioner to have children, while also suggesting it was detrimental to her own health.
Their doubts appeared to be justified when Rajo fell gravely ill, almost dying from post-birth complications related to her IVF treatment.
But after battling back, she has even outlived her doctor who guided her through the process, and puts it all down to having something to live for.
The centre also helped 66-year-old Bhateri Devi give birth to triplets in 2010.
She had two daughters and a son, but one of her girls died a few weeks later.