65-Year-Old Expecting Quadruplets Defends Choice

Annegret Raunigk is being 'irresponsible,' bioethicist says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2015 8:16 AM CDT

A lot of 65-year-olds are looking forward to new challenges in their lives—but only one is looking forward to giving birth to quadruplets. In an interview with German channel RTL, Annegret Raunigk says it is "quite a strain battling against the cliches" about her age, the Guardian reports. The soon-to-retire teacher, who was treated at an IVF clinic in Ukraine, says she has "always liked life with kids" and "the constant challenges" involved, and she isn't nervous about having to raise young children in her 70s. Raunigk said she became pregnant to grant her 9-year-old daughter's wish for a younger sibling, though the girl appeared alarmed when she learned her mother, who's due in August, will enter the hospital soon to lower the risk of premature birth, the Guardian notes.

"I don't interfere in anyone else's life and I don't expect them to interfere in mine," says Raunigk, who was already Germany's oldest mother when she gave birth to her 13th child at the age of 55. She says she believes "it should be up to everyone to decide for themselves" whether they take advantage of what science has made possible. Her critics include bioethicist Arthur Caplan, who calls the high-risk pregnancy "unethical" and "irresponsible." Having quads is hard enough on the body at 21, he writes at NBC News, and at 65, Raunigk "seems to have entered a world of indifference as to what is likely to happen to her four babies." (A 42-year-old Mississippi woman expecting triplets had quadruplet girls last year instead.)

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