An embryologist in India is defending his decision to help a 72-year-old woman give birth for the first time. Dr. Anurag Bishnoi tells the Guardian he was at first hesitant to perform the IVF procedure for Daljinder Kaur and her 79-year-old husband at his clinic in Hisar, but went ahead when tests showed Kaur was in good health. She gave birth to a baby boy on April 19 using a donor egg and is believed to be the world's oldest mother, per the Telegraph. "Reproduction is a fundamental right," says Bishnoi, who claims to have also helped a 70-year-old give birth. Others aren't so sure. IVF treatments are relatively inexpensive and largely unregulated in India—the Indian Council of Medical Registry recommends limiting the combined age of a couple receiving IVF to 100 years, per the Times of India—but doctors hope a bill will be passed within six months banning fertility treatment for women 50 and above. Such legislation has actually been pending for seven years.
The head of India's federation of gynecologists calls Bishnoi a "rogue doctor" who "needs to be banned"; the Telegraph notes Bishnoi's website features other elderly "success" stories. "Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do it, just to make world records,” another doctor tells the Guardian. Kaur's son—born 4.4 pounds—"is going to be an orphan in a few years. And there are serious risks for the mother" involving cardiac and bone issues. Bishnoi, however, says the couple "have relatives who are ready to help take care of the baby" when his parents die. "Everyone asked me to adopt a baby but I never wanted to. Now I have my own child," Kaur says. "We will raise him and give him a proper education." (This 65-year-old set a record when she gave birth.)