Why a 61-Year-Old Woman Just Became China's 2nd Oldest Mom

China's one-child policy has left 1 million bereaved families without any children
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2016 4:55 PM CDT
Why a 61-Year-Old Woman Just Became China's 2nd Oldest Mom

China's one-child policy may have been abolished last October, but it's still having widespread repercussions in the country, where older and older women are risking pregnancy to have a second child, the Telegraph reports. According to China Daily, a 61-year-old woman named Zhang gave birth via C-section June 27. She's believed to be China's second oldest mother ever, behind only a 62-year-old woman who gave birth last May. Less than a week before Zhang had her baby boy, a 54-year-old woman named Liu Hongmei gave birth to her own baby boy. Both Zhang and Liu lost their only children—to illness and a traffic accident, respectively—two years ago.

Chinese people rely heavily on their children for support, both monetarily and personally, when they get older. But the one-child policy has left an estimated 1 million families childless after their only offspring passed away. For those childless families, including approximately 335,000 women over 49, the future isn't promising. That's why many older couples want the government to fund in vitro fertilization treatments. But officials and doctors aren't eager to do that. One hospital director says older women attempting to have another child face increased risks of miscarriage and birth defects. He also worries about parents trying to raise children while in their 70s. Zhang's was anything but an easy pregnancy and birth—with anesthesia, blood pressure, and bleeding issues following—but both she and her new child appear to be doing well. (Here's how women are getting pregnant at 50 without IVF.)

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