Rajo Devi, who married 50 years ago, gave birth to a baby girl on November 28, and is now the world’s oldest new mother. Adriana Iliescu, a retired university lecturer in Romania, was the previous oldest woman to have given birth. She had her child at the age of 66 in 2006. Maria Del, a Spanish woman, gave birth at the age of 67. And now, Rajo Devi has given birth in her seventies, becoming the oldest woman in doing so.
Devi’s husband –aged 72– was first married to Devi’s sister. Ten years later, after she failed to have any children –something widely considered to be a stigma in India’s family-orientated society– Ram married Devi’s younger sister hoping that she would give him an heir. Situations like this one, though illegal and punishable by law, are not uncommon in rural India even today and enjoy a broad social acceptance in agrarian communities where women have few or no rights. But their new attempt also failed and the three of them lived childless for decades till they finally got in touch with a nearby fertility centre for treatment. Dr Anurag Bishnoi, a doctor at the fertility centre, said: “Infertility is no longer a social taboo or a divine punishment. It can be treated scientifically.”
On April 19 the embryo transfer was successfully done and both mother and child are now in good health.
The new mother said: “We have wanted to have a child for years and now we are very happy to have one in the final years of our life.” Her husband said he wasn’t worried about who would take care of the child if they died. “As we have a big family, the education and upbringing of the child are not a problem,” he said. The couple also said that they had been feeling socially humiliated for not being able to have children, and after the treatment their social status has risen in the village.