When Claudette Cook held her twins for the first time after a precautionary C-section, she told 14 News, “Everything changed in that moment. Once they’re born, your life changes.” We imagine life most certainly did change for Cook, who is 60 years old.
Cook became pregnant with twins early this year with the help of in vitro fertilization and two donor eggs. Despite her age and doctors who told her it would never be a reality, she gave birth to two healthy baby boys, Isaac and Isaiah. And not once did she doubt her pregnancy. “Age is but a number with God,” she said. She also attributes being “healthy and in shape” to her ability to conceive, which is what gave her IVF specialist confidence when they began the process earlier this year.
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Isaac and Isaiah were born a month early, each weighing five pounds. Though Cook and her husband will have to wait a few weeks to bring their miracle babies home, the twins and their mother are thriving.
Cook’s later-in-life pregnancy may come as a shock, but she’s actually not the oldest woman on record to give birth. In India, Daljinder Kaur, a woman in her seventies, gave birth to a healthy boy earlier this year after multiple rounds of IVF using donor egg. Another 60-year-old woman, a N.J resident, traveled all the way to South Africa for the IVF that would give her and her husband their twin boys. According to AARP, there is a trend of women in America giving birth well into their fifth decade namely because of the prevalence and efficacy of IVF treatment. This practice is controversial, however, due to higher risks of gestational hypertension, diabetes, and preeclampsia (high blood pressure and systemic organ failure), which have led many U.S. fertility clinics to implement a treatment cut-off at the age of 50.
The notion of a cut-off age is, of course, tenuous ground — most criticism of gestation post-50 resides in the mother’s ability (or inability) to parent energetically, with the “requisite stamina,” bioethicist Bonnie Steinbock told AARP. But criticizers must consider women’s procreative liberties, says Steinbock: “Others may not like it, but the argument is this: It is none of their business.”
Controversy aside, Claudette Cook and her husband are now the proud and grateful parents of two healthy baby boys. Cook maintains that this is the way things were supposed to happen: “It did not cross my mind, this is the way God was going to do it. It doesn’t matter how. His ways are not my ways.”