WATERLOO, Ill. – A 62-year-old Illinois woman will become one of the oldest women in the country to give birth.
Kathy Blattner is expecting a baby girl in April thanks to eggs donated by her daughter, Sarah Utz. And Utz is also expecting.
The two women say it’s like the second installment of the movie “Father of the Bride,” in which the mother and daughter were pregnant at the same time.
Kathy Blattner and her husband, John, met and got married when they were both in their 40s.
Kathy Blattner was unable to have children at the time because her eggs were no longer viable at her age. She received donor eggs from a cousin that were combined with her husband’s sperm. Through invitro fertilization, she got pregnant and had a son 12 years ago.
Later, the Blattners decided they wanted more children.
Kathy Blattner, then in her late 50s, said none of the infertility specialists she contacted would treat her because of her age. She finally found Dr. Sherman Silber, who thought she was in great physical health and had a family support system and the financial and emotional means to care for more children.
“Older women on average tend to have more confident, more intelligent babies,” Silber said. “And that’s because they’re focused on the baby in the early years of life when everything happens.”
This time, Kathy Blattner used donated eggs from Utz, her daughter from her first marriage. Silber combined them with sperm from her husband, John Blattner, with whom Utz shares no DNA. Kathy Blattner became pregnant at age 60 and now has a 2-year-old boy.
“She carried him. She is the mother,” Utz said. “I don’t feel any genetic connection other than I’m a sister.”
The Blattners froze the remaining embryos at the time for later use. Now at 62, Kathy Blattner is pregnant again after thawing the remaining embryos. She was first pregnant with twins but lost the pregnancy after a few weeks.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine cites in its ethics guidelines that women over 55 years old shouldn’t give birth. The guidelines say pregnancy is too risky for the mother and the child. It also cites issues with the older mothers’ longevity and the greater likelihood that one or both of the parents could die before the child is an adult.
Silber argues it is unfair for society to look differently upon older women who want to have a baby and not older men.
“Does a 59- or 61-year-old woman deserve to have a baby?” Silber asked. “Well, no one asks that about 90-year-old guys.”