In a lot of cultures, infertility among couples is frowned upon. Kids are a blessing. In turn, children have to look after their parents in their senile years. Children also have the responsibility for the continuity of the lineage. Thus, not having kids means allowing your surname to be erased and forgotten in eternity.
For decades, Erramatti Mangamma from Guntur town of Andhra Pradesh, India, felt left out in the community. She could not bear kids despite her efforts to conceive with her spouse, 82-year-old Raja Rao. But after five decades of marriage, the 74-year old woman finally became pregnant and conceived twins.
“We faced a lot of social stigma in our village for not having a child. We could not bear the taunts since our marriage so we tried our best but now we hope God will bless us,” Erramati said in an interview.
They first heard of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) from a neighbor struggling to conceive amidst infertility issues. The neighbor finally got pregnant at 55.
Erramati derived inspiration from her and also tried their luck using IVF. It was a desperate attempt that resulted in an ethical debate. Why did health authorities allow Erramati to conceive at 77!
“People looked at me with accusing eyes as if I had committed a sin,” Erramatti said.
Dr. Sanakkayala Umashankar, the doctor who performed IVF on Mangamma, claimed that he received false information regarding the patient’s actual age. He thought Mangamma was in her 60s. Thus, he was pretty upset after learning that the woman was over 70 years old.
“It was only by chance, after she had conceived, that her husband let out accidentally to one of the nurses her real age. I was livid!” the doctor claimed.
Despite setbacks, the 72-year old mother successfully conceived her twin girls and carried them usually for nine months. However, health complications arose when Erramati went through a Caesarian operation. The doctors rushed her to the intensive care unit after the procedure. Meanwhile, her husband Raja Rao was too excited to receive his two daughters in that he collapsed after they came out from their mother’s womb. Doctors said that he had a heart attack.
It was no easy feat for the old couple. Erramatti had to recover in the hospital for nine months. Thankfully, she made it. The couple was so happy and relatives call their babies as a ‘medical miracle.’
“These babies complete me. My six decade-long wait has finally come to an end. Now, no one call me infertile anymore.,” the oldest mother in the world proclaimed.