Monday, January 29, 2007

The Carmela Treatment


No, the above picture is not Carmela. More on him later....

Carmela Bousada is believed to be the world's oldest mother. The beginning of this Associated Press story is very uplifting. Her dream has always been to have a child. She sold her house in Spain to raise the money to pay for fertility treatments in California. She gave birth to twins on December 29th.
"I think everyone should become a mother at the right time for them," Bousada said in a video of the interview provided to Associated Press Television News.
Happily ever after, right? Not quite. Here's the rest of the story....

The Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles has a policy which states that anyone over the age of 55 years old cannot receive treatment. How old was Carmella when she became a patient there? She was 66 years old! And, she just turned 67 years old this month.

How could this happen? There are many angles on this story. I will only analyze two (or three) of them below...

Fertility Center Responsibility: This is the obvious place to point the finger. According to clinic policies, presentation of a passport is required before any treatments are started. In the article, the clinic director is quoted as saying, "We do check identity." Is it me, or does anyone else think that this clinic will not be open much longer?
"Often circumstances put you between a rock and a hard place and maybe things shouldn't have been done in the way they were done but that was the only way to achieve the thing I had always dreamed of and I did it," she [Bousada] said.
Personal Responsibility: How many times have I talked about personal patient responsibility on this blog? To lie to get what you want? Sheesh! That's a great first lesson to teach your twins.

"Mommy, tell me the story of how we came into the world?" Does Carmella think that she can tell her twins any 'ol story about how she started in Spain by selling her house to come to the land of opporunity. Then, she LIED to get what she wants? Does she think they'll never know? What's up with that?

The gentleman pictured above is Niccolò Machiavelli. Sound vaguely familiar? Many associate him with the phrase "the ends justify the means."

I try to understand the passion people have about becoming a parent and being a parent. (Full disclosure: I am not a parent myself). But, for someone to do this, and for the clinic to allow this to happen. I just don't get it.

People are probably asking why I even care about this story. What's done is done, right? My question is if this person will take responsibility for what she's done. Yes, she has twins now, and that's enough. Or, is it?

Yes, she sold her house for her dream. But, who is paying for the care of her twins who were born seven weeks premature? This is not a political blog, but if the tax payers of California are subsidizing people who lie to get fertility treatment, and are paying for neonatal intensive care for her twins, wouldn't people want to know about that? Does the end justify the means?

17 comments:

Brooklyn Girl said...

I do understand the passion to become a parent having resorted to assisted reproduction to get there myself (although at the age of 34, not 67), but I don't think the ends justify the means. If you have to lie to get what you want, something, somewhere is wrong.

That said, though, Carmela didn't give birth in California; she gave birth in Spain (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2761474&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312) so there's no need for California's taxpayers to get unnecessarily riled up.

Dr. A said...

Thanks for the additional info on where the twins were born. I wasn't aware of that.

Anonymous said...

I am not a mother, I have never wanted to be a mother, nor will I ever want to be a mother. Of this I am sure. So this might automatically disqualify me from having any clue of this "desire" to want to be a parent so badly...

But I have a little problem with bringing children into the world when you are 67! I'm sorry but what about the responsibility to the children! Now perhaps this woman might indeed live for another 20+(?) years but goodness gracious! What if she doesn't? Teenagers (or younger) shouldn't be left with the enormous task of dealing with sick/elderly parents or at worst, burying them!

I could go on but that's just one example.

Anonymous said...

This is a story all about "me" (as in Carmela) with little thought to the consequences. I had difficulties in becoming a parent myself so I do understand the heartbreak involved but at aged 67 to do this? Totally selfish and irresponsible. Assisted reproduction has been around for some years so why wait until now?
A cynic might suggest a degree of notoriety? Good cash earner? All those media stories?

Despite admitting to lying about her age, the clinic involved needs a good investigation in terms of its ethics or lack thereof.

The latest story (whether it's media inflation of the story or whatever) is that Carmela is looking for a young husband now to help her bring up the babies.

http://www.washtimes.com/upi/20070129-114414-3563r.htm

Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

Rant over!

Anonymous said...

Who will guide the babies into adult hood while she is getting older and older? I wonder if she considered that when the kids are in high school, she'll be in her 80s?

As open minded as I am about fertility, I do feel there is an age line that shouldn't be crossed - for the sake of both kids and adults.

Anonymous said...

I don't really get why people go through such great leagths to have biological children, why couldn't she have adopted a child that did not have a loving home, or become a foster mother, etc.

Brooklyn Girl said...

At this risk of monopolozing the conversation: adoption isn't a panacea. Speaking only for myself, the desire to be a parent on the one hand and to be pregnant/give birth were two different things--at least as I started trying to have a child.

More to the point, there are age limits for most forms of adoption. Assuming adoption agencies would be a little more rigorous in their investigation than the clinic apparently was, that route would likely not have been available to someone of her age.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she wanted to wait until she was really a grownup before she had kids of her own -- but based on her misrepresentation, I'd say she still jumped the gun.

And it's not the Spanish authorities who'll have to deal with the consequences of this travesty, brooklyn girl. My guess is that she'll return to California and the taxpayers will, eventually, become involved -- foster care, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

I'm "weird" because I have never had the desire to have children. But that aside, I'm pretty sure that even if I did want children, I couldn't imagine having the desire when I was past retirement age!

Anonymous said...

I remember joking about this in a post many posts ago and how surprised I was when I recently read she had lied. Motherhood is a very strong calling...

Of course so is bowling ;-)

Muddy said...

Interesting how often parenting comes up on a blog by a non parent.

That aside, I can understand the tunnel vision that grips parents that endure infertility..even secondary infertility (the inability to conceive after already having a child or two or three). I dont think it is an issue that a biological child is "better" than an adopted one. I think it is more that month after month infertile parents hold out hope that this month will be the one. When this month is over, then you start focusing on the next month and so on...until you reach your personal threshold of when and what is too much trying (or to invasive of a procedure).

IMO the problem is a flaw in the "infertility business". It rests with both the patient and the professionals that treat infertility.

Why would someone want to give birth when they are sixty seven? Besides having her 15 minutes of fame...what more does she gain from this? It isnt adoption vs a biological child...there is a deeper reason that she wanted to do this at that age...unmarried...willing to lie and deceive to get this. And the doctors, if they really knew her age as they went into this, what would they gain? They may say they proved that a woman could have a child at age 67 physically...Which really isnt too amazing given that Sarah gave birth way past child bearing years. (was said to be around 90)Genesis 18 and 21.

Anonymous said...

she is a fucking self-centered egotistical idiot who has no excuse for bringing a child into a world that already has wayyyyyyyyyyy too many folks in it.

Malnurtured Snay said...

I seriously need to pick up a copy of THE PRINCE.

Anonymous said...

You're not "weird" bohemian road nurse......you're just like me! Or well...maybe that's not saying very much or very complimentary haha.

Anonymous said...

goodness, Im not sure what to think about all that. But, I will say I am 54 years old, my kids are grown, through college, married and settled in their lives. Just the thought of becomining a parent again, even at 54 sounds horrible to me. I would not be up for it. These are the years to enjoy grandkids. TO spoil them rotten and then send them home with their parents.

This is unfair to these children.

Although I did like it, when I took my garnd-daughter shopping, and a lady stopped me to tell me that she thought my "Daughter" was beautiful. Grand daughter had to ruin it though, by informing her I was "Grandma."

But as for this story, nope it shouldn't have happened!

SB said...

Ok Hold on everyone. Before you ASSUME that the state of California will be paying for the bill you ought to look into whether or not Spain has socialized medicine! And it does. With socialized medicine the Spanish government will be picking up the bill!
I thought you readers of this blog were educated! Ignorance is bliss - Education is power. Educate yourselves before judging.
And to top it all off, the hospital will MOST LIKELY be doubling her bill, only because .... they can!
I've seen it as I come from a country with socialized medicine, yet I now live in USA and know the failures of the system here.
She made her dream come true, more power to her!

Anonymous said...

I think it's pathetic that people come on here and judge someone they don't even know. yeah they have read about her in papers and saw her on the news but have any of you actually gone up and had conversations with her or introduced yourself. She my be an older mum but at least her kids have a loving mother. Who knows what will happen as she gets older, everyone is says that the kids will need to pick up after her. You don't know that, you can't predict the future. She could be alot more fit and in tune than most 70 yr olds by then. Give her a break and think about your own problems before having a say about hers. She's done well for even giving birth at that age, so leave her be, and let her bring her children up in a world where they don't have to grow up around them with more hatred then there already is. They already have enough judgment set on their lives the minute they were born and it's people like you guys that leave bullshit messages on here that are going to haunt them the rest of their lives. They already have to grow up with an older mother, they don't need everyone around them having a go at them because of that. Let's just hope that Carmella and the twins prove you lot wrong, because like she said, she may have left it late but now she has the dream of having her own children, and these kids have a life ahead of them still.