31 May 1938|
|Occupation||University lecturer, philologist, author|
Eliza Maria |
born 16 January 2005
Adriana Iliescu (born May 31, 1938) is a retired Romanian university lecturer and author of children's novels. She received international media attention in 2005, when she gave birth to daughter Eliza at age 66, making her the oldest birth mother in the world until this record was broken in 2006 by María del Carmen Bousada de Lara. Eliza, who was delivered at Giuleşti Maternity Hospital in Bucharest, is Iliescu's biological (but not genetic) child, since she gestated in Iliescu's womb but was conceived by an ovum and sperm donated anonymously.
Iliescu was first given hormone treatment to reverse menopause in 1995 and in vitro fertilisation (three zygotes with sperm and ovum from two anonymous donors) in 2004, becoming pregnant with triplets. After ten weeks one of the three fetuses failed to progress and died. The remaining two fetuses, both girls, weighed just 1.45 kilograms (3.19 pounds) and 0.69 kilograms (1.54 pounds) after 33 weeks of pregnancy, but after complications the smaller of the two died in the womb. Though doctors were expecting to perform a caesarian section soon after the 34th week, the death of one of the twins led to the decision to operate earlier than planned. The surviving baby was expected to remain in hospital for six weeks.
Romanian laws governing the process are currently under review and, to bring them in line with typical European legislation, may prevent any form of such treatment after the age of 50.
The story became international headline news, causing debate as to whether fertility treatment is ethical after a certain age. The release of details about the pregnancy and birth was criticised when different information was reported by different news companies. One primary source was a Realitatea TV interview with Iliescu conducted a month before the birth. The age of Iliescu was reported as 67 by some sources and the exact details of the second, and in some reports third, fetus differed greatly. For example, a CNN news website article was updated after a day, changing her age from 67 to 66. Gheorghe Borcean, head of the Romanian medical profession's ethics committee, commented: "A case of such prominence should require academic debates and not just one single television report."
Television and newspaper polls and discussions around the world asked the public what their opinion of the ethical decision was.