A 58-year-old post-menopausal woman gave birth last year after successful in vitro fertilization treatment, National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) said on Sunday.
It was not made clear whether the woman was the oldest in Taiwan to be artificially fertilized.
CHANGE OF HEART
Yang Yu-shih (楊友仕), a doctor who specializes in reproductive endocrinology infertility treatment, said the woman had not planned to have a child when she was younger, but later decided she wanted one.
By that time she was post-menopausal, but the hospital gave her hormone treatment and then carefully carried out in vitro fertilization, Yang said.
Yang said the hospital had downplayed the successful treatment in an effort to avoid encouraging people to have children at an advanced age.
Women over the age of 40 who are seeking fertility treatment usually need to have ovaries donated due to the degeneration of their own reproductive system, he said.
Fertility in women generally begins to decrease after they reach the age of 35, Yang said, adding that the older a woman gets the greater the risk of premature births and/or birth defects.
The average age of a woman who is artificially inseminated at the hospital is between 37 and 38 years of age, Yang said.
According to the Bureau of Health Promotion, 7,259 couples in Taiwan received artificial reproduction treatment in 2009. Of that number, 3,540 of the women — or 48.8 percent — were 35 or over.