The world’s oldest new mother is being treated in an intensive care unit along with her husband just over a week after giving birth to twins, it has emerged. The Indian couple, Erramatti Mangayamma, 74, and Raja Rao, 78, stirred controversy when they revealed they had successfully delivered twin girls on September 5 after undergoing IVF treatment. Just a day after the announcement, Mr. Rao reportedly collapsed from a heart attack and was taken into intensive care in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Ms. Mangayamma has also remained in intensive care since birth. The twin girls have not yet been named and are being cared for by the couple’s relatives. The pair had unsuccessfully tried to conceive naturally for many years but last year decided to undergo an IVF procedure. As Ms. Mangayamma had already been through the menopause, doctors used donor eggs and fertilized them with her husband’s sperm.
She fell pregnant in January but doctors were unsure whether she would carry to term. Ms. Mangayamma described feeling “complete” after the girls were delivered by Caesarean section. However, the case has provoked a furious debate over the ethics of allowing a septuagenarian to undergo IVF treatment. The doctor who treated her, Sanakkayala Umashankar, has denied suggestions he was seeking to break records and claimed Ms. Mangayamma lied about her age.
It is unclear why Ms. Mangayamma is in intensive care but medical experts say pregnancy poses a number of health risks for elderly women, including hypertension and eclampsia. The couple’s doctors have declined to provide details on their current condition but Ms. Mangayamma’s niece, Lakshmi Bhia, said that both are stable. She added that the twin girls, who weighed under 5lb at birth, are doing well and now weigh 5.5lb.