You’re Too Old! “I’m going to be blunt about it,” Dr. Carl McKensie said. “You are fifty-five, and that’s far too old to have a child.” “You’re not trying to tell me it’s impossible, are you?” Kisha Clare asked. “I’ve read that you can use donated eggs and donated sperm to fertilize them outside the body, then implant them and have a normal pregnancy. I’m sure it’s expensive, but Tom and I have got enough money, and I want to have a baby.” “Oh, it’s possible ,” Dr. McKensie admitted, “but it’s a bad idea because you’ll be too old to take care of a child properly. When he starts first grade, you’ll be sixty-two and when he graduates from high school, you’ll be seventy-four, if you are still alive!” McKensie shook his head. “You should have thought of having a child earlier.” “I had a career to work on and a lot of personal issues to deal with.” Clare frowned, remembering the long hours in the office and how relieved she was when she finally left her first husband. “I can be a better mother now than I could have been when I was thirty or even forty. I’m financial secure, I’m happy with myself, and I really want a child.” She shook her head. “Statistically, I’m going to live for another twenty-four years, and that’s enough to raise a child.” “But is it fair to a child to be raised by an old person?” “Grandparents raise children all the time.” Clare glared at Dr. McKensie. “And men have children whenever they want to, no matter how old they are. They don’t have to get permission from some doctor.” “But an older man can have children only if he has some younger woman as a partner.” Dr. McKensie glared back at Clare. “That way the child has one younger parent.” “I think you are discriminating against me,” Clare said in a flat voice. “I am,” Dr. McKensie nodded his head. “But it’s justifiable. There are compelling reasons why an older, postmenopausal woman, even if she has the money, should not be allowed to become a mother, just because she wants to. It’s unfair to society, to younger women with fertility problems, and to the child.”

1. Should we impose some age threshold, i.e. some age at which we do not allow older men to donate sperm?

2. What if Clare was a 32-year-old single woman? (Replace ‘old’ with ‘single.’) Should she receive artificial reproductive assistance?

3. What if Clare was a 35-year-old woman in a same –sex relationship? (Replace ‘old’ with ‘lesbian.’) Should she receive artificial reproductive assistance?

Expert Answer


1 Most people believe that yuonger men produce more fertile sperm than older men,but this theory has been flipped by a new theory which suggests sperm donations from older men maybe more likely to result in pregnancy than donations from th…

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