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Marna Gatlin, Founder, Parents Via Egg Donation

“You’re kidding, right? Don’t you think you are a little old to be having a baby at your age?” is an accusation often heard by many mothers who become egg donor recipients after 45.

Marna Gatlin, Founder of non-profit group Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED) in Oregon, reports that—once people learn that a toddler or youngster is not, in fact, a grandchild, but the child of a woman who has reached her 50s—reactions can be hurtful.

Now 47 and working on an MA in Science, Gatlin had a son via IVF egg donation when she was 38 and believes that society is too quick to “point the finger” and judge women who have a child at 45 or older.

“The majority of the public are okay with women having children up until age 45 – after that, we begin to hear negative comments such as  ‘Have you lost your mind?’” says Gatlin.

“I know that older women—especially those over 50—are judged more often when they choose to carry a pregnancy.”

“Society tends to cheer on over-40 women who adopt because they are giving a child a chance for a better life,” she continues, “but it’s utterly ridiculous that those who choose to carry a child are often looked down upon.”

According to Gatlin, PVED (http://www NULL.parentsviaeggdonation NULL.org/v2/index NULL.html) has many member mothers who are having their first child after 40 and that the age range runs as high as 58.

“The oldest mom we have right now is a 65 year old mom who had her child when she was 55,” she says. “I can remember that raised a few eyebrows!”

She says that the mother is in “picture perfect health” and runs regularly with her now ten-year-old daughter who doesn’t see anything unusual in having a mom who is old enough to be her grandmother.

When asked if there should be an age limit for egg donor recipients, Gatlin replies: “That’s a loaded question and I don’t think there’s a quick and easy answer.”

“I know a lot of really healthy 50 year olds who can out-run or exercise some unhealthy 35 year olds,” she says.

Despite this, however, Marna Gatlin admits that, at 47, she would not choose to have another child at her age.

“I probably do think there should be an age limit,” she says, “but I think it’s on a case by case basis”.

“Anytime we plan to bring a child into the world and into our families we need to think about the needs of the child and place them first.”

When it comes to egg donor patients, however, it appears that the clinics tend to see the fertility glass as half full when it comes to age.

“For example, if the recipient mother is 48 and the recipient father is 35, then they tend to view the age of the parent as 35, and vice versa,” says Gatlin.

“Typically, egg donor clinics are far more concerned about single mothers, regardless of their age,” she adds.

However, Gatlin suggests that our culture is steeped in outdated stereotypes of what women should be doing at different seasons of their lives—a pattern of thinking that is tough to get out of.

“As we approach the age of 50, society thinks we should be shipping our children off to college, not bringing them into the world,” she says.

In fact, there’s almost an ageist taboo against later life motherhood.

“One of the biggest controversies surrounding moms who are 45+ is the age gap between them and their children,” points out Gatlin.

“The reaction is:  ‘Oh my goodness, she’s having a baby at 50?  Doesn’t she realize she’s going to be 70 when that child is 20?’”

Gatlin is insistent that this measure of whether or not women in their 40s or 50s should have children is a false one.

“No one knows when they are going to die.  Accidents or disease can strike at any time,” warns Gatlin.

“Children are to be raised with love, acceptance, consistency, structure, and integrity – and they should be getting that regardless of the age of their parents.”

“Regardless how old you are, embrace the day, cherish your children and live each day to the fullest as you don’t know if it may be your last.”

Regarding becoming a mother in your 40s or older, Marna Gatlin’s advice is simple and to the point: “Buckle up because you are in for the ride of your life!”

Notes for this blog:

Marna Gatlin, Founder, Parents Via Egg Donation

http://www.pved.org (http://www NULL.pved NULL.org/)


m‌arna@‍pved.org (m‌arna null@null ‍pved NULL.org)


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9 Responses to Is 45 Too Old For Donor Eggs?

  1. Egg Donation Agency (http://www NULL.eggdonationagency NULL.com) says:

    I think you already made the strongest possible argument in this post. What matters most is not the age of the mother, but that the child is raised with love and integrity. Older women definitely have more wisdom to draw from than younger people – and I think that can more than make up for the things they won’t be able to do for and with their children.

  2. Lisa Williams says:

    Way to go Marna!

    As someone who certainly did not INTEND to be 45 when she gave birth and had to listen to a lot of criticism of women who choose to use fertility treatments to conceive (friends cited “Octomom”) by people who had no idea the heartache we’d ben through on our path to parenthood (3 fetal demises of naturally conceived pgs, MANY failed fertility treatments and surgeries including IVF) I do not pass judgment on a woman’s right to become a mom. We looked into adoption but when they told us that 90% of their birth mothers had drug and alcohol addiction issues and that you just have to decide WHICH drugs you can live with I said, “At least if I carry the baby I’ll KNOW this child will NOT be exposed in utero to harmful substances.) I was 45 when my daughter was born and I nearly died of HELLP syndrome a week before her birth (spent 3 weeks in a coma) but I could not love her more. She is the light of my life and carrying her is one of my most wonderful memories. That prenatal bond was amazing. Even though she did not hear my voice for two months after her birth (since at first I was on a ventilator and then a respirator with no speaking valve) and yet when she did finally hear me speak my husband says that it was clear to EVERONE in the room she knew that I was her mom. She LOOKED to find me no matter whose arms she was in. I still tear up thinking about it.

  3. Anee (http://Flowerpowermom NULL.com) says:

    I am planing for second child at the age of 45 .I want sibiling for my 9 yr. Old child .dr. Suggest for egg donation .I don,t know is right or wrong .

  4. angela jaber says:

    i am a 41yr. old female . am i to old to donate any of my eggs ?

  5. Ana Kurland says:

    Hi Marna!!! You helped us out a lot when we were looking for an egg donor. The twins are 5 and absolutely amazing. I would not change anything, even though yes, I’m exhausted most of the time. I love my kids and could not imagine not having them in my life.

  6. KatrinaF says:

    The common argument against older parents is that they won’t have as many years to remain in their child’s life. However a child can lose a parent, even if that parent is very young. None of us know how long we will live!

  7. karen says:

    Am I qualify to become an egg donor at 44 years old?

  8. Jay says:

    I believe that women should have a child at whatever age they desire an can afford to take care of a child. There are all sorts of reason why women did have chldren younger. Many didnt want to have to have children out of wedlock,were waiting for the right man or never found someone who loved them enough to commit or to marry. Many women have met men who were jerls who used them for years knowig that they never wanted a commitment or kids and the did whatever they needed to make certain they never had them. Women make have had to work to survive and could not afford to be a single parent now that societal rules had relaxed and even changed. So, if a women desires to be a Mom, it is only fair and right especially sense men can father children into their eighties. Give women a break and the desire of motherhood they desire regardless of age.

  9. Laurie Snoddy says:

    I believe women should have the right to have children regardless of their age if they are healthy and can afford to. Many women did not willingly sacrifice motherhood. Some were robed of the opportunity by lack of technology, scientific discovery, no good men who refused to commmit, the desire to have children after marriage which may not have occurred, financial instablity, no man, wrong man, abusive man, health, working to survive and not luxury of having a child due to financial commitments, helping family, etc . Now that the technology is available, all women desire the right to be a mother, especially since men can have children all the way into their eighties. It’s only fair, and only right!

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