Posted by: DD | May 27, 2009

THE ‘YUK’ FACTOR OF SOCIETY

Since most of us are pretty tuned into the fertility and infertility stories about the web, I’d say then that you probably have already heard/read about Elizabeth Adeney in Britain who at 66 is 8 months pregnant with her first child after seeking treatment in the Ukraine.

Full story hereor you can google it and find a wealth of blahdeblah stuff.

What I wanted to highlight was the last paragraph of this story; a quote from Dr. Allan Pacey which sums up his feelings about older women getting pregnant:

“Most people feel uncomfortable about the idea of providing fertility treatment to women beyond the natural menopause. In some ways, setting a cut-off point of 50 is arbitrary. But when you combine the welfare of the child, the health of the mother, and, indeed the ‘yuk’ factor of society, I think that is a reasonable place to end up.”

Contrary to what my husband believed when he read the quote, “yuk” refers to the “ick” factor, not the “ha-ha” factor. Obviously, a man who watches too much comedy TV.

So how’s this for Yuk:

Mel Yukson

Mel Yukson

Mel Gibson, who is 53 knocked it out with his girlfriend who is going on four months pregnant just six weeks after the divorce papers were filed. Not just yuk, but let’s add in douchy leper. Freak.

Not yucky enough?

Tony Yukdall

Tony Yukdall

OK. Then there’s Tony Randall, who at 77 became a father for the first time after impregnating his 27 year old wife. For those who worry about older women not seeing their children reach adulthood, Tony’s oldest child was 7 when his dad started farting up dust.

Larry Yuking

Larry Yuking

A younger new dad was found in Larry King when he was only 67. I, however, have added exponentially a yuk factor to that union based on Larry King’s looks alone. Seriously? Who wants to look up at the ceiling’s mirrors and find that troll hunkering between your thighs? *shudder*

Nanu Yukogi

Nanu Yukogi

All these men are just spry young men when you look at the world’s oldest new dad. Nanu (nanu-nanu!) became a new dad at 90 back in 2007 and plans on having more babies with his oldest son’s widow well until he reaches triple digits.

So that yuk factor? Funny how it seems to apply only to women when it comes to making into a news story’s quote.

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Responses

  1. You are brilliant! Great post.

  2. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this whole matter. On one hand, with an average life expectancy of 71 in the US, I think 66 is way too old to have a baby. On the other hand, who am I to say she won’t live until she’s 120?

    The yuk factor plays in – menopause is definitely a stopping point. I think you summed up the male yuk factor very accurately with these words:

    “Who wants to look up at the ceiling’s mirrors and find that troll hunkering between your thighs? *shudder*”

    I think that applies to all of your examples…even if Mel was hot in Mad Max. Now he’s just a lecherous old creep. At 53. Sigh.

    • Actually, it’s closer to 85 for women, factoring in this data:

      Life expectancy changes as one gets older. By the time a child reaches their first year, their chances of living longer increase. By the time of late adulthood, ones chances of survival to a very old age are quite good. For example, although the life expectancy from birth for all people in the United States is 77.7 years, those who live to age 65 will have an average of almost 18 additional years left to live, making their life expectancy almost 83 years.

  3. OMG, love this post. You really hit the nail on the head.

    Frankly, we can’t even begin to have any conversations about how old parents should be until we stop admiring old men who knock up their wives with that whole, HEY, you stud thing, and start accepting women older than 35. I can’t tell you how many shitty comments I get from people who know me and are moaning about how I am 40 as a new mom. Like 40 is some big whoop, and my husband gets jokes and yuks yet he is—drumroll—eight years older than me!!

  4. I think there is a certain amount of yuk with the old blokes too – just less of it as most of the press is still male here and the editors are big fans of having one load of kids relatively young and then starting another family with someone the same age as their kids when those kids hit their twenties. Personally I find both lots equally yuk. I know that I am here at 42 feeling that I might just be too old to seriously contemplate another adding another 20 years to that just seems wrong even if we all live to 90.

  5. I also cringe when I see this elderly men fathering children… I think it’s just as ‘yukky’ and selfish for them to bring children into the world when they’ll be frail and elderly for most of the child’s life as it would be for a woman in her 60s. It’s not just about the odds of “staying alive” long enough for the child to reach adulthood; it’s about being on the right side of the odds to be an involved, active healthy parent, barring unforeseen circumstancees that we ALL face no matter our ages.

  6. I have to tell you that is the FIRST time I’ve seen nanu-nanu worked into ANY blog post! Congrats!

    I seem to remember was a lot of yuk-ing (I always thought it was yuck…so it would be yucking…but whatever) going on when those old farts did what they did (at least the ones I’ve heard of).

  7. Well I definitely think there’s a yuck factor with the old men too. But for me that’s more of the age difference when it’s the older men/ much younger women.
    As to older first time moms, it’s not even yuck to me; I’m just concerned about the child. If the woman is 66 and lives to the life expectancy age of 83, that leaves a 16 year old child with no mother. I cannot fathom having a child knowing not only that I wouldn’t see most of her life, but also that the child would live most of their life without a mother.
    Of course people can and do live much longer than 83, but those are some bad odds.

    • But where’s the news articles that express concern or outrage or claim how selfish fathers are in becoming new parents again later in life? Why are mothers expected to provide the constant during a child’s young life? It’s a stereotype that leaves the men guiltless in so many single-parenting situations.

      • Because society is still focused on the idea that mothers have to play the central role in their child’s life. Apparently, if a child is only going to have one parent, it should be a mother. I think about this when I consider how many countries (and states, I think) will allow single women to adopt, but not single men.

        Regardless, I do think that it isn’t fair for a child to be left without a parent because the parent has chosen to have children at such an age where that is likely. It doesn’t matter which parent it is; I still think it’s somewhat selfish to have a child at an age where you’re likely to die when that child is still dependent.

      • What if the mom-to-be had cancer and made the decision to waive her treatment in order to carry the pregnancy to term? She would be selfish, too, wouldn’t she? It happens probably in just as many cases as women of advanced age get pregnant. Those stories hit the news with how brave, how noble, how selfLESS the cancer-ridden woman is to chose her life over her child’s.

      • To me you could only compare that if a woman with cancer then decides to become pregnant as opposed to finding out about the cancer while already pregnant. Only because terminating a pregnancy is a whole ‘nother can of worms and I’m not about to get into that.

      • Not to speak ill of the deceased, but what about Cancer, Baby? We all hoped for her. What about bloggers who are cancer survivors who go on to have children? Aren’t they taking a risk as well?

        I just don’t believe it’s anyone’s business how old one is when they become a parent, or a parent again or if they go some place for treatment that doesn’t factor in age. Her health was good enough for her to get pregnant, and stay pregnant this long. And for anyone who says “there’s a reason women reach menopause” as an argument against having children after the fact will get a virtual shoe up their butt since some women reach “menopause” in their 20’s.

        (BTW, Zandra, this is not a rant at you, but in general. The whole thing smacks of a double-standard and it’s sticking in my feminist craw, and that’s saying a LOT since I’m definitely NOT a feminist.)

  8. I think it’s different if the mother-to-be finds out she has cancer and then decides to continue the pregnancy in lieu of treatment. Is it selfish? I’m not sure, but it’s a different set of circumstances to be of child-bearing age, decide to have a baby, and then find out that there’s a condition that may make it unlikely that you’ll live to see your child grow up.

    If the mom-to-be has cancer, knows it, and decides to have a baby knowing the whole time that she may not live while her child is growing up, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It is definitely selfish at that point, but part of me also feels like a younger woman who is struck with cancer hasn’t had the same opportunity to make the choice to have a child as someone who is much older. So would I fault her for wanting something that I also want desperately? No. Do I feel it’s fair to the child? No. Do I know how I feel about it ultimately? Not remotely.

  9. An interesting post that hits somewhat close to home. Since I already know I will survive this trial, I will normally have to wait at least 5 years to even consider adoption as an option. I am still unsure of the ethics/legality around surrogacy – as the laws are and practices are widely varying. There is also the remote possibility that certain research in Asia will pan out within my lifetime. The earliest I can build a family is, basically, 45, barring something really, really unusual.

    I am a strong advocate that reproductive rights are a personal matter that the government should stay out of except in the most extreme cases of idiocy and violence. This woman will be doing nothing that millions of grandparents are not already doing – raising a child in her “golden years.” This is one of the fastest growing parenting sectors – grandparents raising very young grandchildren. The difference? This woman has chosen to give birth to a child.

    It is no one else’s place to judge what she does. She would not have gone into this lightly when you consider the expense involved. Everyone commenting here should know how incredibly expensive a donor egg cycle is any any of the countries where this would be possible for a 66 year old woman. (Those with state run ART have age caps.) It’s her business and the tabloids should leave her be.


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