Taipei, May 14 (CNA) A 58-year-old postmenopausal woman gave birth to her first child last year after successful in vitro fertilization treatment, National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) reported Sunday.
Yang Yu-shih, a NTUH doctor who specializes in reproductive endocrinology infertility treatment, said the woman did not plan to have children 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 carried out in vitro fertilization, Yang said.
He said it was not clear whether the 58-year-old woman was the oldest in Taiwan to be artificially fertilized.
Yang said NTUH downplayed the achievement in an effort to avoid encouraging people to have children at an advanced age.
Women over the age of 40 seeking fertility treatment usually need donated ova because of degeneration of their own ovaries, he explained. The average age of women who receive artificial insemination at the hospital is 37-38 years of age, according to Yang.
Fertility in women generally begins to decrease after age 35, he said. After that age, there is an increased risk of premature births and/or birth defects, he added.
He suggested women plan their families earlier in life because age is a key factor in reproduction.
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.
In comparison, women 35 and over accounted for 32.1 percent of the total number that received such treatment in 1998, the bureau's data shows.
(By Chen Ching-fang and Jamie Wang)