World's oldest mother dies, leaving her two-year-old twin sons orphaned

Spanish woman thought to have been diagnosed with cancer after giving birth
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The Independent Online

She was the world's oldest mother when she gave birth to twin boys at the age of 66 on 29 December 2006. Less than three years on, Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara has died, her family announced yesterday.

The former shopworker, who travelled from her home in Spain to the US for fertility treatment, had been diagnosed with cancer shortly after the birth, her brother told the newspaper Diario de Cadiz.

She was admitted to a hospital near Cadiz and died on Saturday, he said. The exact cause of death has not been confirmed by the hospital.

Her two-year-old sons, Christian and Pau, will be left in the care of her family. The birth provoked condemnation in Spain and led to debate around the world over the ethics of helping elderly women give birth.

Ms Bousada de Lara defended her right to have children late in life, saying there was no reason she should not live as long as her mother, who died at the age of 101. She joked that she might even live to see her grandchildren.

She also argued that even if she died prematurely, her children would never be left alone because they were part of an extended family. "There are lots of young people in our family," she said.

But she did not inform her family of her plans when she travelled to Los Angeles for fertility treatment costing about £30,000.

Later she admitted she had lied to doctors about her age, saying she was only 55 to get round the age limits imposed at the American clinic.

Her brother Manuel Bousada de Lara, 73, was quoted at the time saying: "My mother would turn in her grave if she knew what my sister has done. She would ask: 'How are you going to bring up two boys at your age?'"

After the birth, Ms Bousada de Lara withdrew from the public eye and refused to give interviews to protect her sons. But she later agreed to an interview with the News of the World, in return for an undisclosed sum, in which she explained how she had longed for a family.

"I have always wanted to be a mother all my life, but I have never had the opportunity or met the right man," she said. At the time she said she felt healthy and predicted that she would see her sons grow up.

Later, she told a Spanish television programme that she was suffering from cancer, thought to be breast cancer. She said the drugs used during her fertility treatment may have encouraged the disease to spread but she insisted she had no regrets.

The world's oldest mother is believed to be Omkari Panwar, from India, who had a twin boy and girl this month. She claimed to be 70, although she had no birth certificate.

Britain's oldest mother is Elizabeth Adeney, from Suffolk, who gave birth to a son in May at the age of 66. A wealthy businesswoman, she travelled to Ukraine for treatment last year and was said to be delighted when she discovered she was pregnant.

She seized the title of oldest mother from Dr Patricia Rashbrook, a psychiatrist, who was 62 when she had a son after treatment in Russia in 2006.

Most clinics in Britain will not treat women over the age of about 50, but there is no official age limit.

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