Those who believe it is wrong for older women to bear children need to get in step with a society that is living longer, a 60-year-old woman who gave birth to twins this week said Thursday on TODAY.
“It's wonderful. It's wonderful,” Frieda Birnbaum, who delivered healthy baby boys on Tuesday, said during a live interview from a New Jersey hospital. Birnbarm is believed to be the oldest woman ever to give birth to twins in the U.S.
“I think those people need to get ready for what's coming up in our society. Whenever there's anything new, people cannot comprehend or have difficult getting comfortable," she said. "There are a lot of middle-aged women [having babies] — 40s, 50s, now I just turned 60. That's going to be acceptable. They have to just keep up with what's going on with society.”
Birnbaum and her husband of 38 years, New York attorney Ken Birnbaum, traveled to South Africa last year to a center that specializes in in-vitro fertilization of older women. The procedure was a success. It surprised no one more than Birnbaum's obstetrician, Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan.
“ ‘Wow!’ was my reaction. I had a little difficulty believing she was pregnant, until we confirmed it with ultrasound,” Al-Khan told TODAY anchor Meredith Vieira.
Birnbaum's adult children had trouble believing it, too. Alana Birnbaum, 29, told the New York Daily News that she was against her parents' decision to have another child so late in life.
“She's youthful for her age but I don't think it's good,” Alana Birnbaum told the tabloid. “She should be going to the gym and taking time for herself — not taking on more stresses and responsibilities ... Am I happy at all about this? No. I'm not,” she said.
Asked about her daughter's comment by Vieira, Frieda Birnbaum said the decision was hers and her husband’s to make, and she hopes someday her daughter — and others — will realize how much freedom modern women have and feel empowered by it.
“I hope I'm a role model for my daughter, that when she gets older she can make her own decision based on who she is, rather than what society dictates,” Birnbaum said.
The boys, who tipped the scales at 4 pounds, 11 ounces each when they were delivered by C-section within minutes of each other at the Hackensack University Medical Center, are doing well. The couple named them Jake and Jared.
The Birnbaums also have two other sons — ages 33 and 6. Frieda told Fox News that part of the reason for her decision was that she wanted her younger child to have siblings closer to his age.
Al-Khan cautioned that having children late in life is risky for mother and child. He recommended that anyone considering it consult a physician first, become informed and seek out counseling to make sure late-life motherhood is what they really want.
“I can't be judgmental about that. This has taught me to be very open-minded,” Al-Khan said.
Earlier this year, a woman in Spain delivered twins at age 67, believed to be a world record.
Birnbaum and her sons are scheduled to leave the hospital on Saturday.