Parenting Unusual Baby Stories

IVF Age Limit Needed: Britain’s Oldest First Time Mother Speaks Out

Three years ago, Susan Tollefsen received in-vitro fertilization in Russia via an egg donor and the sperm of her then boyfriend, Nick Mayer. At the time of her daughter’s birth, Ms. Tollefson was 57.

Critics from all over the world made their arguments about why birth at this late stage in life was a bad idea, but at the time, all Ms. Tollefson saw was her life-long dream of being a mother coming to fruition. Now, she says that she believes her critics may have been right and that an age limit of 50 should be imposed on IVF.

“If I’m completely honest, my experience has taught me that 50 should probably be the cut-off limit for having children, but until you have them, it’s almost impossible to appreciate that,” said Tollefson.

Being a mother, now in her 60’s, wasn’t exactly what she thought it would be. The shock and challenges of being a parent eroded her relationship with Mr. Mayer, who is 11 years younger than Ms. Tollefson. According to Tollefson, Mayer “didn’t want his life to change at all….even though mine had changed completely.” But the struggles for Tollefson didn’t end there.

Tollefson shared that finding support systems as a mother – let alone a single mother – has proven to be a great challenge as well.

“One thing I didn’t realize I would encounter is the difference between myself and some of the other mums at the school gates. They are nice people, but we are so different – we are from different generations,” Tollefson stated.

Yet, despite all of her struggles, Tollefson said that having her daughter was “without doubt the best thing I have ever done in my life.” But her choice comes with mixed and conflicting feelings.

“If I could change just one thing, I would wish to be younger so I could enjoy watching Freya grow up, get married and have children of her own,” said Tollefson. “I get a great emotional feeling when I look at her, and a sadness when I realize that time’s running out.”

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About the author


Kate Givans is a wife and a mother of five—four sons (one with autism) and a daughter. She’s an advocate for breastfeeding, women’s rights, against domestic violence, and equality for all. When not writing—be it creating her next romance novel or here on Growing Your Baby—Kate can be found discussing humanitarian issues, animal rights, eco-awareness, food, parenting, and her favorite books and shows on Twitter or Facebook. Laundry is the bane of her existence, but armed with a cup of coffee, she sometimes she gets it done.

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