Oh yes, a law. God forbid that we should sit down and think an important decision through rationally. That would never do, so having done something remarkably silly that we now regret we should demand that the state protect us from ourselves. That’s partly so that nobody else makes the same mistake, but when it’s something really exceptional that very, very few other people are inclined to do in the first place I can’t help but wonder if people demanding a law actually want it to stop themselves. In case they try to do it again.
Susan Tollefsen became a mother after receiving IVF treatment at 57 from a Russian clinic in 2008, where she conceived daughter Freya.
Many criticised her decision, saying she was too old to become a parent.
Not me. Personally I wouldn’t, but if someone’s decided to ignore nature’s subtle hints I’m inclined to trust that they’ve thought it through. All the way through. Of course I would be aware that that trust might be misplaced, but with nothing to contradict it I’d still give them the benefit of the doubt.
At the time, Mrs Tollefsen defended her choice and pointed out that her partner Nick Mayer was 11 years her junior – and would therefore be around to care for their daughter Freya during all of her childhood.
So she had thought it all the way thr… oh.
However, she says the couple have now split and concedes her critics were right as she encounters the difficulties of bringing up a three-year-old child alone at the age of 61.
Right, so apart from the ‘what if my partner’s not around’ point she thought it through.
“Every Saturday he wanted to go and watch them, either home or away, and some weekdays. I felt as if he didn’t want his life to change at all after Freya came along, even though mine had changed completely.”
Okay, okay, she didn’t really think it through far enough at all, and if he thought it wasn’t going to change his life much then I’d say he didn’t think it… ooooh, footie. In fairness to both of them it strikes me that this isn’t unique to people their age getting IVF – sadly there are plenty of children who were conceived naturally but whose conception was ill conceived, and whose parents love their offspring, sorta kinda, but miss the days they didn’t have this small person depending on them so much. Tough shit, folks. If you want your life to stay the same as it is now the obvious thing to do is not fucking change it.
“I never imagined it would work out this way,’ Mrs Tollefsen said. “I’ve never regretted having Freya but I’ve had to pay a heavy price for my dream of being a mother. In fact, it’s cost me my relationship. You think you’re madly in love with someone and you just don’t realise what they’re going to be like after you’ve had children.”
/ looks skyward with hands in pockets and begins to whistle
So now she’s decided as wonderful and precious as her daughter is to her it really wasn’t such a smart move after all, and that means – you guessed it – she wants there to be a law to stop the infinitesimally small number of people who want to become a new parent in their late 50s from doing the same thing.
Mrs Tollefsen, who is deaf in one ear and having a knee replaced, also agrees that, with hindsight, there should be an age limit of 50 for IVF treatment for women in this country.
Except she’s still not thinking things through properly, is she? Hello, Susan? You went … Susan? Susan? Hello? Oh, sorry, I’m on the side of your wooden ear. Hello, Susan, you went to Russia to get your IVF, remember? And if there’d been an age limit of 50 at the time, and remembering that the NHS won’t provide IVF to anyone 40 or over and even private clinics tend to balk at treating women over 50, exactly how would that have stopped you from doing what you did? Exactly how would bringing in such a law now prevent any other woman whose desire for a child has eclipsed everything else, including rational thought and taste and decency…
… from doing the same thing? Unless you want this law to ban women over 50 from getting on a plane as well you simply can’t prevent doing the same thing. Your own story is a cautionary tale and should put a few people off, but unless we want the already far too powerful nanny state to grow yet more powerful we must accept people ignoring advice and making short sighted decisions as being facts of life.
* Apologies to Monty Python for ruining one of their most famous skits. And if you don’t know what this joke refers to I suggest you either get (a) a large bucket of mind bleach or (b) drunk before you attempt to find out.