At 29 weeks pregnant with twins, Carole Hobson is — like most expectant first-time mothers — a mixture of nervous excitement and apprehension.
This, she admits, has been a difficult pregnancy, and it will be a relief when her babies are born, hopefully healthy and well.
Carole has suffered severe morning sickness, painful swelling of her legs and, most recently, dangerously high blood pressure.
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She has been injected with steroids to help her babies’ lungs mature if they emerge prematurely, and she is taking medication to lower her blood pressure in the hope that she can carry them to 34 weeks, when doctors plan a Caesarean delivery.
The risk to her own health is, however, one she is fully prepared to take in order to realise her dream of having children; a dream that has so far cost her more than £20,000.
But that is by no means the most surprising part of the story. In her determination to have children, Carole travelled from the Home Counties to the Ukraine, back to London, to Cyprus, and finally to India where her fifth attempt at IVF proved successful.
For Carole is 58 years old — an age when most women are well past the menopause. Her twins, a boy and a girl, have no genetic link to her whatsoever. The donor eggs came from a 24-year-old Indian woman, while the donor sperm came from a Scandinavian engineering graduate.
Not that Carole sees any problem with her circumstances.‘I have absolutely no doubt about my capability of loving two children who are not genetically mine,’ she says, in her first exclusive interview.
‘If I did, I would never have gone ahead.‘I am absolutely thrilled to be pregnant with twins, and I can’t wait to see my children for the first time. Some people reach 50, just give up and wait to die: but not me.I spent my 20s and 30s trying to avoid getting pregnant, but in my late 40s and 50s I felt incomplete without a child.This is, by any reckoning, a truly astonishing story of modern motherhood — and one that raises profoundly troubling ethical questions about the extremes to which some women are willing to go in their bid to have children.When Carole gives birth, she will be younger by four years than the oldest woman in Britain to become a mother — Patricia Rashbrook, who in 2006 gave birth to a son at the age of 62.She will even be four months younger than the oldest woman to give birth to twins — Janet Bosher, a former nursery teacher who gave birth to twins in 2002 at the age of 58.But she is the first to undertake such extremes as a single mother, and has taken some deeply controversial decisions along the way.