And are you their grandmother?

A 60-year-old New Jersey woman gives birth to twins.


Lynn Harris
May 23, 2007 11:42PM (UTC)

Here we go again ... and again! Another mother has pushed the age envelope, this one -- Frieda Birnbaum, 60, of Saddle River, N.J. -- becoming the oldest American woman to give birth to twins. Itty-bitty Jake and Jared were conceived through in vitro fertilization, as was the couple's 7-year-old son. As to whether the eggs in question were donated or Mrs. Birnbaum's own, frozen earlier, the new-again mum is mum. Speaking of hokey wordplay, today's New York Daily News has a field day with the details, referring to Birnbaum as a "well-coiffed blond," her 63-year-old husband, Ken, as "grandfatherly" and her two grown children, Jason, 33, and Alana, 29, as "appalled."

The news has stirred up the obvious questions, including 1) how old is too old -- should there be a limit? 2) Is it ethical to bear a child who'll graduate from college when you're in your dotage? and 3) What was she thinking? But to me, what's more interesting is the constantly evolving bigger picture. Technology and culture alike are continuing to change the very definition of family and parenthood even as I type. Older parents, three parents, same-sex parents, "gestational" parents vs. "biological" parents vs. legal parents vs. who knows? "Nontraditional" family arrangements are still the exception to the rule, and may ever be. (And that may or may not make you happy.) But still. How soon, I wonder, will we look back at our handwringing over the Birnbaum twins, such as it is, and think, "How quaint"?

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Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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