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Being a mother is a young woman's game.

Byline: Joan Burnie

ON MY good days and so long as I manage to avoid a mirror, I don't feel all that different to how I felt in my thirties or even my twenties.

I weigh much the same even if unfortunate bits of me, like a melting candle, seem to have slipped.

anks to the pups, I walk around four or ve miles a day and I still work even if I do have a bus pass tucked in beside the bank cards.

I'm t. I'm well and yes, I know, smug with it.

But I'm also a gran and take it from Joannie, it's looking after my granddaughters which really brings my true age home to me.

I love them to bits but a day or two, nay a few hours, looking after the pair of them - and they're not di cult kids - has me wabbit and on my wrinkled knees.

So the idea that women should be helped to have babies into their fties and beyond by giving out endless, expensive free IVF treatment is bonkers.

at, however, is apparently what is being considered by health authorities in England on the grounds that if they cut o the treatment for older women, then they could be sued for age discrimination.

Listen pets, if anyone needs suing it's Mother Nature.

She's the one who decided, for very good reasons, that child bearing wasn't for the elderly.

at is why She gave us a time limit.

It's called the menopause.

And, whether we like it or not, She knew what she was doing.

Shame She didn't have time to work out something similar for the boys - do you hear me Rodders and all the other old goats - by making their bits shrink or fall o but there you go.

Seriously, it's not only better for women to have kids when they're young enough to have su cient energy to do it but because babies born to those over 40 have a greater risk of abnormalities and, furthermore, their mothers are more likely to die in childbirth.

ose, however unpalatable, are the facts.So I can't really understand why we are encouraging ever more women to go down this potentially dangerous path.

A lot of it is to do with celebs who, once they're past the third ush, with their career on the slide, decide they need an ickle lickle living doll to play with.

ey make it look simple and, no doubt with an army of nannies on call 24/7, it is - especially if you can contract the entire giving birth bit out to some surrogate.

But then I've never bought the myth that everyone has the right to be a mum.

It's the kids who have the rights and that right should include being born to someone who has a fair chance of being around until their o spring are themselves adults.

I'm not saying no one over the age of forty ve should have kids. If it happens naturally, good luck or possibly commiserations. All I'm saying is we shouldn't be doing anything to arti cially assist conception beyond that age.

Nor am I suggesting elderly old birds such as I are incapable of looking after kids properly.

ere are plenty of grandparents, thanks to family circumstances and the abysmal lack of decent, a ordable child care, who end up minding their grandkids almost permanently.

I both salute and admire them but also thank God I don't have to do it.

Neither their families nor the country could do without them, not least during these endless school holidays and the Government's determination that every mum must work outwith as well as within the home.

But if there is money to spare, it should be spent on support for those who are already parents - not frittered away on prolonging anyone's child-bearing years way past their well-by date.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 2, 2010
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