It’s the future: Artificial wombs

We imagine how artificial wombs might allow a woman in her 80s to have more children

Mother of four Isabella Fecundorilla spoke to ‘Let’s Do It!’ about her decision to have another child at the age of 82.

Fake magazine article about artificial wombs

Composite from images from Ira Bachinskaya/iStockphoto and Andreas Reh/iStockphoto

Looking at Isabella Fecundorilla radiant and blossoming in the early stages of pregnancy, it is hard to believe she’s at an age when women used to be settling down to a hard-earned retirement.

She’s never felt better, she says, and it’s easy to believe her. She’s still coming to terms with her new-found celebrity status as the world’s oldest mum, but suspects that it is not an honour she is likely to hold for long.

Back in the ‘bad old days’, as she calls them, doctors realised that something strange was happening in ageing. In the early 20th century, average lifespan increased as the causes of early mortality – infectious disease, malnutrition – were overcome.

Later, longevity continued to increase as the conditions of later life were tackled more effectively. By the early 21st century, life expectancy was increasing by more than five hours every day.

“I don’t look old and I don’t feel old,” says Isabella, whose mother lived to be 124. “Why shouldn’t I do all the things young people do?”

Remarkably, this trend continued as researchers realised that tackling the causes of biological ageing would benefit a host of later-life conditions.

Reporting by Rosie Futures

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘How We Look’ in June 2008 and reviewed and updated in November 2014.

Genetics and genomics, Biotechnology and engineering
How We Look
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development