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56-year-old gives birth to twins

From Jonathan Schienberg
CNN


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New Jersey
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Curtis Sliwa
Jane Miller

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Just three days shy of her 57th birthday, Aleta St. James has given birth to twins.

The baby girl and boy were born at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital by cesarean section.

Francesca was born first, at 9:18 a.m., weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces, and Gian (pronounced John) followed at 9:19 a.m., weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces, the hospital said.

"The babies are in excellently good health," said Dr. Jonathan Scher, the physician who delivered the babies. "They are fabulous babies and were well enough to go directly to the well-newborn nursery." He also reported that St. James "is doing just fine."

"When I look into my children's eyes, I feel such love, gratitude and appreciation for having been given these miraculous gifts," St. James said after her birth.

Jane Miller, director of the North Hudson IVF, a fertility clinic in New Jersey, said that St. James, a motivational speaker and life coach, had been her patient for several years before she discussed undergoing in-vitro fertilization. "She's been my gynecological patient for a while. It wasn't like she just came to ask to become a record or be some statistic," Miller said.

"In general I would not recommend someone to get pregnant at this age," Miller added. "Pregnancy at this age can increase the chances of premature birth, which can cause neurological damage to the baby."

MayoClinic.com, a partner of CNN.com, lists these additional risks to pregnancy during a woman's 50s:

  1. Increased miscarriage risks
  2. Gestational diabetes
  3. Pregnancy-induced hypertension
  4. Greater chance of Caesarean delivery

Miller said she agreed to oversee St. James' pregnancy because she was in such good health.

"There was no medical reason that would prevent a successful-term pregnancy with her through the use of donated eggs," Miller said.

Miller noted that in the wake of publicity about St. James, more older women are contacting her about giving birth.

"This is a very risky situation," Miller said. "And when women of this age range call, I'm going to give them a dose of reality."

St. James was bit more optimistic about the possibility of other women following her lead. "At any age it's possible," she said. "It's only over when it's over. ... I don't want to have any regrets when I'm older."

The oldest American to give birth to twins was 57-year-old Judy Cates, on December 9, 1998. The oldest to give birth is believed to be a 63-year-old woman from Highland, California.

St. James is the sister of Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.


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