By Kristin Schultz
Akosua Budu Amoako, 59, gave birth to a 7-pound, 4-ounce boy via cesarean section on June 15. It is the first child for Budu and her husband, Isaiah Somuah Anim, also 59.
Dr. Khushru Irani delivered the full-term baby at Bellevue Woman’s Center in Niskayuna. Mother and child are doing well.
Budu is among the oldest New York residents ever to give birth, but setting a record was not her goal; she wanted to have a child. She and her husband have been married for 38 years and tried unsuccessfully for decades to have a baby.
“It’s a good feeling to be a mother,” Budu said. “It’s a stage in the life of a woman, and it’s exciting to have a baby.”
Budu, who will be 60 in December, underwent in vitro fertilization at CNY Fertility Clinic in Latham using Anim’s sperm and a donor egg, since Budu was post-menopausal.
After becoming pregnant, CNY staff monitored Budu’s progress through the first trimester and, after 12 weeks, referred her back to Irani who oversaw the remainder of her pregnancy and delivery.
“She had a healthy pregnancy,” Irani said. “She stayed active and had a healthy diet. Baby, mother and father were all healthy throughout the pregnancy.”
Budu and Anim came to the United States from Ghana in 2005. They settled in the New York City area before moving to Schenectady. The couple had been trying to conceive since they were wed, but were unsuccessful.
“We stopped trying when we moved here,” said Budu. “We weren’t sure we should continue because of my age and the risks.”
The couple returned for a visit to Ghana, where they learned of a woman in their community who was older than Budu and had used IVF to become pregnant and had given birth to triplets.
“We thought that if she could use the technology in Africa, we could take advantage of the better technology in the United States and also have a baby,” Budu said.
In 2016, the couple consulted with Irani, who at first refused.
“They are a jolly couple, but I told them no way,” Irani said. “She was pre-diabetic and hypertensive, and I had never had a woman her age pregnant before. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be successful.”
The couple was determined and asked Irani why, if a woman in Ghana could use technology to have babies, they could not. Irani warned them of the great expense involved with fertility treatment, but the couple was undeterred.
After undergoing a battery of tests and ultimately being given a clean bill of health, Budu underwent the extensive course of treatment and became pregnant.
Budu did have to be hospitalized for a few days during her pregnancy. Her husband returned to Ghana for a week to take care of a family matter, and while he was away, Irani said, Budu reported not feeling well and was admitted for dehydration. Irani reported that, upon her husband’s return, her health improved and she was discharged.
There have been no other complications or issues besides the brief hospitalization.
Irani monitored Budu and baby, and as Budu approached her due date, Irani decided to deliver via cesarean section, rather than subject his patient to a vaginal delivery.
“If I would let her go into labor and push, it could put a strain on her heart and increase her risk for stroke,” he said. “This baby is precious, and I need to take care of the mother.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are many risks associated with having a baby at an advanced age, including poor fetal growth, premature birth, low birth weight, toxemia and preeclampsia.
Critics say giving birth at such an advanced age is selfish and brings unnecessary risks. Irani, however, advises all his patients to focus on positivity, prayer, a peaceful life and simplicity in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.
The day before she gave birth, Budu had a final doctor appointment. When she arrived, staff and office doctors greeted her with hugs and encouraging words.
“It is her personal choice,” Irani said. “People should respect her personal choice.”
As for Budu, she feels her new baby is a miracle and an answer to prayer. “I was surprised myself when I got pregnant,” she said. “I see all the young people pregnant, but I am a strong Christian and believe that, with prayers, God can make the impossible possible.”
On Friday, Budu said she was feeling well, and Anim said he was “feeling really great,” and very excited to take the baby home.
Anim will celebrate his first Father’s Day in the hospital, as Budu and the baby will likely be discharged on Monday, a stay that is typical for a cesarean birth.
“I’m excited to take care of a newborn,” said Budu. “I’m excited to see the baby grow up and go to school. I don’t know what to say; it’s just exciting.”