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Triplets at 59- doctors angry

Ethical questions raised as French woman dodges country's IVF age limit through treatment in Vietnam.

A 59-year-old woman who received IVF treatment in Vietnam to sidestep France's age limit has caused anger among the medical profession.

Medical ethics experts have criticised the behaviour of doctors in Vietnam who carried out the procedure despite the increased risks associated with pregnancy at such a late age.

In France the law sets 43-years-old as the maximum age for IVF treatment.

The woman, who is expecting triplets, is currently being treated at the Cochin Hospital in Paris where her medical costs are covered by the state via assurance-maladie.

Her actions have been described as "irresponsible" by some in the medical profession.

The president of the ethics board of the l'Agence de la Biomédecine Sadek Beloucif said there were no statistics on the number of women who received IVF treatment abroad before returning to France but added that the figures were not negligible.

He singled out European countries such as Cyprus and the Ukraine, where such treatment can be bought and said a standard age should be brought in across the EU.

"Certainly we are seeing a change in society where the age to get pregnant naturally is rising but everyone must understand that you cannot have a child at any age," he said.

"This is important for the health of the mother and for the health of the baby," he added.

France's bioethical laws will be re-examined in debates next year - questions over surrogate mothers (currently banned in France) and gay rights for IVF will be among the issues debated.

Mr Beloucif added he did not believe the age limit for IVF treatment should be raised.

The oldest woman to have a child in France was aged 62 when she gave birth to a boy in 2001.

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