an elderly persons hand touching an infant's
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 24, 2024 ·  4 min read

Mother Welcomed Her First Child at 66 and Has Lived with Public Rejection since Then

Adriana Iliescu became one of the oldest recorded mothers after giving birth at age 66 . Iliescu became pregnant via artificial insemination before giving birth by cesarean section. She allegedly took hormone-replacement therapy to help her womb host the fetus. Her daughter, Eliza Marie, was delivered about six weeks early. She weighed only 1.4 kilograms, half of what a healthy newborn weighs. Iliescu originally carried twins but one fetus died after nine weeks due to heart failure. Doctors decided to perform the c-section to protect the second infant. Fortunately, both mother and baby recovered and were able to go home after about six weeks.

Becoming a Mother at 66

Despite the successful birth, Iliescu faced controversy for her decision to pursue motherhood. Medical experts explain the process could have been detrimental for the older woman.

My personal opinion is that it was completely irresponsible and shouldn’t have gone ahead,” says Richard Kennedy, spokesperson for the British Fertility Society. 

Additionally, there are concerns about Eliza Maria losing her mother early in life depending on Iliescu’s longevity. “There are ethical concerns for a mother who is old enough to be her daughter’s great-grandmother,” said Kennedy. [1]

However, there are no laws in Romania restricting fertility care for women based on their age although many doctors recommend women passed menopause not to pursue pregnancy. But medical experts weren’t the only ones looking sideways at Iliescu’s decision. The Romanian Orthodox Church called it “selfish” as people questioned how the mother can raise a teenager in her 80s.

Adriana Iliescu and her daughter Eliza Marie
Photo credits: Laurentiu Garofeanu/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Iliescu stated at the time that she was not concerned. “Nobody can foresee the future,” said Iliescu. “I’m a normal woman, like any woman who has a child.” In fact, her mission to become a mother had begun decades ago. She initially began fertility treatment in 1995 at the age of 57. [2] But this wasn’t her first attempt to become a mom. She tried to have children with her husband but had to abort because of medical issues. After her marriage ended, she focused on her career as a university professor and children’s books author until she turned 37. At that time, she wanted to try to be a mother again. However, it took 20 years for the necessary fertility treatments to become available in Romania.

Read: ‘I’m 27 Years Old And My Daughter Is 20 – We Are Best Friends And I Wouldn’t Trade It For The World’

Adriana Iliescu: The Energy of a Younger Woman

Iliescu truly defied the odds to achieve her dreams of motherhood.

The image I see in the mirror doesn’t lie about my age,” she said in 2010, “but when it comes to energy I still feel like a girl. You seem to be 27 and when I’m more tired I feel like I’m 37. I’m healthier than some women who are half my age.” About her five-year-old daughter, she said, “Eliza is energetic and fun, a very happy little girl. She is everything to me and nothing else counts…” 

Despite all of the controversy at the time, Dr. Bogdan Marinescu, the doctor who gave the fertility treatment, said Iliescu was in physically good shape for pregnancy and birth. After Eliza Marie’s birth, he stated to BBC, “The baby is developing normally given her prematurity and is catching up, in terms of weight.”

In 2022, Adriana is 83 and Eliza Marie is 17. [4] As a result of the pandemic, Adriana has been careful to isolate while Eliza Marie attends school. She is an excellent student and the youngest in her class, having started her education at age five and a half. Plus, she’s well-versed in life skills like cooking. She is aware of the circumstances of her birth, particularly the reason why she won’t know her father. [5]

Adriana Iliescu and her daughter Eliza Marie
Photo credits: Scoalasfcalinic

In an interview soon after her daughter’s birth, the mother said, “Each person has a mission in life, and maybe this was my mission.

If that’s the case, she’s still carrying out her mission until today. “If this child is born, it is also by the will of God,” she said in response to the church’s protests at the time. “Today is a happy day for me, because I can see my daughter. I have touched her hand and she squeezed my finger.”

The New Record for Oldest Mother

Surprisingly, Iliescu no longer holds the record for oldest mother. In 2006, Carmela Bousada from Spain gave birth via cesarean section to twin boys, Christian and Pau. She was 66 at the time, about 100 days older than Iliescu. After being rejected for fertility treatment in Spain, Bousada received artificial insemination in America where she pretended to be 55 years old. [6]

Keep Reading: 108-year-old meets his 1-year-old namesake: ‘You don’t know what this means to me’


  1. “Woman becomes mother at 66.Nature. Michael Hopkin. January 17, 2005
  2. “’World’s oldest mum’ defends her decision.NBC News. Bogdan Cristel. January 18, 2005
  3. “’World’s oldest mum’ raps critics.BBC. January 19, 2005
  4. “Adriana Iliescu, the woman who became a mother at 66.Di Lei. January 20, 2022
  5. “Adriana Iliescu’s daughter has changed enormously. The teenager recently turned 16 years old.” Huff. Dumitrache Cristian. January 2021
  6. “Oldest person to give birth.Guinness World Records