Every time it is announced that an older person can be a father or mother we wonder about its feasibility, desirability and even ethics.
My first article in this newspaper was in 2002 when it was announced that a French woman, over 70 years old, would give birth to a child. A fact that discovered an unprecedented possibility in the history of humanity.
However, given this scientific fact, which has continued to grow exponentially, the question appears located in the social and psychological field.
A number of criteria are questioned, such as: the effective capacity of an older person to adequately raise a child; the amount of life they can share; the inconvenience of the great difference in age and generational criteria, and a desire that could seem selfish is condemned for not attending to these reasons.
The questions surrounding this topic seem to debate the existence of ideal ages to have a child. Until some time ago 20 seemed like a good age, although today, increasingly, couples delay it in view of the development of their profession or their desires to travel or share life without parental obligations.
However, we would make the issue more complex if we thought that good parenting implies economic or educational resources, psychological or physical capacities, which makes it much more difficult for us to discern on this issue and we could even turn the discussion towards totalitarian criteria.
Probably the sum of variants that allow a good or bad paternity are much more complex and the sum of factors that could potentially benefit a child, are not enough to reach certain agreements.
Those of us who are a little older could hear the debates about whether a "single mother", following the terminology of the time, could adequately raise a child or, even if people with physical or sensory disabilities could have such capacity, or what would be the difficulties in children.
More recently, the question has arisen as to whether LGBT+ people could be. The investigations amply demonstrated that there were no psychological injuries more or less significant than in heterosexual couples, which allowed to demolish a myth regarding who is capable or not, or who can generate damage. Even in a discriminating society.
On the side of fathers, in research I carried out on the subject, many male fathers who had a child early and then after 60 or 70, said that at this stage they had less physical strength, but with more dedication to fatherhood since they did not compete with their profession. as at other times.
On the side of the children, it is important to consider that many people raised by their grandparents, by family disagreements or early deaths usually have a very positive memory and what can be a negative factor is when the lack of parents has not been adequately resolved or when grandparents do not feel that this is their desire.
In this sense, I understand that it is not the same to be raised by parents than by grandparents since many times children feel that there is a lack of a generation that can be seen as a loss. Whereas when they are big parents, or one of them is, this is not understood in the same way.
Perhaps there is a harder factor associated with certain biological risks of procreating later, although in this case we could talk about adults who have passed the age of 35. When we talk about people who are in late old age, the physical deterioration and the time to share parents with children becomes more pressing.
Particularly, in the case of Al Pacino, even if he is in good physical condition, he is more likely to get sick or disabled and his life span will be shorter than average.
In this case, the mother will be able to ensure continuity of care, although the difficulties and early death of a father may be more difficult to process. Even parental care is often complex, especially when children are too young for it.
In some cases of older mothers who were able to procreate, it was mentioned that they had formed broader care networks than that of a traditional family, so that there is support available in any of these eventualities. Which would indicate the value of community in raising a child.
However, psychology tells us that predictable events can be better tolerated than those that are not. That is, the expectation of sharing with a person who has more limitations and a smaller amount of life time together, usually becomes more tolerable, than when the facts are less expected and an "unforeseen" loss could become traumatic.
The world will inevitably be older and living conditions promise to be better, which will lead us to find ourselves more often with these possibilities. That is why I believe that the issue is not to generate simplistic criticisms but to look for the conditions that improve these possibilities.
Ricardo Iacub holds a PhD in Psychology (UBA)