Elizabeth Adeney will be Britain's oldest mother when she gives birth next month

Elizabeth Adeney is set to become Britain's oldest mum at 66; four years older than the previous record holder. She is pictured here with a sizeable baby bump, 8 months into her pregnancy through IVF abroad (British clinics will not treat women over the age of 50).

The divorcee is said to be a wealthy businesswoman who is still working a five-day week, is in perfect health and looking forward to the birth of what is thought to be her first child.

But her pregnancy will reignite the debate over late motherhood and the ability of science to enable women in their fifties and sixties to become mothers.

Mrs Adeney will be just short of her 80th birthday when her child becomes a teenager.

A friend said she had been desperate to conceive for years.

Last year, she travelled to the Ukraine, where a controversial IVF clinic has helped countless women get pregnant using donor eggs and sperm.

'I am a private person and while I appreciate there may be some publicity I will just ignore it,' she said.

'This has been a very personal decision and I do not feel I have to give interviews or talk to anyone in the media about what I have decided to do and where I have done it.'

Mrs Adeney is divorced from Robert Adeney, a former chairman of upmarket riding and leather goods firm Swaine Adeney Brigg, which was founded in 1750.

Critics have begun to question once more whether IVF should be given to women who are past the age where they could naturally conceive, following news of Mrs Adeney's pregnancy. After all the NHS will only consider women under the age of 40.

In different light, a spokesman for the Church of England said: 'A child is a gift not a right. For those who have never received that gift we can well understand their desire to have children but it is always important to think in those circumstances about what is really in the child's best interests.'

However, Laurence Shaw, a consultant in reproductive medicine at London Bridge Fertility Centre, said: 'The truth is, anybody might not survive to raise their children.

'Until 100 years ago, our life expectancy was 50 or so, so if you had a baby at 30 you had 20 years with your child. Now life expectancy is 80, so is it not reasonable for someone to go through a process of fitness screening to decide whether they should have a child?'

Following this issue, or bearer of good news for women over the natural conceiving age, could this mean a change in women's view of their biological clocks, since there is still hope of pregnancy in later years of life?

A baby at 66 for desperate divorcee set to become Britain's oldest mother [Daily Mail]