She was utterly determined to have a son.
The fact that to do so would make 70-year-old Omkari Panwar the world’s oldest mother didn’t even cross her mind.
Her resolve was matched by her husband Charan Singh Panwar, 77.
To pay for the IVF treatment vital to producing a male heir to the family’s smallholdings, the retired farmer sold his buffalos, mortgaged his land, spent his life savings and took out a credit card loan.
And it all paid off when Mrs Panwar gave birth to twins – a boy and girl – by emergency Caesarean section in hospital in Muzaffarnagar, seven hours drive north of the Indian capital New Delhi.
The twins, born a month premature and weighing 2lb each, are healthy, according to doctors.
The Panwars already have two adult daughters, and five grandchildren, but the latest arrivals are what they have been waiting for – not least because a son will benefit from a dowry when he marries and will be able to work their land.
Mrs Panwar said: ‘For eight months the pregnancy was hectic and painful. But I have given birth before, so I knew what to expect. Sometimes, you have to face the pain if you want something good.’
Her husband added: ‘At last we have a son and heir. We prayed to God, went to saints and visited religious places to pray for an heir.
‘The treatment cost me a fortune but the birth of a son makes it all worthwhile. I can die a happy man and a proud father.’
Mrs Panwar, who has no birth certificate, uses the date of India’s independence in 1947 to gauge her age. She remembers being nine when the British left India – meaning she is now 70.
Romanian Adriana Iliescu, who gave birth to a daughter through IVF aged 66 in 2005, was previously the world’s oldest mother.
Mrs Panwar was told she had beaten the record as she recuperated on a rusty steel bed in the mudbrick home of one of her daughters.
‘I didn’t know that,’ she said. ‘But it is of little benefit to me. I have not even seen my own children yet – they were taken to a specialist hospital while I was still unconscious.
‘If I am the world’s oldest mother it means nothing to me. I just want to see my new babies and care for them while I am still able.’
Gynaecologist Nisha Malik, who delivered the twins in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, said: ‘I was shocked when this old lady told me she was pregnant. I have been in medicine for 20 years and I have never heard of such a case.’