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The premature babies are still at risk of complications.Wikimedia commons

A 65-year-old German woman has become the oldest woman alive to give birth to quadruplets.

School teacher Annegret Raunigk underwent IVF to give birth to three boys named Dries, Bence and Fjonn, and one girl, named Neeta.

They were born by caesarian section on 19 May after 26 weeks, making them three months premature.

The new-borns weigh between one pound and seven ounces and two pounds and two ounces.

Under German law, she was deemed too old to receive reproductive medicine. The new mother underwent IVF treatment in the Ukraine using a donated egg and sperm.

The decision prompted widespread criticism from mothers all over the world and doctors who were concerned that her body would not be able to cope with the stress multiple babies would put on her body.

Her gynaecologist initially suggested a 'selective reduction' - where one or more fetuses in a multi-fetal pregnancy are aborted, but she declined.

A politician branded her decision to pursue IVF abroad as "negligent".

Raunigk said that she is not concerned about people who questioned the morality of her decision to have children at pensionable age.

"There will obviously be cliches bandied about," she said, "and I find that quite strenuous. But I have always been a person who says live and let live and it is not for the opinion of others but for me.

"I have enough experience of childbirth not to be afraid. I am not scared actually, I am just hoping to stay healthy and fit. If others are mega-prim about this I believe they have no interesting lives themselves and therefore it no longer bothers me. I think this is the right choice.'"

Although the quadruplets have a strong chance of survival, complications cannot be ruled out because they were born prematurely at 26 weeks.

Raunigk, who already has 13 children aged nine to 44 by five different fathers, also has seven grandchildren.

She decided to get pregnant again because her youngest child wanted a younger sibling.

She will be 70 years old by the time her youngest sons and daughters reach primary school.