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Don’t leave it too late to have babies, doctors stress

Couples reminded that fertility levels drop sharply as you reach your mid 30s and that IVF is not a guarantee

Posted: 28 January 2011
by Kimberley Smith
couple leave it late to have babies
After 35 both men and women's fertility decreases

Couples have once again been reminded not to put off having a family for too long. Doctors have released new stats backing up recommendations that the best childbearing age for both women and men is in their 20s and early 30s.

Women aged 35 are six times more likely to have problems conceiving than those aged 25 and they are also more at risk of pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia and miscarriage. By the age of 40, a miscarriage is more likely than a live birth.

Having said this, the age women choose to have their first baby has increased from 23 in 1968 to just over 29 years nowadays. Nearly 27,000 babies were born to over 40s mums last year, almost three times as many as 20 years ago.

The report also suggested that IVF had given women a false sense of security as they viewed the procedure as a back up. However, the success rate for IVF is just 3% for women over 40.

There are many reasons for changes in the age women begin their families, but the experts behind this report stress the importance of giving couples all the facts about later parenthood so they can make an informed decision. The study goes so far as to suggest children should be taught about the risks of delaying parenthood alongside sex education and contraception lessons.

The report also recommends that more needs to be done to enable women to combine motherhood with other elements of their life, such as a career.

“Society has changed and there is now much more opportunity to follow exciting careers before having children, especially with the inadequate provision of child care,” said Gedis Grudzinskas, an infertility consultant. “We should be making it easier for women to start a family while they are at work.”

It’s also worth noting that women are not the only ones affected by declining fertility. Despite aging rockers becoming dads in their 70s, men’s fertility also drops rapidly after the age of 25. Concerned? Find out some natural ways to boost your fertility and up your partner’s sperm count.

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infertility, older mums, late motherhood, IVF, fertility, declining fertility, male infertilty

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