Let’s give women the facts about infertility

Last week I was asked to comment on remarks made by Lord Winston to an audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival who said it was a good thing for women to delay having a baby.

Whilst I have the utmost respect for Lord Winston, who is fully entitled to his views, I disagree with his view. I think it is important for women to fully understand the facts surrounding a decision to delay starting a family.

Those of us on the front line, who are advising infertility patients on a daily basis, know that many prospective parents are unaware of the age-related decline in fertility, or of the increased risks for older mothers (post mid 30s) of miscarrying or having a baby with Downs Syndrome.

Clearly it is important for each prospective mother to decide for themselves when the time is right to have a baby. However, I do feel it is important that those of us in the medical profession do not wrongly suggest, or give people false hope, that advances in IVF now mean it is possible to have a baby at any time. This is not the case and ideally those wanting to start a family should not delay this beyond their mid 30s.

Read my interview with Fiona MacRae, Science Editor of The Daily Mail here.

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