Fertility and age
Medical experts agree that having a child between the ages of 20-30 will give you the best chance of conceiving naturally. Nonetheless women are continuing to postpone parenthood until their mid 30’s with the average age of fertility treatment seekers is 35 years old.
The number of babies born to British women over 40 has reached a record high with an estimated 26,976 babies born in 2009, compared to only 14,252 in 1999. These stats from the Office of National Statistics show the age for motherhood is increasing which in turn leads to a demand for fertility treatment.
For older mothers who get pregnant at 40, the chance of miscarrying is 40%. Prof. Gedis Grudzinskas, an independent fertility specialist, suggests that women aged 40+ who want to conceive should go directly to a fertility specialist before trying, in order to maximise their chances.
Although from the outside, the window for motherhood appears to be thrown ever wider, with new mothers in their 50’s and beyond, the reality is that from the age of 38 onwards, the chances of conceiving narrow rapidly.
An overwhelming percentage of you (80%) thought that there should be a limit to the age that women are granted assisted conception, which should correspond with ‘the laws of nature’.
Dr Gill Lockwood thinks that ‘every case should be judged on its ‘merits and the welfare of the child that may be born is the most important consideration’.
Nonetheless, with the shortage of donor eggs (partly due to the lifting of anonymity) she feels that donor eggs should be available to younger women who have had a premature menopause.
Fertility specialist Prof. Gedis Grudzinskas urges that women need to start families younger, warning that ‘soon there will be no grandparents.’ Dr Gill Lockwood reminds us that ‘however young you look, you cannot botox your ovaries.’