I just read an article that discussed a recent study about not waiting too long to have a baby and found it very interesting. I myself started trying to get pregnant at 40 and after three IVF treatments and a pregnancy loss I can relate to this study.
Older parents increase the likelihood of serious medical complications for both mother and baby during the pregnancy and delivery, the study found. It concluded that by the age of 40, a woman is more likely to have a miscarriage than give birth.
The report also found that men’s fertility declines quickly after the age of 25. It said that the average 40 year-old takes two years to get his partner pregnant, even if she is in her twenties.
More women are putting off motherhood until later in life while they pursue a career. Almost 27,000 babies were born to mothers over the age of 40 last year compared with 9,336 in 1989. The average child-bearing age has risen from 23 in 1968 to 29.3 today.
Up to 30 per cent of 35 year-olds take longer than a year to get pregnant, compared to only five per cent of 25 year-olds, according to the report.
It concluded that pregnant women in their late 30s and early 40s are far more likely to suffer complications such as pre-eclampsia, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Babies born to them are also more likely to be premature, smaller or have Down’s syndrome and other genetic disorders, the report warned.
The study, published in the medical journal Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, said that risks of prolonging parenthood should be taught at school alongside lessons on safe sex.
Researchers say that charts showing the decline of fertility with age should be put up in surgeries and family planning clinics.
David Utting, speciality registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at Kingston Hospital NHS Trust and co-author of the review, said: “Clear facts on fertility need to be made available to women of all ages to remind them that the most secure age for child-bearing remains 20-35.
“There are a number of reasons why women are leaving it later to start a family, for example, career concerns, financial reasons and finding a suitable partner. However, women should be given more information on the unpredictability of pregnancy and the problems that can occur in older mothers.”
“Society has changed and there is now much more opportunity to follow exciting careers, especially with such inadequate provision of child care.
“Women achieve career satisfaction and decide they want to start a family but by this time it is too late and they can’t turn the clock back.”
He added: “We should be making it easier for women to start a family while they are at work.”
The doctors also said that IVF had given women a “false sense of security”, despite major breakthroughs in recent years. Fertility treatment has a three per cent success rate for women over the age of 44.
Earlier this month it was reported that women who had endured repeated IVF failures have been given fresh hope by a new fertility treatment that can increase success rates fivefold, studies indicate.
Up to one in four women who struggle to conceive may have faults with their immune system that mean their bodies reject the pregnancy.
These women often go through repeated cycles of IVF, often spending thousands, only to suffer repeated failures or conceive but miscarry early on.