WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up once you've had a response. 2. Keep your question brief 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. See full guidelines here.

Kate Garraway and Zita West: live webchat about fertility, Wednesday 22 May, 12.45pm to 1.45pm

(139 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 21-May-13 20:13:38

Kate Garraway and Zita West are joining us for a live webchat on Wednesday lunchtime between 12.45 and 1.45pm

Kate and Zita have been working together recently as ambassadors for the Get Britain Fertile campaign with First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test. The campaign uses an image of Kate transformed by prosthetics into a 70-year-old pregnant woman; First Response says this was done to raise awareness of the fact that the average age at which women in the UK have children is one of the world's highest.

However, the image has come under much criticism on this thread. In particular, Mumsnetters have queried whether women are, in fact, really that unaware of the risks - and why the campaign does not appear to be equally aimed at men.

The Get Britain Fertile press team say, "The campaign was set up to to supply men and women with accurate and up-to-date fertility tips and advice, to improve chances of conception whenever they decide to start conceiving."

Kate Garraway has been presenting GMTV Daybreak for 13 years, and is the mother of two children, to whom she gave birth at the ages of 38 and 42. Zita West is a midwife, acupuncturist and nutritional adviser. She worked in the NHS for more than 20 years, and in 2002 set up the Zita West clinic, a multidisciplinary practice for helping women to conceive. She joined Mumsnet for live webchat back in 2007.

Put your questions to Kate and Zita tomorrow (Weds 22 May) at 12.45pm or, if you're unable to make that time, post them here in advance.

tametortie Wed 22-May-13 09:35:41

I have very differing feelings about this campaign.

I do think women need educating about fertility- along the lines of TCOYF and Zita West's female fertility evaluation. When I started TTC, these were invaluable- learning about body temping, cervical mucus (sorry to those eating breakfast!) and signs of ovulation etc. It amazes me how much we teach young girls about preventing pregnancy but we dont educate women about taking control of their own bodies, understanding controlling their fertility etc.

However, my story is I started TTC when I was 26- in plenty of time, having already had a child and now at age 32, I am just at the end of my 3rd failed IVF cycle with an AMH level of 4.52 and the eggs of a much, much older woman. I eat well, I exercise, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I drink a fortune in bottled water, I have acupuncture and yet, I cannot conceive without lots and lots of assistance.

I think this campaign is misguided and personal. It offends me and I am sure it must offend others. And it is fronted by somebody who craves a 3rd child??!! Makes me want to weep.

I think the campaign should be much more about educating women of all ages about their fertility. Zita West does fabulous work at her clinic regarding this and would have done much better to have pushed forward with advice regarding this, not about educating women about something that relies on SO many factors we have NO control over whatsoever- meeting the right man, being in good fertile health in the first place???

Bizarre. Whoever dreamt this one up needs a good shake.

rhetorician Wed 22-May-13 09:51:23

Whilst I appreciate the personal tragedy involved for people who find that their fertility declines (and as tametortie's eloquent post illustrates, this is not purely age related) this campaign doesn't make much sense to me. The UKs birth rate is one of the highest in the EU, apart from Ireland which is the only country with a birth rate above 2.0. I would like to hear Kate and Garraway put forward reasons other than personal fulfilment why we should be trying to increase fertility, if our population is replacing itself...

MadBusLady Wed 22-May-13 09:57:26

The campaign uses an image of Kate transformed by prosthetics into a 70-year-old pregnant woman; First Response says this was done to raise awareness of the fact that the average age at which women in the UK have children is one of the world's highest.

Please can you elaborate on the intentions behind this poster?

Surely, if the aim of the campaign is to spread awareness about declining fertility as we age, it makes no sense to have a pregnant "70 year old" on your poster.

Unless, of course, your real intention is just to shame older mothers.

I invite you to refute this logic.

MadBusLady Wed 22-May-13 10:02:33

(I realise, of course, that you can't, because it doesn't make any sense - and I also realise that probably you two as individuals don't wish to shame older mothers. I just think you need to have a word with the people on your marketing team, because some not-very-nice attitudes are coming through with that particular bit of "awareness raising".)

I was just about to post the same as MadBusLady.

Please tell us more about the poster.

To me, it looks like you want people to go - "ooh, freaky..." Is that what you wanted? How do you think that is helpful to either older mothers or older women who want to be mothers?

Scribblegirl Wed 22-May-13 10:25:10

Some people have suggested the campaign is not aimed at those who are in their 30s and TTC, but at younger women to get them thinking about it earlier.

I am a childless 24 year old graduate who is currently struggling to find graduate employment that will support me, due to the economic climate and the vast number of unemployed graduates. My DP is of similar age and situation. I have recently started a part time Masters course in order to become better qualified in the vain hope we may be able to afford children one day.

Does Ms Garraway suggest we:-

a) put off childrearing for say, 6 years (by which point I will be 30) in the hope we will be able to raise children without adding to this country's benefit dependency, or

b) start TTC now when neither of us are financially or emotionally ready, bringing a child into a struggling situation, in order to make hand-wringing highly-sponsored 'spokespeople' such as herself rest easier at night?

WilsonFrickett Wed 22-May-13 10:32:13

I wonder if Kate and Zita would care to comment on the second phase of their campaign (as yet imaginary of course!) which will clearly focus on changing societal attitudes to young women who have multiple children before they hit their twenties - because surely that is the logical end to this campaign? Is First Response going to be sponsoring affordable accommodation? Jobs? Partners?

I would have loved to have had more than one DC but as DS came along when I was 35, I wasn't ready to think about #2 till I was 40 - too late (for me). But I knew the risks and I chose to delay conception till I was in a stable, committed relationship where we both wanted children.

To suggest that a high % of women go 'FFS! I forgot to get pg!' is both patronising and ridiculous. And yes, where are the men in this campaign?

EuroShaggleton Wed 22-May-13 10:34:38

My question to Kate and Zita is this:

Do you really think women are unaware that fertility declines with age and this is the reason for later childbearing, rather than financial constraints, finding a suitable partner, waiting for that partner to be ready, etc? Really Kate and Zita?

I find the campaign pretty offensive and patronising, to be honest.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 22-May-13 10:37:29

I really don't get this campaign. Most women who have babies later do so as they want to concentrate on their careers first. I don't see how this campaign will make any difference to that group of women. Certainly Kate Garraway saying I should have a baby earlier than say 30 wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference to me as I needed to get my life sorted out first.

I think the demographic that they are trying to speak to are probably the most aware about declining fertility what with being educated and all. I doubt many of us actually 'sleep walk into infertility'. It is rather more complex than that I suspect.

It seems like an ill thoughtout and rather pointless marketing exercise for First Response tbh

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 22-May-13 10:38:56

ha ha Euro made the same point grin

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 22-May-13 10:41:10

and agree with Wilson it is very patronising

pennylovesleonard Wed 22-May-13 10:49:22

I agree with the above posters, I would have loved to start my family in my early twenties but wasn't with the right partner, didn't meet dh until late twenties & as soon as we could just about manage financially we had dd when I was 31.
Struggling with conceiving dc2 now at 35 & have been refered to the hospital (waiting for my appt in July )

So my question is what should I be doing to be help my chances now? (Apart from the obvious grin )
Acupuncture? Supplements? Losing weight?

I find the campaign depressing and patronising to be honest.

LeStewpot Wed 22-May-13 11:13:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KentishWine Wed 22-May-13 11:16:53

Do you think there is a link between these two factors: (1) The average age at which women in the UK have children is amongst the highest in the world; (2) The average cost of childcare in the UK is the highest in the world (apart from Switzerland)?

Do you think your time and effort would be better directed at campaigning for a society where young working couples can afford to have children if they so wish?

louisianablue2000 Wed 22-May-13 11:19:12

Considering that the world's population is so high already is it not irresponsible to encourage people to have children at a young age, surely from a population wide view it is better to encourage people to leave it as late as possible? Having a baby is not the only way to feel fufilled.

mrsden Wed 22-May-13 11:31:22

I hate the title "get Britain fertile" because I think it suggests that there is something we can control about fertility, that those of us suffering with infertility did or are doing something wrong, that we've made bad choices and have caused this. Our infertility is the result of dh being born with an undescended testicle. There is nothing we can do to 'get fertile' and this plays into the ignorant view that its people's own fault.

EduCated Wed 22-May-13 12:23:43

What are the markets of success for this campaign, ie what are you hoping to achieve, in measurable terms? Why?

TheNewson Wed 22-May-13 12:34:04

OK, here's the thing. Lack of partner and financial security aside, I didn't actually want children until my 30s.

I had twins naturally at 32. In previous years this age was deemed geriatric for first children (even though my Nan had kids from when she was aged between 18-40)

Yes, we all know that ideally women should be in their 20s but in this day of choice I'm glad I waited. I feel this campaign edges into the arena of (informed) choice, and I'm uncomfortable with that.

Most of the people this campaign is aimed at are intelligent enough to realise that the body is supposedly best at having children in its 20s; yet for various reasons, that are diverse and far from simple, that does not always happen.

Question: So isn't the campaign pointless? What are you hoping to change/prompt when people are well informed on this complex issue?

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-May-13 12:47:44

Afternoon everyone.

Kate and Zita have arrived, and are just getting comfy - they'll be here and answering in a sec. Take it away...

Shakey1500 Wed 22-May-13 12:52:00

Hi Kate and Zita

I did post up thread but I would like to know if you have read the current Mumsnet thread on your campaign?

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/1758868-Kate-Garraway-fronts-campaign-to-get-women-thinking-about-having-babies-earlier

KateandZita Wed 22-May-13 12:53:19

Hi mumsnetters Zita and I are here now and ready to answer your questions about the Get Britain Fertile campaign.

EduCated Wed 22-May-13 12:54:35

<settles in>

hurricanewyn Wed 22-May-13 12:57:09

Hi both,

Can you explain the reasoning behind the campaign? Do you both, as educated women, genuinely believe that women don't realise that they may find it harder to get pregnant as they age?

EduCated Wed 22-May-13 12:59:15

Reporting my question from above, reworded slightly:

What are the markers of success for this campaign? Ie, what exact is it, in measurable terms, that you are trying to achieve and why is this important enough for a campaign?

KateandZita Wed 22-May-13 13:00:27

pennylovesleonard

I agree with the above posters, I would have loved to start my family in my early twenties but wasn't with the right partner, didn't meet dh until late twenties & as soon as we could just about manage financially we had dd when I was 31.
Struggling with conceiving dc2 now at 35 & have been refered to the hospital (waiting for my appt in July )

So my question is what should I be doing to be help my chances now? (Apart from the obvious grin )
Acupuncture? Supplements? Losing weight?

I find the campaign depressing and patronising to be honest.

ZITA SAYS: This is always difficult and I do understand the pain you are going through. Without knowing your specific medical history its hard to give personal advice but there are many things you can do. Looking at you and your partner's lifestyle, making sure you understanding about your fertile window and looking at the amount of sex you are having. There may be underlying medical factors that are stopping you conceiving your second child which hopefully will be investigated with your appointment in July.

KATE SAYS: I am sorry you are having so many challenges but you are not alone. It is in response to the problems people are experiencing that the campaign was conceived. Hopefully as the campaign progresses you and others in your position will be able to benefit from the expert advice that Zita is going to share.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now