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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.

Shakey1500 Tue 21-May-13 20:39:14

My question is to Kate...

Have you read the recent thread on the campaign?

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 21:02:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gazzalw Tue 21-May-13 21:27:50

On the basis of my own experience of parenthood, which is not too dissimilar from Kate's, I wouldn't say it's entirely driven by conscious choice to delay parenthood but by circumstance, financial and otherwise. It is true that it is often the men who are not ready for parenthood until later on in life, which can have major implications for their their partners. DW were for motherhood at thirty but none of her partners were. She had to delay motherhood until she met someone as ready for parenthood as she was - me....

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 21:37:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ColdWindsOfSuburbia Tue 21-May-13 21:41:54

Yuh yuh.

Where is KG DH in all this.

Male model of family; male model of work and the women are left to make to books balance.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 21-May-13 22:01:11

I'm going to go against the grain here and say that I do think that we need to get out the message that the longer you leave trying to conceive the harder it can be. Although there are lots of good and sound reasons to delay starting a family, the decision to do so does need to be weighed up against the risk that it might not be straightforward.

I have lost count of the number of friends and colleagues who have assumed that they can leave it until they are 35+ to start ttc, and then run into problems. In fact, this issue is the one thing that I will stick my oar in on: I do point out to them that they might not be in a rush, but their bodies may well have other ideas, and if they know they do want to start a family they should crack on with it as soon as possible.

I'm not altogether convinced by how the campaign will work, and how it intends to deliver the messages, but as a concept I'm surprised it has been greeted with so much hostility.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 21-May-13 22:02:20

Sorry, my question! What is the ideal age at which to have a child for a) women and b) men?


HesterShaw Tue 21-May-13 22:30:37

So this is being funded by First Response is it?


Jcee Tue 21-May-13 22:31:42

I'd be interested to know what this "campaign" is really seeking achieve?

Its an intensely personal decision often down to the specific circumstances of the couple and therefore not one which easily lends itself to be manipulated/encouraged - I had my first child at 38 which was just the way things worked out for a variety of reasons but not something I could have easily changed by access to fertility tip.

Similarly with nhs resources stretched to capacity its not like fertility testing and checks ups is going to be freely available to all regularly to aid a couple's decision making process.

Cynical me suggests it seems to be nothing more than a misguided and sexist PR stunt for a pregnancy test and they have certainly seem to have achieved the publicity they were seeking.

tunnocksteacake Tue 21-May-13 22:35:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hayleyh34 Tue 21-May-13 23:18:22

As someone who adopted because I couldn't conceive I find this tiresome. Surely common sense dictates that it's not the age that you become a parent that matters but the type of parent that you are?

DuelingFanjo Tue 21-May-13 23:37:34

Fab. This is for Kate Garraway.

Do you really think women welcome being lectured about their fertility by someone who has had two children very easily at an advanced age, but who simultaneously complains about her inability to have a third?

dinkystinky Wed 22-May-13 05:54:35

Given the cost of living - and the cost of childcare - in the UK most couples I know have waited until they are financially stable, with some money put aside, before having children. Its all very well telling men and women they should try to conceive earlier in life - but those I know who had children aged between 18 and 23 have really struggled financially for the first few years(and beyond) of their children's life. So my question is this - what do you really hope to achieve by this campaign?

gazzalw Wed 22-May-13 07:11:00

Sorry I did my post on the IPad and some of it doesn't make sense....[apologies to those reading it!).

SeriousStuff Wed 22-May-13 08:12:54

Same question as a number of women on here - I'm 32 and expecting my first baby. I would have loved to have had a baby before 30 but I didn't marry the 'best man for the job' until I was 31.

Whilst I agree that there are obvious health benefits to having children sooner, in the wider scheme of things, isn't it better to wait and have a child with a man you love and trust will be a good father rather than settle earlier on just for the sake of having a baby when you're younger?

helterskelter99 Wed 22-May-13 08:18:58

I think the campaign is insulting & humiliating for women. Most people wait until they are emotionally ready to cope with motherhood. For some in the right relationship this happens pre 35 for others it takes longer. If you are desperate for a child but not yet in the right relationship campaigns like this make you feel even worse
I had my child at 40 after 5 yrs of trying obviously would have lived one earlier but that's life x

mrsden Wed 22-May-13 08:22:20

Is there any evidence that women aren't aware that fertility declines with age? I find the tone of the campaign very patronizing. Many women are simply not in the position to start a family until their thirties. I also find it patronizing to have someone who has two children conceived in their thirties fronting the campaign. I certainly wouldn't take fertility advice from someone who smoked while pregnant. What effect does smoking have on fertility and egg quality?

HandbagCrab Wed 22-May-13 08:29:36

Why is the campaign aimed solely at some kind of stereotypical woman (on 'femail' pages of dm, getbritainfertile roadshow is pink)?

If Kate and Zita think this is soooo important they are willing to patronise and belittle 50% of the adults in this country with their message, why have they waited to align their views with a pregnancy test manufacturer?

Two questions, sorry, but along the same vein smile

eehbahmum Wed 22-May-13 08:47:15

If the aim of the campaign is genuinely to get women thinking about fertility earlier in life is Kate the right person to be fronting this?

Why not present a positive story from a woman who has had children earlier and has a great life?

The idea behind the campaign is a good one but yet again it is presenting a negative picture of women.

Gigondas Wed 22-May-13 08:49:51

Have they seen this thread which highlights a lot of points made earlier

I am astonished that Zita west (who I had a lot of time for) is involved in this.

Ime and as post after post shows, delayed motherhood is not because people are ignorant of implications biologically or as a lifestyle choice.

First response also scoring a massive pr own goal by association by this.

This is probably the most ill received web chat since Scheherazade goldsmith (which got cancelled as no one wanted to be lectured by her).

enormouse Wed 22-May-13 08:58:16

How have KG's employers i.e. daybreak and its viewers reacted to her fronting this campaign, considering that the viewing demographic for it is largely female and mothers?

I also had enormous respect for Zita West as a medical practitioner and thought highly of the advice she gave in mother and baby. I cannot believe she's allowed herself to be associated with this particular campaign.

Willemdefoeismine Wed 22-May-13 09:07:36

I think this campaign is somewhat disingenuous.....

As someone who falls into the Kate camp in terms of child-bearing, I understand where she's coming from. Whilst I became pregnant very quickly with DC1, with DC2 (who came along five years later) I had problems conceiving (which I'm sure were age related) although we waited, didn't seek intervention and happily along she came.

However, I would say that all thro' my late 20s and early 30s I was aware that "the clock was ticking", as were many of my close friends. I would also point out though, that at this stage of my life I didn't have the fortune to meet any men who were ready, willing or able to settle down and have children with me. The great love affair of my life at the time was with someone who was fantastic and could have been my soul mate but he was some years younger than me and wasn't ready to have children. Would that things had been different but they weren't. I had quite a few more years of kissing frogs before I found my prince who is the father of my DCs! Sadly some of my friends haven't been so lucky and they find themselves past the point of child-bearing.

I guess what I'm saying is that for me personally (and indeed for many women I know), delaying having children wasn't so much a lifestyle choice as a case of not finding the right man to fall in love and have children! It's not even necessarily about consciously delaying child-bearing to pursue the hight-powered career. I think that for those of us who have been educated to a high level and moved away from home, we were pursuing our own lives and interests rather than focusing on long-term relationships and children.

Perhaps this is just another example to disprove the theory that women can have it all.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-May-13 09:34:24


So this is being funded by First Response is it?


Morning. Yes, the campaign is sponsored by First Response, we believe.

But this thread is not.

Crumblemum Wed 22-May-13 09:35:21


My mum went through the menopause at a very early age, and this was one factor behind my decision to have kids at a younger (well 29) age (although the bigger factors were feeling ready and meeting the right man to have kids with). Anyhow, was I right? Is an early menopause hereditary? Are there any other conditions to think about when deciding the right age?

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