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NHS chief warns women not to wait until 30 to have baby as country faces a fertility timebomb

(77 Posts)
Childrenofthestones Sun 31-May-15 14:35:56

NHS chief warns women not to wait until 30 to have baby as country faces a fertility timebomb

^One of Britain’s top NHS fertility specialists last night issued a stark warning to women: Start trying for a baby before you’re 30 – or risk never having children.

In a strongly worded letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, consultant gynaecologist Professor Geeta Nargund has also demanded that teenagers are taught about the dangers of delaying parenthood, because of the spiralling cost to the taxpayer of IVF for women in their late 30s and 40s.^

Professor Nargund cites the agony of a growing number of women left childless as a key reason why fertility lessons must be included in the national curriculum.

Good advice or not?
I remember reading how chances of conceiving can drop off a cliff for some as 40 approaches but then a lot of people aren't in a position to have children in their mid to late 20s.

ethelb Sun 31-May-15 14:40:12

Why aren't they telling men to have children with their female partners who are under 30?

Childrenofthestones Sun 31-May-15 14:59:08

Well first it isn't a they, it is a she, Professor Geeta Nargund and while I think I see your point, my guess is its because -
1 women have the the final say about when they have children and
2 some women choose to have children without a man around.

ethelb Sun 31-May-15 15:02:10

1 women have the the final say about when they have children

Yes, the relationships board is full of women with partners just begging them to have children before they are thirty.

Lorelei353 Sun 31-May-15 15:05:00

The pressures put on women in these kind of articles drives me mad. I didn't meet do until I was 30. I did end a 4 year relationship at age 27 with someone who doesn't want to commit. It's not just women making these decisions.

thatstoast Sun 31-May-15 15:10:12

What do you think, OP? Good idea or not? Do you have children? How old are you? How old is the father, or mother? Do you wish you'd waited or had them earlier?

There's a lot of factors at play here. I had a child at 32. If someone had said to me at say, 25, it's now or never I probably would've picked never. My husband is 2 years younger than me. Not sure how he would've felt about being a dad at 23.

IrenetheQuaint Sun 31-May-15 15:10:31

I really can't bear these ludicrous articles.

PoppyBlossom Sun 31-May-15 15:17:54

I suppose it opens a wider discussion on if fertility treatment should be funded through the nhs or not.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 15:21:39

It is a legitimate debate. And ivf funding on the nhs in constrained tomes, ditto. Especially as ivf failure rates are so high! Think more a societal issue, ideally, yes, late 20s-early 30s. Any later is on average statistically much less likely and higher risk.

thehumanjam Sun 31-May-15 15:22:19

I knew that leaving children until later meant that I was risking my fertility but it was a risk that I was prepared to take.

Most people who I know who have had infertility problems have had problems that have not been related to their age. Their issues have been due to an underlying gynae condition that would have caused problems at whatever age they decided to ttc.

StonedGalah Sun 31-May-15 15:25:57

I agree. We are 'growing up' slower but nature hasnt adjusted our reproductive organs to reflect this. I know a few couples late 30s who are struggling with fertility. I am pregnant with dd2 and will turn 38 soon but suffered 2 mc and am just very glad this pregnancy stuck.

It sucks if you don't find your dp to late in life, but couples are actively putting off dc until later for lots of reasons which faced with infertility may not seem that important.

NotPennysBoat Sun 31-May-15 15:28:24

This makes my blood boil! So if you're in your mid/late 20's and haven't found the right man yet, what exactly are you supposed to do?!? How is this good 'advice'??

(And I am a mum of 2 in my mid 30's)

Mide7 Sun 31-May-15 15:29:18

Is this a Feminist issue?
If you choose to have children, have them at whatever age you want but if you leave it later you may struggle or face some issues because your biology is working against you.

BitterChocolate Sun 31-May-15 15:30:00

I think the advice is valid, but the tone is a bit off. If she is saying that women should have children young for their own benefit, so that they don't have to go through IVF or suffer wanting children but being unable to conceive, then it's just advice. Like brushing your teeth to prevent future cavities, or going to smear tests. On the other hand if she is implying that women have a duty to their country to have their children young, and are a burden on society if they choose to wait and try later in life, then that's shaming and nasty. Plus it's inviting others to be judgmental about older women with fertility problems.

shaska Sun 31-May-15 15:30:32

I don't know about you guys but I am more than aware, thanks to the endless publicity of it, that my fertility is decreasing now that I'm over 30. I am also aware that many many women have babies after 30 with no problems and frankly I'm happy to take my chances should I want a child. Pretty sure most women have a similar train of thought so yeah not really sure more publicity is needed.

NHS funding for IVF is another thing and tbh I don't know much about it. Can anyone get it? Personally I guess I do have some reservations about being able to access an expensive medical treatment for free simply because you left it a bit late, but then I'd also presume most of the women who are looking for IVF have been trying to get pregnant for quite some time- and I'm not sure how we'd judge who's 'worthy'.

My moral horse side says we don't really need more people and I'm not sure everyone has a 'right' to procreate no matter how much they want to- but that's very easy for someone who doesn't really care about having kids to say, and if I did really want a child and couldn't get help but could see those wealthier than me trotting off to the clinic I think I'd feel pretty shit about that.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 15:32:32

Yep, my sis did this, met her dh in early 20s and moved in, v well-off financially and sorted careers and yet they waited till v late 30s to try as "not ready yet" - who the hell is-- hmm
Were gutted when it didnt work which is such a ahame but they were so bloody unrealistic! I do feel for those who meet a dp much later in life and -short of going it alone earlier- have lttle choice other than to try later anyway.

eurochick Sun 31-May-15 15:34:06

It is a legitimate debate but it needs to be directed at men as well as women. I wasn't ready under 30 but started to feel broody at 30/31. But then my husband wasn't ready. I waited for him and we started ttc just before I turned 35. It took 3 years and 4 rounds of IVF (at prof nargund's private clinic) to have a successful pregnancy. Who knows if it would have been any different if we had started on my timetable, but we would definitely have had more time. 2013 was my year of hell - IVF in jan, MC in March, IVF in June, August and December (successful pregnancy). I put myself and my body through that because I was 37 and felt that I was running out of time.

museumum Sun 31-May-15 15:38:24

I would rather have not had my ds (at 36) with me dh whom I met at 29 than had a child with any of my 20s boyfriends.
Not that they were bad men. Two are still lifelong friends but we weren't right together and if we'd had a child would likely now be divorced. Also we now live 450miles apart - each where we are for very good reasons. God knows how shared custody would work.

So yes, I may have been "heartbroken" by not conceiving ds at 36 but tbh I don't think it would have been good for a child to be brought up by my 20s self and boyfriend in a separated situation with two homes and shared custody.

defineme Sun 31-May-15 15:40:13

The NHS diagnosed my infertility when I was 26 (because I had gynae pronlems that needed operating on)and I then opted for private ivf treatment because i didn't want to wait and had my doubts about whether it should be funded by the nhs. I was very lucky because my 2 ivf cycles resulted in 3 children by the age of 30. It's all luck though isn't it? I knew i wanted to have kids, i knew there was something seriously wrong with me when the first gp fobbed me off and kept persisting, i married a man that wanted kids, we earned enough to fund it privately. chances could have lessened by the time i got a cycle on the nhs.
I think it's an issue for men and women to be aware of, but i don't see that there's that many people not having kids for one simple reason. It's far more complex and any number of factors can mean it's absolutely impossible to have them. I also think economic factors are more significant than cultural at the moment...housing, education, jobs etc.

Elledouble Sun 31-May-15 15:43:16

Yeh, fancy waiting til you're with a stable partner and can afford it. Sigh. Especially when women who don't and might then need state support are so well respected. Can't win.

TreeBird16 Sun 31-May-15 15:46:40

It is ridiculous for women to take an emotive view of this. It is a fact fertility declines greatly after 35. If you do not start your family till over 30 (regardless of the reason) there is a higher likelihood of infertility and associated issues. It's not a feminist issue, it's a biological one. I agree whole heartedly with the doctor.

Of course women delay having kids for lots of reasons but knowledge is power. If you know you make an informed decision.

A close friend of mine worked on the fertility field and said she was always so shocked how naive people were about the likelihood of ivf succeeding. The stats for over 40s are very poor and some of the big clinics only preform ivf on low risk couples.

StonedGalah Sun 31-May-15 15:47:01

museum it's very easy to say that, with a ds.

A colleague in her late 30s was struggling so much she had floated the idea of having a random one night stand (it was her dh with the issues). She loves her dh and is normally a very level headed person. To hear her contemplate this was quite sad, she was desperate.

slug Sun 31-May-15 15:47:59

NHS Chief warns businesses not to discriminate against women as country faces a fertility time bomb.

There, fixed it for them.

susannahmoodie Sun 31-May-15 15:56:13

I'm a teacher, and in a recent meeting where I received feedback for an unsuccessful interview which I had whilst on ML, my boss (yes, HT of a mixed school) told me that the best time to have a family was before 25 or after 35, and as I had done so at 27 and 29, I "fallen between two stools" and therefore put myself in an awkward situation in terms of career progression. yes he actually said it and yes I know it is illegal hmm. The point is that if attitudes like these are prevalent amongst employers, no wonder women delay having kids. He did reveal himself as extraordinarily ignorant as most under 25s are not in a position financially to have kids. I just hope no one actually listens to his advice and then finds themselves at 35 unable to have kids because they have left it too late.

Longtalljosie Sun 31-May-15 15:56:40

I think a bit of this aimed at men would go a long way. Listening to some of DH's unmarried friends, whose girlfriends are trying to get them to focus on the matter, is v depressing. They see one article about a celeb having a baby at 46 (no mention of how much that is bound to have cost, ivf etc) and assume there's nothing to worry about. And in the same breath say they want 3 children. When they get around to it in their mid-40s hmm*

* clearly if you personally have had children in your mid-40s for whatever reason that's fantastic obviously!

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