44, according to a recent survey of British women
Do you agree?
The five most cited reasons as to why women believe 44 should be the cut-off age are:
1. It is unfair on the child to have old parents
2. Increased likelihood of health complications like Down’s Syndrome for the child
3. Women aged 50-plus should not be allowed fertility assistance via vitro fertilisation (IVF)
4. Parents won’t live long enough to see the child grow up
5. It is “unnatural” to have babies after that age
The research also reveals that almost three-quarters (74%) of women believe that there isn’t enough fertility education available for women about not “leaving it too late” to start a family, or the options now available to help preserve a woman’s fertility and likewise, to assist with conception. The majority of women (75%) questioned believe that the responsibility to educate women about these time-sensitive issues lies with government health officials.
Dr Amin Gorgy, fertility consultant and IVF specialist at The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy comments:
“The ideal age for women to become pregnant is in their twenties and early thirties. A woman’s fertility potential declines rapidly after the age of 35 and drops even faster after the age of 40. Indeed, successful egg freezing through vitrification has made it possible for women to postpone conception to later in life but as a society, we should be encouraging couples to have children at a younger age, in fact, I recommend that couples should aim to complete their families by the age of 35. There isn’t enough education available to women, many of whom still believe they can go on forever.
Theoretically, through egg donation and using eggs frozen at an earlier age, women can conceive at any age, in fact, the receptivity of the womb for implanting embryos declines only after the age of 54 but usually, we take 50 as the age limit for assisted conception and only under special circumstances will we consider someone beyond the age of 50. IVF must be put into perspective if used after the age of 35 as the chances of having a live birth with an IVF cycle declines dramatically with age, for example, there is a 20% success rate at the age of 40 which falls to just 1% above the age of 45.”
Dr Alex Eskander, consultant gynaecologist at The Gynae Centre comments:
“My feeling is that women in the UK enjoy much more the liberty, freedom and opportunity to further their careers over settling down to have children, the latter of which is now a thoroughly outdated concept of the traditional family.
I find the two key points of pressure for these women to have children come from their parents’ “need” to have grandchildren and a growing understanding of their biological clock. As a clinician, let’s be clear, I am not scare-mongering, it is a fact that ovarian function declines significantly from 30 years of age and even more sharply after 35 years.
I agree that 44 is too old for women to have children. From the ovaries standpoint, the number of eggs decline and the egg quality is poor. As a result, it is difficult to conceive and the conception maybe associated with a high rate of chromosome abnormalities and increased chances of miscarriage. From the mother’s standpoint, there is a high risk of hypertension, pre-eclampsia and caesarean section.
My advice for young women who may want to delay conception for any reason beyond the age of 35 is to seriously consider egg or embryo freezing (with donor sperm) as your “insurance policy””.
The two doctors will be joining a wider panel of experts who will be hosting this debate in a women’s healthcare Question Time seminar on Sunday 22 May at the Private Pregnancy UK Show.
For more information, please visit www.privatepregnancy.co.uk