A leading doctor in the UK has urged women to start family latest in their early thirties to avoid infertility.
The chairman of the British Fertility Society, Adam Balen(pictured right) gave this warning at the Cheltenham Science Festival where he said women should try for a baby not later than their late 20s or early 30s.
Report by UK’s Daily Mail said that Professor Balen spoke out after the IVF pioneer Robert Winston claimed it is good to delay having a baby.
But Professor Balen, a consultant in reproductive medicine in Leeds, said it is the wrong message to give out.
He added that it gives women false hope and, while he did not want to start an argument with Lord Winston, it is critical that they are informed of the dangers of waiting too long.
Professor Balen said age-related declines in fertility mean older women could remain childless, but those who become pregnant have a higher risk of miscarrying or having a baby with Down’s syndrome.
Couples may think they can control their fertility with contraception, then fall pregnant as soon as they start trying, but ‘sadly it doesn’t work like that’, he added.
Even a young couple at peak fertility have only a one in five chance of conceiving in any given month.
If getting pregnant is a problem, referrals, tests and IVF treatment take time and there is no guarantee of a baby at the end, Professor Balen said. Even the best IVF clinics have only a 50 per cent success rate.
He said: ‘When women or couples come to a fertility clinic, they often express surprise that their fertility is already compromised by their mid-30s.
‘I think it’s false reassurance to suggest that you should get on with your career and then only start a family when the time feels right, because for many people the time may feel right when fertility is already low.’
He added: ‘The key thing is balance. We have to ensure that people are informed and they have all the information. And sadly, I don’t think there is enough information provided.
‘I think that ideally, if you are thinking about wanting to have a family, you should be thinking towards not delaying beyond your late 20s, early 30s.’
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