IVF cannot compensate for delays in having children

26th July 2011 in Advice

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

Women need to be told about the risks they face in putting off having children, according to a recent article in academic journal The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.

The published paper warned about the risks women face in delaying having children, urging that ‘increasing public awareness of reproductive ageing must be the priority’.

There’s no doubt that childbearing ages are becoming older as women put off having children due to lifestyle or work, but as the article confirmed, the results of these choices are that more women are suffering from age-related infertility, and higher-risk pregnancies and complications when they do conceive through assisted conception such as IVF.

What’s important to remember is that although IVF does help many older women become mothers, it is not  a fail-safe guarantee. IVF and other techniques are more successful in younger women than older women – and so you should never assume that infertility treatment will allow you to have children whenever you wish.

If you’re not ready for children, but do want to have a family in the future, you can find out how fertile you are through our new Mini Fertility MOT. It’s a series of simple tests, including ovarian reserve tests, which will give you an idea of how long you can delay having a family and if you have any problems which could mean you will need infertility treatment in future.

As unfortunately, many women only find out they have fertility problems once they start trying to conceive.

You can also decide to freeze your eggs now, so you can use them in future to have children as and when you’re ready. We’re seeing more women taking this option as it allows them to continue their careers without worrying about their fertility declining. Pregnancy from frozen eggs depends on a number of factors, including patient age at the time of freezing, how many eggs are retrieved, how many survive the freeze-thaw process and the quality of the eggs.

However, as the paper rightly states, if you do wait until you’re older to have children, whether through natural conception or IVF, you will still face increased health risks for both yourself and your child. So it’s important to carefully consider this when making any decisions about when to start a family.

Last updated: 25th July 2011