The Fertility Society of Australia (FSA) is planning an advertising campaign warning of the factors that can affect fertility, the Age newspaper reports. The society says the ads, the first of their kind in the country, will be about 'IVF doctors stopping people from having IVF'. It hopes to draw attention to the difficulties faced by older women trying to get pregnant, and to raise awareness of the effect factors such as obesity, smoking and Chlamydia infection can have on fertility.
The move follows recent debates in the UK and elsewhere on the trend for postponing motherhood, and the accompanying decline in birth rate. FSA president Adrianne Pope said that many women put off babies and then pin their hopes on IVF, even though success rates fall dramatically in women aged 40 and over. Project manager Anne Clark said that getting the message across to men was just as crucial, as 'often by the time they decide 'yes, let's have a family', they've left it really too late for the woman or it's become more difficult for her'.
The society will also ask oncologists to tell patients undergoing cancer treatment to consider freezing sperm or ovarian tissue and eggs to help preserve their fertility. And visits to schools will inform children about the importance of making decisions about their fertility. The FSA also hopes that state and federal money will fund a series of television, radio and print advertisements highlighting 'fertility fitness'.
Lyndon Hale, FSA member and chair of fertility clinic Melbourne IVF, welcomed the planned campaign, but cautioned that 'the vast majority of women still want to get themselves into a relationship and have a baby with a partner of their choice, and if they're partnering and settling down later it isn't going to change their behaviour'. Women's Electoral Lobby spokeswoman Linda Hancock said that 'women are bound by biology', and that to think about having children earlier they needed 'better jobs and childcare'.