recent survey of women aged 35 to 45 years old revealed that 60 percent of
respondents admitted to feeling stigmatised for not having children.
Infertility Network UK, in conjunction with Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, Merck Serono, surveyed 500 women in August and September 2013. Participants of
the survey did not have children but indicated they would like to conceive at
identified their own family and friends as being the leading sources of
pressure on women to have children. A third of respondents also reported
feeling embarrassed about discussing fertility issues, and a majority said they
felt uncomfortable discussing fertility issues with family and friends.
Lewis-Jones, chief executive of Infertility Network UK, said 'feelings of
embarrassment and being judged are ultimately preventing some women seeking the
help they need for their fertility problems'.
survey found that some women wait up to two years before seeing a GP about
infertility and 19 percent of respondents aged 40 to 45 years old are 'still avoiding
seeking fertility advice'. A press release issued by Merck Serono, on which
these figures are based, notes that the biggest decrease in fertility begins in
women in their mid-thirties. Women
who defer childbearing until older age also face several risks (reported in
February 2013 NICE updated its fertility guideline to reduce the time eligible
couples must attempt to conceive naturally before a clinical fertility
assessment from two years to one. The updated guideline also extends the upper
age limit from 40 to 42 years old.
Tim Child, medical director at the Oxford Fertility Unit, stated that couples should discuss their fertility with a healthcare
professional earlier rather than later.
should also be aware of the choice they make when they delay trying to conceive
and the impact this can have on the chances of natural conception, as well as
the treatment they are entitled to under the NHS', he said.
survey also showed women are also often having to waiting longer than the 18 weeks in which the NHS says patients are entitled to start receiving treatment from the date of referral.