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Women Delay Childbirth Due to False Fertility Expectations
Women are delaying childbirth until later and later in life partly because they have an exaggerated belief that fertility treatments will help them get pregnant well into middle age, suggests new Canadian research.
Media accounts of older celebrity mothers and even advice from ill-informed family doctors is fuelling unrealistic expectations about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other reproductive technology, said Judith Daniluk, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia.
Women who responded to a recent survey by Prof. Daniluk suggested they expected to delay childbirth until much later than even they considered ideal, and that they believed fertility treatments were far more effective later in life than is really the case.
In fact, the efficacy of treatments for infertile women declines precipitously after the age of about 34, with the technology-aided birth rate hitting barely 1% for those age 46.
“There is an assumption that if women are in good shape, if they’re physicially fit, they can turn to IVF,” said Prof. Daniluk, who counsels fertility patients. “Most people don’t know that, No. 1, IVF is expensive ... and, No. 2, it can’t fully compensate for age-related fertility decline.”