More than 60 per cent of women aged 35 to 45 who do not have children but want them feel judged for ‘leaving it too late’, a poll has found.
The survey of 500 women who wanted children – including those undergoing treatment or still looking for the right partner – revealed friends and family are the ones who put the most pressure on, with 40 per cent saying they were too embarrassed to talk about fertility, even to those closest to them.
Of those women who had already undergone fertility treatment, almost half waited four months or longer before a clinical assessment and nearly a third waited more than a year before receiving any treatment.
The research was carried out by Infertility Network UK, with funding from pharmaceutical company Merck Serono, to tie in with National Infertility Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday and aims to highlight the impact infertility has on people’s lives, explain what options are out there for people struggling to conceive, and get more people talking about the subject.
Clare Lewis-Jones, chief executive of the support organisation, said: “We need to promote a more open discussion about fertility.
“Feelings of embarrassment and being judged are ultimately preventing some women seeking the help they need for their fertility problems.”
The News spoke to a 40-year-old Cambridge woman who is currently trying for a child and has had fertility tests, but wished to remain anonymous.
She said: “I am very lucky that I have family members who work in the medical profession and I can speak openly about this subject but I know it is not easy.
“There is a perception in society, and I think the media has a lot to do with this, that if you are not married and with a child by a certain age then you are some sort of spinster.
“Women are judged, particularly by men and there is pressure. While science has developed in the form of fertility treatments, there is still some way to go for attitudes to catch up, so no wonder it can be scary asking your doctor about it.
“I think it would help if there were more ways to approach experts anonymously to begin with as one of the most important things is knowing your options.”
Cambridgeshire’s Bourn Hall was where IVF pioneers gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe and reproductive biologist Robert Edwards founded a clinic and first developed the techniques and drugs now used worldwide to successfully fertilise a human egg outside the body and transfer the resulting embryo to the womb.
IVF is just one of a number of fertility treatments now available, and Bourn Hall is the largest provider of NHS funded IVF treatment for patients in the East of England.
A spokesman for the clinic, which is also backing the first ever Infertility Awareness Week, said: “We recommend if you are concerned about your fertility you speak to your GP who, if appropriate, will then refer you to a consultant at your local hospital.
“We work closely with hospitals across the region to offer continuity of care. If you are referred for IVF treatment, you can normally get an appointment with Bourn Hall within a few weeks.”
Various activities are set to run during the week, both online and off, and are open to all.
Amateur chefs are invited to take part in the ‘Great Cake Bake’ by holding their own cake bake – email email@example.com and the team will send a ‘Great Cake Bake’ pack with poster and sheet of rice paper cake toppers to help decorate your cakes.
Article: 28th October 2013 www.cambridge-news.co.uk
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