IVF too many hope

IVF is not always a ticket to heaven (image courtesy of nattavut/Freedigitalphotos.net)

The number of women in modern Western societies who are postponing motherhood until the end of their reproductive age is increasing at amazing rate. It has been reported here that  although approximately 1 in 100 women gave birth to their first child after the age of 35 years in 1970, the number had risen to 1 in 12 by 2006.

The demand for assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as IVF and ICSI has increased accordingly. Women of all ages have begun to put their hopes in technologies as a means of becoming mothers and building up a family, to the point that IVF is seen as a key which opens all doors and solves all problems which may come underway.

However, the growing popularity of IVF gives the impression that female fertility can be recalled and manipulated at any point in life, whenever a woman finally feels to have “reached the right point”, found a “right partner”, or has a relationship which is sufficiently “stable” to have a child.

In fact – although the number of women who turn to IVF has increased more then tenfold in the last two decades, the percentage of pregnancies in the group of women over 42 years has not significantly changed: in this group, IVF will result in a healthy baby in only about 4,2%, as opposed to the success rates of over 40% for women under the age of 35.

So why so many women know that little about the limits of their own reproductive system?

Why do we so often make the choice to delay motherhood?

Why is there a lack of awareness on a matter of such an importance for woman’s life?

Or how else is it to call the fact that almost all women who pospone childbearing into late in life tend to believe that infertility happens to someone else, but they themselves expect to successfully conceive as soon as they try?

Women must be given realistic information about what it means to delay fertility and how limited is success of IVF at advanced reproductive age.

Women around the world need a real pre-conception education and there I don’t mean MY BLOG, but TV and newspaper headlines. I can’t count how many times I’ve come accross the stories of celebrities who gave birth a the age of 45 or even 50. With happy moms smiling with their twins, how are young girls supposed to understand the limitations of assisted reproductions or facts on egg quality?