This article in the Daily Mail 'Femail', reports Kirst Allsopp's recent comments in Stylist Magazine's Life Lessons Talk, on the perils of delaying pregnancy into our late 30's and 40's. Kirsty has been getting a lot of criticism for her comments but she actually has a very important point to make. There is a conspiracy of silence around the issue of delaying motherhood and we can only help ourselves by being aware of the actual situation. She says
At the Natural Fertility Centre we regularly see couples and women who are trying to conceive in their 40's and are unaware of the difficulties involved. There is an attitude of "it's ok, we'll just have IVF later", which is not perpetuated by the IVF clinics but somehow seems to be prevalent. When the truth hits them it is incredibly painful for the older couple, often but not always accompanied by huge regrets, and also painful to observe.
This delay is often put down to the woman 'wanting to concentrate on her career'. Many if not most women, unsurprisingly, want a fulfilling career early in life but would also like to meet a partner and have children. Men also want to concentrate on their career and put off 'settling down' until they are in the their late 30's. This is not just a female issue.
There is around a 2-5% chance of IVF being successful in your 40's with an increased risk of miscarriage and chromosomal disorders. For egg donation, the success rate is much higher (around 60%) due to the young age of the eggs involved but this is a route not all couples want to go down.
The most positive thing you can do if you're in your 40's and trying to conceive is to win back some time by cutting down on stress, tobacco, alcohol and caffeine, seriously pursuing a nutrient and protein-rich diet (with a nutritionist), make sure your cycle is regular (through acupuncture) and that you are ovulating and aware of your fertile time (with fertility coaching). That way you, as a couple, are optimising your chances and conceiving naturally and can pursue IVF as a further option if you choose.