Life Begins at 40

The Guardian today has a very well written and considered article on the perceptions around fertility and IVF.

Following comments by Consultant Gynaecologist Professor Geeta Nargund, a storm has once again arisen around women being advised to have children earlier and not to delay.

What the author of the Guardian article is arguing, is that there shouldn't be such an outrage whenever anyone points out a simple (but uncomfortable) biological fact. It's time we, and the media, realised and acknowledged that science and medicine cannot overcome every problem.  Our bodies - men's as well as women's - are designed to procreate and conceive most successfully under the age of 30.  We cannot force evolution to change its pathway, even over a few lifetimes, so the couples conceiving and carrying a healthy baby to term in their 40's are always going to be the exception rather than the rule.  We need to recognise that IVF still has a low chance of success and treatments like egg freezing are still in their early stages and also have a low success rate.

Years ago, I started writing a book around fertility for couples in their 40's.  It turned into a bit of a rant about society and how we are failing to support couples, generally, but women specifically, to have children when their bodies are most suited to that task.  Men need to be encouraged to reach maturity earlier.  Greater support is needed for women choosing to be single parents.  Girls and boys need to be taught, at school, that fertility is finite.

If nature was allowed to do what it does best then we would all have our children in our 20's with youth and vigour on our side.  By 40 couples would be free again of the demands of childcare and could look forward to a healthy and hopefully carefree, life ahead.