What are the health implications of the trend to late motherhood on mother and child?

Professor Adam Balen, Chair of the British Fertility Society (BFS) recently gave his response to two questions:

What are the implications of the trend to late motherhood on mother and child?  

“The age at which women are having babies has increased over the past few decades due a range of social, professional and financial factors. Unfortunately, female fertility starts to gradually decline from the late 20s and more rapidly from the mid-30s onwards.


“As women get older, there is also an increased risk of pregnancy complications including miscarriage, stillbirth, high blood pressure, a more complicated labour, a premature birth and a low birth weight. These complications may result in the need for medical interventions at the birth.


“As healthcare professionals, our role is to advise both men and women about the implications that maternal age can have on fertility, pregnancy and birth, to enable couples to make informed decisions about when to plan a family.”


When should couples go down the fertility treatment route? Do many seek treatment before giving Mother Nature a chance?

“According to NICE guidelines on fertility, women aged under 40 should be offered three cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS if they’ve been trying to get pregnant through regular unprotected sex for two years.”