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Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

Delay Parenthood? Better Think Again

Survey Shows Many People Overestimate Odds of Getting Pregnant After 40
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Misunderstanding Fertility Treatments

Just over half of the men surveyed hoped to have their first child after age 30 and before age 35. Nearly half wanted to have their last child between age 35 and 39, and one out of five hoped to have their last child between ages 40 and 44.

The study appears in the latest online edition of the journal Human Reproduction.

"This is not just a woman's issue," Lampic says. "This is a couple's issue."

She adds that couples often wrongly believe that infertility treatments can reliably prolong a woman's fertility. This thinking may be less pervasive in the U.S. than in Sweden, where the government pays for the treatment.

"There is the feeling that if we can't have babies the normal way, we can rely on in vitro fertilization," she says. "But they are not aware that the chances of success with IVF also decline with age."

Julie Greenstein, who is director of government relations for the infertility support group RESOLVE, says women who have had a child before age 35 may not recognize the risks associated with waiting to have other children.

"If they had an easy time getting pregnant with a first child, they may wait longer than they should to seek treatment if they are having problems," she says. "The thinking may be, 'I can't have a problem with fertility because I already have a child.'"

Greenstein says women under 35 who have tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant for a year should see an infertility specialist. Women over 35 should wait no longer than six months.

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