These days women are waiting longer than ever to start a family. As reported by NPR, a new study funded by the bio-pharmaceutical company EMD Serono, shows that today’s women plan to be pregnant seven years later on average than their mothers were with their first child. However, the decision to put off baby-making until their 30s or 40s may come at a higher price than women are aware of.
While many do understand that their fertility declines as they age, most underestimate by how much. When questioned, a majority of women believed the chance of conception on the first try in their 30s was around 80%. The reality? Less than 30%. When asked the same question about becoming pregnant in their 40s, women believed they had a 40% chance, while statistics show that women in this age bracket actually have less than a 10% chance of becoming pregnant on the first go around.
The study also shows that women underestimate the length of time it may take to become pregnant while overestimating the success of fertility treatments.
Is it any wonder that women have a skewed perception of the ease of becoming pregnant at what is, like it or not, classified as “advanced maternal age?” The growing trend of 40-something celebrity moms, many of which do not admit to requiring fertility treatments, add to the illusion that time’s toll on our ability to conceive is not that significant.
Couple that to the rise of women in the workplace and the reduced societal pressure on young women to marry and settle down at an early age and you have an entire generation approaching a fertility crisis they may not see coming. It begs the question, should we be educating our daughters on the risk they take in delaying the start of their family or would doing so be perceived as an attack on the independence women have fought for and gained in recent decades?
Perhaps the message that putting off motherhood to climb the corporate ladder may forfeit your chance of conception is one that some women just don’t want to hear.
Photo credit: Flickr