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Career women face lottery of late pregnancy

Fertility clinic doctor says older women are going abroad to cut time and costs, writes Kay Lockett.

Putting career before starting a family is a choice many women in Canary Wharf may make.

But opting to postpone having a baby until later in life is becoming a serious problem among working women, according to medical care company Body Bureau.

The company’s Canary Wharf clinic helps UK couples get infertility treatment abroad, starting the process at the Baltic Medical Centre in Meridian Place.

Customers are mainly those who cannot afford to be placed on the ever-lengthening NHS waiting list, or are not eligible. Others are shocked by the huge costs of private health care in the UK and so go abroad to save money. It is currently National Infertility Awareness Week and figures show that one in six people in the UK is struggling to conceive, which equates to around 3.5 million people, with fertility declining with age, falling sharply after 35.

Dr Julija Gorodeckaja gynaecologist at the Baltic Medical Centre is concerned that women are having children late and are unaware of the associated risks.

Research from Body Bureau suggest that stillbirths are twice as common in those over 35, children are at more risk of genetic disorders and many women regret their decision to wait.

Dr Julija Gorodeckaja said: “Some women who wait end up having to go down the IVF route, many of whom are in the 30-50 years age range and often come to our Canary Wharf pre-assessment clinic for help getting pregnant with their first child. “If it comes to IVF, we start stimulation here, then for treatment we send patients abroad. Then they come back here for follow- up care.” “We work this way as it is 60 per cent cheaper to have the treatment abroad at a top private clinic and it saves time.”

“The majority of women I see are educated, self-providing women who are doing well in their careers and suddenly find themselves not being able to get pregnant when they decide they want to start a family.”

“The NHS is more likely to give IVF treatment to younger women as there is a greater chance of success.”

She said the drift towards older parenthood began with more reliable contraception.

“As soon as women were able to make choices about when they had a baby and control the amount of children they have and the timing of them, it all started to shift towards being an older parent,” she said. “Success rates of IVF treatment all over the globe are not brilliant. Only around 25 pre cent are successful and many couples face four to five rounds of treatment thus delaying starting a family even further.”


• Half of babies in the UK are now born to women aged 30 and over.

• Older mothers face more risks during pregnancy.

• There has been a 15.6 per cent rise in births to women in their 40s since 2006-07.

• Fertility falls sharply after 35.

• After pregnancy, infertility is the most common reason for women aged 20-45 to visit their GP.

• Over 60000 cycles of IVF are performed in the UK each year yet fewer than 25 per cent of these are successful. The majority of fertility treatment in the UK has to be paid for privately as NHS coverage can vary.

• In over 40 pre cent of instances of infertility, the causes are unexplained.

• Fertility declines with age and that applies to men as well as women, albeit to a lesser extent.

• Following a healthy diet and lifestyle can improve your chances of conceiving.