health

"Women over 40 should stop clogging up IVF clinics"

A new survey has sparked debate on the use of IVF over the age of 40. This writer argues that leaving parenthood “too late” is not a fertility issue. Where do you stand?

I was lucky enough to conceive my two boys naturally. However a loved one struggled to fall pregnant due to a medical condition and it took fertility treatments to make her dreams of motherhood come to life.

It wasn’t easy. It almost ruined her marriage. The stress and in particular the cost were huge issues in her relationship. That’s why it makes me so angry when women over 40 have the same access to IVF as younger women do. Younger women are using IVF for medical reasons, not because they’ve left motherhood too late.

The UK study about age and IVF coincided with a much-hyped TLC reality show about actress Tina Malone, who had travelled to Cyprus for IVF treatment and had a baby at 50.

I know this sounds harsh, but I'm not alone in my views. A recent survey in the UK found that 75 per cent of people believe IVF shouldn't be offered to women over 40. This poll didn't just single out women. Men over 43 should also be restricted, according to participants in the poll. I love the idea of restricting men. That will make it harder for them to re-partner with much younger women and have new families.

IVF in the UK can be funded through the National Health Service if women are under 42. Women in the UK would prefer for the age to be reduced to 40 so younger women can receive more financial assistance than women who have just been too busy to have babies.

Currently, a portion of IVF is covered by Medicare in Australia but as treatment becomes more intensive, the out-of-pocket expenses can become prohibitive. If the service was only offered to younger women, there would be more money to subsidise their treatments. Women with real fertility issues are the ones we should focus on helping. Wanting to establish your career before motherhood is not a fertility issue. It's a life choice. Women who make that choice should have to live with it.

We're not all meant to be mothers. If women and men miss the boat, so be it. I, like most Australians, was horrified when it was reported that Lisa Curry was considering IVF treatment at the age of 51 just because she had a much younger boyfriend? Why? Wanting to please a new partner is not a real fertility issue.

I also find it offensive that women are led to believe their lives are incomplete without children. Women over 40 without children have so many opportunities to make their lives just as fabulous. If they've been happy enough without children for the first 40 years, what makes them think they'll suddenly be happy with them after 40?

Also, why have older mothers become so socially acceptable? There's a reason our fertility wanes after 40 and that's because we're not meant to have children at that age. Think about it. Being an older mother is a burden on children. When they are 10, we'll be 5o and so on. Women over 40 have more health issues and less energy. It's not fair on the kids.

IVF was always meant to be for real fertility issues. Waiting too long to have children is not a real fertility issue.

Do you think women over 40 should have the same access to IVF as younger women?

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