Posted on September 5, 2012

Half of Women Delay Starting a Family Because They Don’t Want to Give Up Their Freedom

Sophie Borland, Daily Mail (London), September 5, 2012

Almost half of young women are delaying starting a family because they don’t want to give up their freedom, a new survey has revealed.

Many are putting off having children because they would rather have more money, be able to focus on their careers and enjoy spending more time with their partners.

The 2012 Modern Motherhood Report for Red magazine survey found 22 per cent had disagreed with their husbands or partners about when to have a baby.

The poll of 3,000 women aged 28 to 45 also revealed that just over a third – 36 per cent – were not yet sure if they ever wanted to start a family.

More than half of women thought not being able to have babies because they haven’t met Mr Right is as bad as being infertile, according to a survey.

And one in five even say they would consider trying to conceive without a husband or partner by using donor sperm.

Another fifth have thought seriously about freezing their eggs so they could have children later on.

Crucially 54 per cent said that being ‘emotionally infertile’ – not being able to have children because they didn’t have a partner – was as painful as being medically infertile.

This included one in six – 15 per cent – who had split up as a result.

Brigid Moss, health director at Red, said: ‘We have identified what we call emotional infertility, that is being childless not by choice, due to not having a partner or a partner not wanting to have children.

‘We all know someone in this position. A doctor can’t help with emotional infertility.

‘It’s become more acceptable to talk about medical infertility with your friends and family, so women can now be more open about that. But it must be very hard to confess that you’re desperate for a baby, but haven’t met anyone.

‘Every few months, there’s another warning from the medical profession that the best time to conceive is under 35. But this report has shown that often, at the right biological time, women are simply not in the right place emotionally or financially to start trying.’

One woman who took part in the survey said she decided to find a sperm donor after her 40th birthday.

Nicola, who did not wish to give her full name, used a website which specially matches women with donors, and became pregnant a few months later.

One in ten women who took part in the survey had IVF and on average they paid just over £7,200 for treatment.

Of those who had fertility treatment, more than three quarters – 77 per cent – paid for it privately.

Only last week a separate report found one in three women were being refused IVF on the NHS, even though they were entitled to treatment.

The National Infertility Awareness Campaign found that Primary Care Trusts were routinely denying women treatment, against guidelines from the health watchdog NICE.

Couples are meant to be offered three rounds or ‘cycles’ of IVF as long as they are aged between 23 and 39 and have been trying naturally for three years.

But many PCTs are ignoring these guidelines and replacing them with their own, far stricter policies to try to save money.

* Red’s survey was carried out for the Red Modern Motherhood Report, which appears in the October issue.