Nearly 20 per cent of couples spend more than a year trying for a baby, worrying new figures show. And the effect of not being able to conceive is so bad for some couples that it forces them apart - or places their relationship under great pressure. Experts have blamed women delaying motherhood and the obesity epidemic as the two most likely reasons for rising infertility.
There are now more mothers over 30 than at anytime since records began - and further research has shown being overweight can interfere with ovulation in woman and sperm quality in men. Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia - shown to affect both male and female fertility - are also on the rise.
The survey of more than 2,000 people, for ITV's This Morning, found that 18 per cent of couples spent over a year trying to get pregnant. The figure is higher than that quoted by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which states that 14 per cent suffer fertility problems.
Experts say that couples should not have any cause for alarm until a year has passed without being successful. When it came to IVF, 17 per cent of couples said they would try it once, with 35 per cent of men saying they would want their partner to try it three times. Eight per cent of those questioned had undergone IVF and later became pregnant naturally.
FERTILITY BY NUMBERS
And nearly 20 per cent of couples said the stress of not being able to conceive had placed their relationship under strain and affected their sex lives. The figures come after the health spending watchdog National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) last week upped the age limit for women to have IVF on the NHS.
Women aged 40 to 42 will qualify for state-funded fertility treatment for the first time. Previously, the watchdog did not recommend IVF on the NHS for the over-39s. Of the people surveyed for This Morning, 29 per cent thought the age limit for treatment should be 40, and 23 per cent said it should be 45.
More than a third of those questioned said they regarded having a baby as a right, but 43 per cent disagreed. Twenty eight per cent also said they believed IVF treatment is a right. The vast majority were aware of the impact lifestyle can have on fertility, especially the negative effects of drinking and smoking, yet only half were willing to change their lifestyle to conceive.
Experts are increasingly warning that many women are leaving it far too late to start a family. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics last month found that the proportion of women over 40 having children has tripled in the last 20 years, with women in this age group accounting for 30,000 births last year. It is well-known that a woman's chances of becoming pregnant decline sharply after the age of 35.
The ONS said the eclipse of the young mother has happened because growing numbers of women are putting their education and career first, while the cost of housing and child rearing is also persuading women to delay pregnancy. And for the first time it suggested that the decline of marriage and the increase in cohabitation has made it harder for women to have families. Previous research has also found that couples going through IVF are more likely to have relationship difficulties.
Women undergoing IVF are less likely to want sex or be as satisfied in their relationships, researchers from Indiana University found. Women who were going through IVF had a reduced libido and also reported feeling less satisfied in their relationships in general. These women were also less likely to orgasm and experience more discomfort during sex. The longer the IVF process continued, the worse the symptoms became.
Indeed, many people trying for a baby have no idea the negative effect it can have on their sex life, says fertility expert and midwife Zita West. ‘Rather than trying to enjoy the experience, love making becomes pressured and mechanical because it’s the ‘right’ time of the month.’ And the effects aren’t just bad for women, either. ‘Many men think they are suffering from ED and poor libido - but it’s not that, it’s just performance anxiety,’ she added
source : DAILY MAIL UK