Women can't 'botox their ovaries' and the best time to give birth is 25, warns fertility expert

It has been suggested women are delaying having children as the financial crash has resulted in insecure job prospects, cramped accommodation and mounting student debt for many women throughout their twenties

Siobhan Fenton
Wednesday 15 June 2016 11:23 BST
(Vasileios Economou/iStock)

Women should begin planning to become pregnant soon after they graduate from university, a fertility expert has warned.

Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director at the Midland Fertility Clinic, has suggested the optimum age to become pregnant is 25-years-old when fertility levels are at their peak and risk of miscarriage and genetic conditions are at their lowest. She suggested that while women may feel they can stave off the ageing process’ effects on their external appearance, she warns women "you can’t botox your ovaries".

She made the controversial comments while speaking at Cheltenham Science Festival, The Daily Record reports.

She said: “Age 25 is exactly the time when today's young women have left university, are trying to get off on a good career, trying to pay back their student loans, trying to find someone who wants to have babies with them and trying to get on the housing ladder.

”But the bleak reality is that the chance of IVF working with your own eggs once you are 40 is absolutely abysmal and in what other branch of medicine would we let, yet alone encourage, patients to pay for an elective operation with a less than 5% chance of working?”

Dr Lockwood added that freezing eggs could lead to a worrying social dynamic caused by a growing generational gap: ““The suggestion was made that since every proud father is looking forward to being an even prouder grandfather one day, perhaps the perfect graduation present for a 21-year-old daughter would be for her dad, instead of buying her a second hand car, actually did an egg freezing cycle for her because the current evidence is that if you have 15 nice mature young eggs you have got at least a 95% chance of having at least one baby and that is better than any other branch of IVF.

”But I think there are quite worrying social consequences of allowing the generation gap to spread from 25 years to 40 years which egg freezing would encourage. One of the most poignant aspects of the spreading generations is that we might lose this wonderful relationship between grandparents and grandchildren.

“If you have got an 80-year gap between their grandparents and their grandchildren it is very difficult for them to have that rich and rewarding relationship that we all grew up with.

”We could end up with this zimmer frame-cum-pram-cum-shopping trolley for the elderly woman who decided that aged 55 was a really good time to have that baby she always wanted and unfortunately she has got some nice eggs that she had frozen at 25. Is this really where we want to go?“

She suggested that while women may not feel or appear ‘old’, their reproductive systems are constantly changing with time. She said: “”The problem we have here is that women on the outside are shiny, young and youthful and on the inside their ovaries know exactly what it says on their birth certificate. As I always tell my patients - you cannot Botox your ovaries.”

In February of this year, a report into births at NHS hospitals in the UK, found the number of babies being born is at the lowest level for a decade. It found the most common age group for mothers giving birth was aged 30-34. Experts have suggested this is in part linked to increasing financial pressures on younger people caused by the financial crash, which mean many spend their twenties paying off student loans, working in temporary and insecure job contracts or living in cramped accommodation unsuitable for children.

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