Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Are Kirstie's Baby Theories Ill-Conceived? Does Fertility Really "Fall off a Cliff at 35" as Kirstie Allsopp Has Claimed, or Is That Inconceivable? NEL STAVELEY Speaks to the Experts

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Are Kirstie's Baby Theories Ill-Conceived? Does Fertility Really "Fall off a Cliff at 35" as Kirstie Allsopp Has Claimed, or Is That Inconceivable? NEL STAVELEY Speaks to the Experts

Article excerpt

Byline: NEL STAVELEY

KIRSTIE Allsopp has been all over the media recently - and it's had nothing to do with buying houses or filling them with crafts and vintage finds.

It's all been surrounding the comments she made about fertility.

The TV presenter (basically) thinks that all women should have babies by the time they're 27. Scrap university, scrap a career; you need to pop out children as soon as you can, then worry about the rest later.

Her reasons for this rest on the 'fact' that "fertility falls off a cliff when you're 35", and going to university means wasting valuable years on what's clearly a very unforgiving timetable.

"At the moment, women have 15 years to go to university, get their career on track, try and buy a home and have a baby," Kirstie - herself a mother-of-two with two stepchildren (all boys) - told a national newspaper. "That is a hell of a lot to ask someone."

Her comments have caused uproar, begging the question why a self-proclaimed "passionate feminist" appears to advocate a huge step back in hard-fought-for women's rights.

But let's not be sidetracked by whether her views are pro or anti women's progress - that's a whole other issue. Let's focus on her panic-inducing 'falling-off-a-cliff' comment.

Is it true? Is every female older than 35 doomed never to have a child? We ask some experts about this, and some other commonly-held beliefs on fertility...

FERTILITY FALLS AFTER 35 IT turns out that Kirstie has a point; when it comes to making babies, age is more than just a number.

"Women are born with a certain number of eggs and thus with every period, eggs are 'used' up. Those born with fewer eggs are more likely to have difficulties conceiving post-35," says Helen Ford, a nutritionist for fertility expert Dr. Marilyn Glenville (marilynglenville.com/clinic).

"The other issue is quality which declines with age, particularly with regard to the egg shell (zona pellucida) which hardens and makes it harder for the sperm to fertilise."

Jane Knight, a fertility nurse specialist (at zitawest.com and fertilityuk.org) agrees: "Undoubtedly, the best time to have a baby from a biological perspective is between 20-35 years."

IF YOU MISS YOUR NATURAL FERTILITY WINDOW, YOU CAN JUST HAVE IVF NOT necessarily, says Jane - and not only because of the endless waiting lists or prohibitive costs of private care.

"Assisted fertility cannot compensate for lost years of fertility and IVF success rates in older women are extremely low.

It is the decline in egg quality which affects the outcome of IVF, not the age of the uterus, and egg donation remains the only option for many older women."

BAD DIET LOWERS FERTILITY IT'S not hard to work out the answer to this one - bad diet affects all aspects of health, so inevitably, it affects conceiving too. …

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