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Doctors are warning couples not to leave it too late to try for a baby.
More women now are pursuing careers than ever before and along with their partners aren't thinking about becoming parents until at least their late thirties.
However, according to a new study by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 35 year old women are six times more likely to have problems conceiving compared to when they were 25. Up to 30% of 35 year olds take longer than a year to get pregnant, compared to only 5% of 25 yeaolds.
By the time a woman is 40, she is more likely to have a miscarriage than give birth. And contrary to popular belief, a man's fertility also goes steeply downhill after the age of 25 and the doctors estimate that the average man of 40 takes two years to get his partner pregnant - even if she is in her twenties.
Doctors say that women need reminding that 'the most secure age for childbearing remains 20 to 35'. The average childbearing age has risen from 23 in 1968 to 29.3 today. They also say that IVF has given women a 'false sense of security'and fertility treatment only has a 3% success rate for women over the age of 44.
Expectant women in their late thirties and forties are much more likely to suffer complications like ectopic pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, miscarriage or stillbirth and they are also more likely to need a Caesarean. Babies born to these older women are also more likely to be premature, smaller or have Down's Syndrome and other genetic disorders.
Researchers believe that charts showing the decline of fertility with age should be put up in doctors' surgeries and that the risks of trying to conceive late should be taught at school alongside lessons on safe sex. Gedis Grudzinskas, a consultant in infertility and gynaecology, said: 'Women achieve career satisfaction and decide they want to start a family but by this time it is too late and they can't turn the clock back'