Take a 'fertility MOT'

A LEADING fertility expert in South Yorkshire has urged women to take a 'fertility MOT' amid fears for couples delaying parenthood.

Sheffield University obstetrics and gynaecology professor Bill Ledger says prospective mothers over 30 years of age should take a special blood test that could highlight potential problems.

It comes amid suggestions that Britain is facing an infertility timebomb as careers and economic fears prompt more and more couples to put off starting a family until later in life.

Some experts have called for greater awareness and even an education programme to increase public knowledge about fertility issues.

Prof Ledger said: "Women do not realise the importance of age when it comes to fertility. They think 'it won't happen to me , I'm 37, I go to the gym twice a week, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I'm fit - everything about me is young'. Well it is, except your ovaries."

He says a test that would cost around 100 could save money in the long run, not least in the face of costly IVF treatment. Testing at 30, including the option of an ultrasound scan to look for other problems, would give doctors time to offer treatment.

Prof Ledger, who is also a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, said such a 'fertility MOT' would work as a reality check to aspiring parents seeking to delay having a baby.

The expert has also suggested the Government could do more to encourage couples to start a family in their 20s rather than 30s by taking the example of countries that offer financial and career-break incentives to would-be parents.

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