Motherhood is usually delayed by working women without realising its adverse consequences, instead leaning on reproductive technologies to restore their childbearing capacity, reports study.
"There is an alarming misconception about fertility among women," said Pasquale Patrizio, professor of obstetrics & gynaecology at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Yale Fertility Centre.
Advertisement"We also found a lack of knowledge about steps women can take early in their reproductive years to preserve the possibility of conception later in life," added Patrizio.
The report stemmed from the observations Patrizio and colleagues made that more women are coming to the fertility clinic at age 43 or older expecting that pregnancy can be instantly achieved, and they're disappointed to learn that it can't be done easily, the journal Fertility and Sterility reported.
"We are really seeing more and more patients 'upset' after failing in having their own biological child after age 43, so we had to report on this," said Patrizio.
"Their typical reaction is, 'what do you mean you cannot help me? I am healthy, I exercise, and I cannot have my own baby?'" he said.
These women delay pregnancies in their most fertile years for a variety of reasons, such as focusing on careers, lack of financial stability, or not having a partner, said a university statement.
They are vaguely aware that fertility decreases with age, but it is only when they experience age-related infertility firsthand that they begin to understand the reality of their situation, note the researchers.
The growing popularity of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has given women the impression that female fertility may be manipulated at any stage in life, noted Patrizio, who said the problem is exacerbated due to images of celebrities who seem to effortlessly give birth at advanced ages.
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