Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Don't wait too long to have kids, obstetric society tells women

Benjamin Haas/Getty Images/Hemera

New guidance from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is warning Canadian women against postponing pregnancy for too long.

The society says some women may be taking too much time to start their families, perhaps because they inflate their chances of successfully conceiving with fertility treatments, if the need arises.

It says women in their 20s and 30s need better reproductive counselling so that they have an accurate grasp of what waiting does to their chances of conceiving. Female fertility begins to decline significantly in the early- to mid-30s; male fertility also declines with age.

Story continues below advertisement

"Some Canadian women may be inadvertently postponing pregnancy too long," says Kimberly Liu, principal co-author of the new guideline.

"There is a sense that women may be overestimating the potential of assisted human reproductive technologies and underestimating the risks and complications associated with delaying pregnancy."

A lot of women are unaware of the limitations of assisted reproduction, a statement from the society says, as well as the fact that the success rates of these options decline steadily as women hit their late 30s and 40s.

"Fertility treatments aren't a surefire route to pregnancy – their rates of success are greatly influenced by age-related declines in fertility," says Allison Case, Liu's co-author.

"Time can be of the essence for a woman in her 30s who needs assistive reproductive technology. It is important that she gets appropriate treatment for her age."

The society says the proportion of women who delay childbearing beyond the age of 35 has increased significantly in recent decades.

The Canadian Press

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to