Sometimes we have to wait a long time for good news. Many people wait to have kids until they feel confident about their career. And since the right man doesn’t always turn up in time, women in their late 30s are freezing their eggs while they wait to meet him.

A study of women at a Belgian clinic found that half of them wanted to freeze their eggs to take the pressure off finding a partner, while a third were also having eggs frozen as an “insurance policy” against infertility. This allows student to focus on their career before taking along break for motherhood. The problem is, age has an impact on male as well as female fertility and when they do meet the right guy, he may have fertility problems too.

Fertility specialist Julie Nekkebroeck, who carried out the small Belgian study of 15 women, found that 27% of them wanted to give their relationship a chance to mature before bringing up the subject of having a baby. The women who had an average age of 38 did not expect to use their frozen eggs until they were around 43 and they realized they needed to undergo the procedure while they were still healthy and fertile, with good-quality eggs.

In BBC News, Emma Wilkinson quotes Nekkebroeck as saying, “We found that they had all had partners in the past, and one was currently in a relationship, but they had not fulfilled their desire to have a child because they thought that they had not found the right man.”

But while they’re waiting, they should stay off the alcohol: Women who drink during pregnancy may be damaging the future fertility of their sons. In a study of almost 350 young men, sperm levels were a third lower in those whose mothers had drunk more than four drinks a week during pregnancy.This may explain why semen quality seems to have fallen in recent decades. In BBC News, Emma Wilkinson quotes researcher Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen as saying, “If exposure to alcohol in foetal life causes poor semen quality in adult life, we would expect that populations with many pregnant women drinking, possibly heavily, in pregnancy would have lower fertility in comparison with populations where pregnant women do not drink.”

With more women than men graduating from college and even taking advanced degrees, IVF fertilization, with saved or donated eggs, may be the main way to get pregnant in the future.

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