Statistics released this week show that women in New Zealand between the ages of 35 and 39 are having more babies than women aged 20 – 24 for the first time. In fact, the average age of first time mothers in New Zealand is now one of the highest in the developed world. The number of babies born in 2013 in New Zealand was also the lowest number since 2003, down 4% from 2012.
These trends are beginning to cause concern at a governmental level. New Zealand’s advisory committee on reproductive technology is going so far as to advise the Ministry of Health to launch a public awareness campaign to make women more aware of the sharp decline in women’s fertility with age, and dispel the myth that IVF treatment is always an easy answer.
Why are New Zealand women waiting so long to have children? New Zealand lactation consultant Trudy Hart, comments that a lot of mothers don’t want to have babies earlier because it means giving up their lifestyle:
“They can enjoy a life, [they feel] their careers are much more important than being mothers and then they encounter infertility because they’re leaving it too late.”
A midwife in the Hawkes Bay also noted a similar trend, commenting that both career and finding the ‘perfect’ relationship meant many women waited so long that they were having to use IVF to get pregnant. However, IVF is not always easy either.
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