Is delaying childbearing to the early 30's the new norm? Dr Anthony Cheung responds to recently released data from Statistics Canada - Grace Fertility Centre " "

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Is delaying childbearing to the early 30’s the new norm? Dr Anthony Cheung responds to recently released data from Statistics Canada

The following is Dr Cheung's response to the PROVINCE article on declining fertility rates for 2011.

“The fertility rates for 2011 quoted by the Province on Jul 12, 2013 are consistent with recent trends. The quoted higher number of 52.3 births per 1000 women for those aged 35-39 and lower number of 45.7 for those aged 20-24 for 2011 (compared with corresponding figures of 51.7 and 48 for 2010) should not be too alarmist, as there can also be year-to-year variations in addition to the overall trend. However, the fertility rates for these age groups indeed reflect our current sociological changes and are not surprising at all given the added years required to be in trade or professional schools and further post-diploma practical experience for most jobs in developed countries like Canada. Meanwhile, in addition to trying to establish and/or maintain a career, women still have to deal with the limited reproductive span and are expected to carry the greater share of childrearing and running a household. Fertility-enhancing options are not the perfect answer but the remedy for those who are less fortunate than others in achieving a pregnancy according to schedule or at the optimal time.”

“I think delaying childbearing to 25-29 or early 30s is the new norm. It is still a good age window for women to achieve a pregnancy, balancing reproductive biology, education and training, career, personal growth and development, and other life experiences. It doesn't mean that a woman cannot conceive without fertility treatment beyond mid-30s, but the margin of safety becomes much narrower as the endowment of eggs (and the quality of those remaining) from birth starts to decline towards a critical threshold. Some women are luckier than others and have no difficulty whatsoever conceiving, say, after stopping contraception at age 39, but this is not the case for most women in that age group.”

—Dr Anthony Cheung