'Fertility fear epidemic' is making couples anxious even long before they start trying for a baby 5 months ago

'Fertility fear epidemic' is making couples anxious even long before they start trying for a baby

There is no denying that we are practically bombarded these days with warnings about ticking clocks and our collective fertility being in decline.

And this combined with an ever-increasing amount of ads for fertility clinics and news stories about how companies are now offering their female employees to freeze their eggs – in an attempt to future-proof their fertility – let's just say it is no wonder a study has now shown that many young adults admit to feeling anxious about their fertility – even years before they are even planning to start trying to a family.

To mark 40 years since the first IVF baby was born in the UK, Netmums recently carried out at a survey of 1,000 parents - along with mums and dads-to-be - about their experiences of trying to get pregnant.

And the results were alarming – if not all that surprising.

Mums- and dads-to-be admitted to feeling worried about being able to get pregnant, and a whopping 65 percent of those asked admitted they had felt anxious about the issue of fertility problems and infertility – before they had even tried to get pregnant in the first place.

For those who had actually started trying, 25 percent of respondents told Netmums fears over conceiving had put a strain on their relationship and 8 percent admitted to having had mental health support to help them deal with the stress of TTC (trying to conceive).

Interestingly, for all the concerns and worries, only five perfect of couples found they couldn’t get pregnant and the vast majority of parents the website surveyed conceived within five months – or even less.

"We knew that trying to conceive was one of the most popular topics on Netmums’ forum due to the success of our recently launched TTC boards, and one in every four posts by users now being on this topic," said Netmums Editor-In-Chief, Annie O’Leary.

"But we were saddened that it's a source of anxiety for so many, with the fear of infertility creating stress before couples have even started trying."

Fertility fears explained

According to O’Leary, there were a few reasons women these days are so prone to feeling anxious about their fertility. The results of the study showed that one-third of the mums questions listed irregular periods or other menstrual problems as their main concern, while almost a quarter of women were concerned about age and how this would impact their fertility when trying for a baby. Many also admitted to being worried about their weight and whether or not this would be a problem when trying to get pregnant.

Others again admitted having watched friends and family members struggle with fertility and were now concerned the same would be an issue for themselves.

From the Netmums survey, these are the most common reasons behind fertility fears are:

  • Experiencing irregular periods or menstrual problems (35%)
  • The age of the prospective mother (23%)
  • The weight of the prospective mother (21%)
  • Their friend’s experiences of infertility (19%)
  • Lifestyle/work stress (15%)
  • Media coverage of rising infertility (13%)
  • Family history (11%)