The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Is 40 the new 50?
Posted Monday, 18 January 2010 at 11:12

After speaking at the Fabian conference in London on Saturday with Polly Toynbee (which I thoroughly enjoyed), it was back to a normal weekend of work.

The article the following day in the Mail on Sunday , within which I am quoted regarding fertility treatment for women aged 60+, meant the phone kept ringing and I spent part of my Sunday stood in the freezing cold in front of a TV camera.


I have the hugest sympathy with any woman who has never had children and reaches a point later in life when, for whatever reason, she decides to become pregnant.


Government guidelines state that the NHS should not recommend IVF to women over the age of 40 and private clinics generally will not treat women older than 50.


Many women naturally become pregnant into their 50s but not always without consequence, hence the increase in ‘fertility tourism’. Women over 50 have traveled abroad and received treatment, but even abroad it’s not easy to find a Dr who will agree to treatment at the age of 60.


Healthier lifestyles, the awareness of the dangers posed by smoking and alcohol, and advances in medical science all contribute to the fact that we are living longer and healthier lives, which in my opinion is information which should feature in the debate regarding the extension of the upper limit guidelines. Maybe 40 should be the new 42, or 50 the new 52? But to extend the limit to 60 is a very large and potentially costly leap.


By agreeing to treat a woman in the UK who will be 60 when her baby is born, Drs and the private clinic have now set a precedent which means the debate needs to take place.


It is inevitable that there will be a cost for society and the question has to be asked that if the NHS where to extend the upper limit, what would that mean in terms of the availability of treatment offered to younger women? What type of assessment should be made during the decision-making process with older women? Should the availability and commitment of younger family support be taken into account?


Unfortunately, the precedent has been made before the debate has taken place. Let’s hope the UK doesn’t become a fertility tourism hot spot and money doesn’t drive such a serious process over and above common sense and practicality.

Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at:
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

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