IVF solutions could help address the falling birth rates among UK's aging population

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With the UK’s birth rate falling, more awareness and support are needed for people struggling or putting off starting a family to ensure future generations.

The Department of Health and Social Care recently reported that more must be done to adapt for the onset of the UK’s ageing population. With an ageing population comes a myriad of social and economic challenges – many of which need to be addressed as early as possible.

Many people have put starting a family on hold, whether it be due to fertility factors outside of their control, or due to a wish to delay until they have that foothold. Fertility, however, does not wait for all, and thus more fertility and IVF offerings are helpful in reducing concerns they don’t need when planning for their dream family. 

“Fertility care and developments in assisted reproduction technologies are increasingly important in a society that is slowly skewing towards an ageing population,” says James Barr, Managing Director of Bridge Clinic London. 

When foregoing family life in the past, many chose to pursue career opportunities or other factors. It’s important to remember that patients can have both options available – family life and a career - to them if they know where to look."

James Barr, Managing Director, Bridge Clinic London

“Britain’s ageing population is a concern that does requires action now before its effects are irreversible. We are all living longer, and that’s a testament to modern medicine. But combine this with a falling national birth rate, and society will soon encounter problems.”

Barr believes clinics also have a responsibility to raise awareness for people struggling with finding the right care option. “People who may have either put an end to starting a family or have delayed the process can speak to an IVF partner to discuss their options and potentially a more accessible offering they might have previously not been aware of. For those seeking alternative routes to starting a family, simply having an introductory conversation with clinician could spark the beginning of a journey towards parenthood, as without this consultation they often feel they have lost hope or believe their budget cannot accommodate it.

“Advancements in IVF solutions such as egg storage and sperm donation are now available to help patients who may feel that now is not the right time to start or extend their family or may be unsure. Transparency of fertility options and their costs, including potential add-on treatments, should be clear from the onset to build needed trust with potential patients who may be experiencing uncertainty and emotional pressures.

“Starting a family can be expensive and issues around childcare costs have been making headlines which could be steering patients away from starting a family. Affordable and accommodating IVF options being available is the first step to address this, now it is time for the government to implement reassurances for patients that the next step – specifically, childcare costs – will be prevented from spiralling beyond control.”

Barr concludes: “A falling birth rate is a difficult challenge for any society to combat and overcome, but there are always solutions. Building the foundations of trust and reassuring patients that IVF is an affordable and accommodating process to start a family.

“In years gone by, an ageing population would be difficult to overturn. Today, fertility clinics are on-hand to encourage people who are either struggling or unsure about starting a family and help gradually address the issue of an ageing population.”


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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