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Thinking of becoming a mum in your 60s? Before you do, spare a thought for the child

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We have become accustomed to those horrible little pictures of deadly diseases printed on cigarette packets. They don’t affect me directly as I’m not a smoker, but I find them distasteful and like a form of bullying. Let grown-ups take responsibility for their own health.

Now, a fertility specialist, Professor Adam Balen, has suggested similar warnings should be printed on packets of the contraceptive pill and even on the humble condom — as available in pubs — informing users that the option of pregnancy doesn’t last for ever.

Warnings should read “Don’t leave it too late”, he says. When women go for smear tests, or advice about contraception, they should be reminded of the facts of life — that female fertility declines, usually, from the age of 35.

As with the health warning on the fag packet, this idea strikes me as bossy. Do women really want to be lectured about their fertility each time they take a daily contraceptive pill?

And if every condom carries a warning about the uncertainties of deferring pregnancy, we may imagine some blokes’ responses. The ultimate outcome could be more abortions.

However, Balen speaks from the coal face, as it were: he helped to create Leeds Fertility, one of Britain’s biggest IVF clinics and........

© Belfast Telegraph

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