This Panorama special looks at one of the biggest and most talked about dilemmas in modern life – deciding if, when and how to have children is more complicated than ever before. The number of women giving birth in their forties has doubled in ten years. But as women leave it later to have children their chances drop dramatically and at least one in five will not have any at all. A leading fertility expert says women who put it off are taking a gamble.
Right Time For A Baby? spends a month in Sheffield at the city’s maternity hospital and assisted conception unit, meeting women who’ve given birth, are about to give birth or are desperate to conceive. Among them is Cheryl, 36, who originally wanted to have six children but having postponed motherhood is only now pregnant with her first child. Helen, 38, ran her own marketing consultancy and was a self-confessed hedonist. So what’s caused her to give it all up and have two children in the last three years? Falling birth rates are Europe-wide and if the European population continues to decline the impact will be dramatic in political, social and economic terms. Starting a family is still considered a personal preference but when the majority of countries in the European Union have below replacement fertility, this special questions whether the government should be adopting more aggressive pro-natalist policies. Are women losing the battle to have a baby at all? Has the struggle to establish a career and financial security and to find the right partner before starting a family just become too difficult?... Read more.