Women who prioritize their careers value pregnancy planning and believe they have a good chance of conceiving late in life with the help of reproductive technology, even though fertility rates drop with age, according to a new Yale study. The findings suggest that career-focused women would benefit from guidance about age-related declines in fertility and the limits of reproductive technology, said the researchers.
Data show that career-focused women, who are likely to delay childbearing, are also more certain they will pursue motherhood compared to women in less professional jobs. To understand the attitudes underlying these competing desires among career women, the Yale team analyzed survey results from 4,712 U.S. women aged 25-45.
The researchers found that three out of four career-focused women surveyed thought pregnancy planning was important. The vast majority of these women—90%—agreed that medical technologies such as IVF gave them a good chance of conceiving beyond age 30. Career-focused women were also less likely to express ethical concerns about reproductive technology involving donor eggs and sperm. Conversely, women who placed less emphasis on work success were much less likely to value pregnancy planning and have confidence in reproductive technology.
The findings, published in Human Reproduction, point to the need for counseling career women on the "true success rates" of fertility treatments for older women so they can achieve their work and reproductive goals, said the researchers.
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Michael K. Simoni et al. Women's career priority is associated with attitudes towards family planning and ethical acceptance of reproductive technologies, Human Reproduction (2017). DOI: 10.1093/humrep/dex275