16/08/2009 09:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Women Advised To MoT Their Fertility At 30

Women are being urged to MoT their fertility at the age of 30 to find out if they will have trouble conceiving.

Experts are warning that Britain is facing an "infertility timebomb" because couples are waiting so long before trying to have children.

Professor Bill Ledger, of Sheffield University, told The Observer: "Women do not realise the importance of age when it comes to fertility.

"They think 'It won't happen to me, I'm 37, I go to the gym twice a week, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I'm fit – everything about me is young'. Well it is, except your ovaries."

He says the NHS should start providing a blood test that could highlight potential problems for women.

Experts also reckon that we're all so ignorant about fertility that an education programme should be launched in schools.

Dr Mark Hamilton, the leading consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, said: "Sexual health messages focus entirely on avoidance of sex, but this should be coupled with promotion of fertility awareness.

"We should be teaching everyone, from childhood up, about all the factors linked to fertility potential, and how the huge range of things from lifestyle choices to genetic inheritance can have harmful effects on that potential."

Apparently many people are not aware of the low success rates of fertility treatments.

The chances fall dramatically as women get older, from about one in three for women aged under 35, to below 5% for those aged over 41.

The trouble is, I think many women are perfectly aware they are gambling with their fertility by waiting.

If we really want women to start having babies earlier – but not too early, as teenage pregnancy is also seen as a Bad Thing – then the Government needs to make life easier for young families.

Many couples these days are still struggling to pay off their student loans and land a mortgage in their late 20s and early 30s.

A baby on top of that inevitably means you're signing up for a few years of relative poverty.

Lots of couples opt to be in a secure financial position before they get sprogged up - but then find they've left it too late.

Source: The Observer