View MFS on ITV ‘Tonight’
See Dr Gillian Lockwood on ITV1 Tonight’s ‘Too Old to Be a Mum?’ documentary, first broadcast on Thursday 26 May, via the ITV iplayer until Friday 24 June.
In a report released this week it has been shown that British women are among the most likely in the world to end up without children; 19% of women are childless at the menopause.
Tonight, new Dad, Jonny Maitland investigates how changes in society are affecting women’s attitudes to motherhood, with many women opting to put motherhood on hold while they pursue a career and find Mr Right. Tonight we investigate what happens when those women find out they have left it too late.
We meet one of Britain’s oldest mums, Carole Hobson, who has defied biology and standard British medical practice by giving birth to twins at the age of 58 through IVF insemination, at an Indian clinic. She tells us how her desire to become a mum drove her to extreme lengths to fulfil her dream.
Three months ago at the age of 49 Jonny Maitland became a father for the first time. His partner Helena, at 42, is one of a growing number of women who are choosing to wait till their late 30s or early 40s before starting a family. In fact the number of women giving birth over 40 has doubled in the past decade – but it isn’t without risk and the chance of having a miscarriage outweighs the likelihood of actually having a baby. And it’s not just women in their 40s who need to be careful – a woman is 6 times more likely to have fertility problems at the age of 35 than 25.
We meet couple Paul Bishton and Michelle Tew. After Michelle became pregnant in her late 30s they were told there was a high chance their baby would be born with Down’s Syndrome. Deciding against an amniocentesis test, which would have increased the risk of miscarriage, they went ahead with the pregnancy. Baby Archie was born two months ago and he did, in fact, have Down’s Syndrome. Paul and Michelle admit that the first 48 hours were tough, as the news sunk in, but now they say, they don’t regret a thing and feel their age and maturity has helped them cope.
Jonny meets four busy working girls over the age of 35 who for various reasons have put off having a baby. Busy entrepreneurs Natasha Chilon, 35. and Nikki Wright McNeill, 36, can’t imagine fitting a baby into their busy lifestyles while Sylvia Craston, 39, simply cannot find Mr. Right. Jo Kingston has been trying for a baby for 3 years, but, at 41, she is worried her biological clock may have already stopped ticking. We take them to see fertility expert Zita West at her Harley Street clinic to test their fertility and egg reserves. You may be surprised by our results.
The music industry can be a fickle game and no one is more aware of this than Linzi Stoppard whose electric violin band, Fuse, have recently signed to do a Hollywood soundtrack. She fears that if she takes time out to start a family now then her career would be pretty much over. She is looking into pioneering egg freezing treatment so that she can put motherhood on hold – but with little yet known about its success rate it’s a gamble she may not want to risk.
We also meet journalist Mary Gold who after discovering at the age of 39 she wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally underwent nine gruelling, failed rounds of IVF. Tune in to see how her story ends.