Irenee Daly(Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge)
Anastasia Theodosiou (Clinical medicine, University of Cambridge)
Research tells us that women are increasingly waiting to have children until their mid-to-late 30s, when they are in fact facing the end of their reproductive lives. Specifically, while 25% of babies are born to women under 25 and 54% to women aged 25-34, 20% are now born to women aged 35 or older (Office of National Statistics, 2008; 2009). This shift towards older motherhood, especially in the 35+ age bracket, is of great concern to the medical community, given that more women are now facing age-related fertility problems and complications in pregnancy. Reasons cited for this dramatic shift have included major changes in the social structure of modern society, such as increased access to and uptake of contraception, education and work outside the home. However, this group of women are often described as having postponed motherhood, a phrase that suggests they have intentionally put off having children, despite knowing the risks they incur.
Irenee Daly’s doctoral research looks at women’s views on their reproductive choices, and their understanding of age-related fertility decline. Her research purposefully does not capture the attitudes and opinions of doctors or medical students. Medics, however, are uniquely placed to cast further light on these issues: they are willingly engaged in one of the most time-consuming and demanding professional pathways, but are also in the position to understand the biological realities of age-related fertility decline. This workshop aims to explore the views of clinical medical students, by using interactive discussion and small group exercises. Do they envisage a pressure to choose between career and parenthood? Do they feel that there is a ‘right time’ to become a parent? What could be done to help them find a balance, and how would they advise patients faced with the same dilemmas?
Anastasia Theodosiou is a clinical medical student at the University of Cambridge (2010-2013). She previously obtained a BA (2009) and an MPhil (2010) for research into the history of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Cambridge. She is a supervisor in Human Reproduction at Downing College, Cambridge, and has a strong academic and professional interest in women’s health.
Irenee Daly is a psychology PhD student at the Centre for Family Research. Her academic interests are in gender, reproductive technologies and how the media communicates to the public advances in science and technologies, especially reproductive technologies. Irenee’s doctoral work looks at women’s understanding and knowledge of age-related fertility decline, using both interviews and a questionnaire.
Open to all. No registration required.
Part of the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum seminar series.
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