Couples are delaying having children and using IVF as a safety net, according to Australian government-sponsored research into fertility decision making. The results of a study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows that 42% of 1,600 people surveyed thought that they would use IVF if they found it difficult to conceive a child. “This is our worry,” says researcher Ruth Weston. “The research reveals that couples assume that there is a ‘plan B’… We need greater education of women to get the message across that IVF is not necessarily an option.”
Many supporters of government-funded IVF in Australia have argued against the safety net explanation of the rising rate of IVF. But the AIFS study appears to show otherwise. “If they do strike problems, there is a fair bit of confidence that IVF will resolve things for them,” says Ms Weston.
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