IVF 'causing women to delay motherhood'
New research has claimed women view IVF as an "insurance policy" against infertility.
Economists Naomi Gershoni and Corinne Low are due to present their findings at the European Economic Association in Germany this week. They have suggested that women who believe they have easy access to IVF have started to put off motherhood and instead focus on things like their jobs, because they don't see settling down and child-rearing as time sensitive.
"By giving people a form of insurance against later-life infertility, women who wanted to pursue a career were able to do so without having to worry as much about whether this would prevent them from having a family," they said.
The research largely looked at women in Israel, where IVF has been free since 1994. It was found that women in the country who were of the age to have children after this were more likely to go on to higher education and marry later.
"The extended later-life fertility offered by this policy was responsible for a third of a year increase in first marriage age, a 3 per cent increase in college completion and an almost 4 per cent increase in graduate school completion for college graduates," the study claimed.
The age at which women have children, and the concept of a work/life balance, has been hotly debated of late.
Several high-profile women have had children later in life, with Hollywood star Halle Berry giving birth to her son Matteo in 2013 when she was 47 and Laura Wade-Gery, who is thought to be the next boss of UK retailer Marks & Spencer, is having a baby at 50.
Many companies have started to rethink how they approach women in the work place too. Last year Apple and Facebook confirmed they would offer to freeze the eggs of their female employees in an effort to allow them to focus on their careers, while in June Virgin announced a new parental leave policy which allowed people to take a full year at up to 100 per cent of their salary.