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Couples hit by fertility problems

New figures show that more than a third of UK couples encounter fertility problems when they try to have a child.

And the National Fertility Survey, which was commissioned by Red magazine, shows that collectively British couples are spending £1.7bn on their efforts to get pregnant.

This includes £1.07bn on IVF alone, as only 23% of couples actually receive completely free treatment on the NHS.

On average, couples are spending £4,782 on fertility treatments, but only 47% of women actually go on to have a baby.

The main reasons couples need fertility treatment are unexplained fertility problems (36%), which can be linked to lifestyle, male fertility problems (19%), and polycystic ovarian syndrome (16%).

Sam Baker, editor of Red magazine, said: "Infertility is the issue of our age and, incredibly, we have entered the billion-pound baby era."

She added that the cost of IVF and related fertility treatments, much of it not available on the NHS, means "it is becoming the preserve of the well-off".

"Couples on ordinary salaries are being priced out," Ms Baker said.

"Some couples even take on mortgage-scale debt in the pursuit of their dream of having a child."

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