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A leading fertility doctor has called for packets of condoms and contraception pills to carry fertility warnings similar to health advice on boxes of cigarettes.

Professor Adam Balen, chair of the Fertility Education Initiative, said contraception should come with an alert against leaving pregnancy too late – much as packs of cigarettes highlight health risks.

‘With cigarettes, you have health warnings about the adverse effects of smoking. You could have that on contraception, whether it’s a pack of condoms you get from the pub or the contraceptive pill,’ he told The Mail on Sunday.

‘Inserts or warnings should be there: remember, don’t leave it too late. There are opportunities when women, in particular, going for their smear test or advice about contraception should be pointed to age appropriate material.’ 

Professor Adam Balen (pictured), chair of the Fertility Education Initiative, said contraception should come with an alert against leaving pregnancy too late – much as packs of cigarettes highlight health risks

Professor Adam Balen (pictured), chair of the Fertility Education Initiative, said contraception should come with an alert against leaving pregnancy too late – much as packs of cigarettes highlight health risks

Professor Adam Balen (pictured), chair of the Fertility Education Initiative, said contraception should come with an alert against leaving pregnancy too late – much as packs of cigarettes highlight health risks 

Pointing out that women’s fertility tends to plummet in their late 30s, Prof Balen, previously chair of the British Fertility Society, said: ‘If you’re going to freeze eggs and have a viable chance of having a baby in the future, you should probably think about doing it before you get to the age of 37 or 38.’

His call for cigarette-style warnings was backed by Professor Geeta Nargund, of private IVF service Create Fertility, who suggested graphs showing how fertility declines with age should also be printed on contraception packets.

‘People are more likely to look at a graph on the side of a packet than read the small print,’ she said. Their comments come days after the Government revealed plans to allow people to freeze their eggs and sperm for up to 55 years. Ministers have proposed extending the deadline for storing eggs, sperm and embryos beyond ten years, the current maximum for anyone without a specific medical reason.

Prof Balen welcomed the proposal, which would provide ‘equity in legislation for those who want to freeze for social reasons’ (file image)

Prof Balen welcomed the proposal, which would provide ‘equity in legislation for those who want to freeze for social reasons’ (file image)

Prof Balen welcomed the proposal, which would provide ‘equity in legislation for those who want to freeze for social reasons’ (file image) 

Supporters say it will help people make family-planning decisions earlier, but critics argue that women should be aware of the risks of delaying pregnancy and that egg-freezing does not guarantee a child.

Prof Balen welcomed the proposal, which would provide ‘equity in legislation for those who want to freeze for social reasons’, but added: ‘Young people shouldn’t be relying on technology to help preserve their fertility for the future… The freezing of eggs isn’t a guarantee they will have a baby.

‘People shouldn’t leave it too late or be lulled into a false sense of security.’

Pictorial health warnings including blackened lungs on tobacco products were made compulsory in October 2008.   

Source: Daily Mail UK

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