Success at work: but what about my personal and family life?

Career building, the challenges of getting on or up the property ladder and finding love often delay decisions to start a family. 

Recent research form Harvard University found that women who work more than 40 hours a week may take 20 percent longer to get pregnant compared with women who work 21 - 40 hours a week.  Their research found that lifting heavy loads several times a day may delay pregnancy by as much as 50 percent.  It reports that physical strain lifting, 8 hours a day on your feet, working nightshifts and long hours at work may impair women's pregnancy prospects.  Their research was based on the number of eggs produced by women during a stimulated round of IVF treatment.  Harvard University researchers also found that nightshift workers experienced disruptions in their biological rhythms which may prevent eggs from developing or maturing.

Recent headlines state that female bankers have the worst chances of success from IVF treatment, whilst teachers have the best chance of success. The demands of long working hours in the financial sector can prevent women from attending appointments at fertility clinics or regularly taking medication. Fertility treatment requires time and commitment which time-poor female city workers can struggle to devote to the process.  Stress levels in the workplace may also negatively affect IVF success rates.  In contrast, teachers benefit from regular breaks and long summer holidays which give them greater control over their time and more ability to commit to fertility treatment. Research also found that teachers often work in more supportive work environments.

It is taking longer in the UK to find a partner, get married and decide to start a family. The cost of fertility treatment, raising children and stepping out of the world of work can also cause women to put their hopes and dreams of a family on hold for longer.  As a result, women increasingly want more control over their personal and family life and greater protection for themselves and their children.

Value of expert fertility and parenting law services

Women need legal understanding and protection as well as medical assistance and safeguards when undergoing fertility treatment and family building.  Focusing on the medical aspects is not enough.  Conception and pregnancy is just the start of the parenthood journey.

You don’t buy a home without legal advice so why take risks when creating a family? These are two of the biggest steps in life. Both raise legal issues about rights, responsibilities and day-to-day living. Both need legal protection. Both require tailored specialist legal advice. You enter into a formal agreement when you buy a house so why wouldn't you draw up a tailored legal agreement with a co-parent, known donor or prospective parent? Why wouldn't you want specialist advice on surrogacy law when surrogacy contracts are not legally binding in the UK?

Modern families and particularly those created with the involvement of fertility treatment, known donors, co-parents, surrogates and donor gametes create added layers of legal complexity and potential problems.  Law is evolving but it doesn't necessarily meet the needs and expectations of modern-day living. It can create unintended outcomes and confer unwanted legal status on others.

Specialist fertility and parenting law advice can explain the legal issues, options, implications and outcomes in your case.  It can help you make informed decisions about your family building and future family life. It can give you confidence to take the next step and peace of mind that you've covered the legal and practical issues which will shape your future.

If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail or find out more about UK fertility, family and parenting law, contact Louisa Ghevaert by email louisa.ghevaert@michelmores.com or by telephone +44 (0)207 7886382.