World-leading fertility specialist Professor William Ledger and award-winning social researcher Mark McCrindle will use the 2015 UNSW Medicine Dean’s Lecture to discuss the influences that are leading us to delay parenthood and what science can do about the helping older people conceive.

While assisted reproductive technology (ART) has solved fertility problems for many people, it is still difficult to help women over 40 years of age.  Today, just 12% of IVF cycles in women over 40 results in the birth of a baby.

With powerful social forces causing both women and men to delay having children until they are older, the scientific race is on to find ways to assist couples with their reproduction into later life.

Professor William (Bill) Ledger, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at UNSW’s School of Women's & Children's Health, will explain what science can currently offer, and how scientists are on the cusp of exciting discoveries in the laboratory which are explaining what goes wrong with women’s eggs as they age.

Professor Ledger will also outline the steps that all women who plan to be mothers, but who have not completed their family by age 30, should consider, including freezing their eggs.

Generation Y is experiencing key life transition points at a later stage than previous generations. An extended adolescence has led to delays in the median age for completing higher education, entering employment, purchasing a house and starting a family.

Demographer and social researcher Mark McCrindle, a UNSW psychology alumnus, will discuss the economic, social and generational influences that have led to Australian parents becoming older and having fewer children, – or no children at all, and the challenges and opportunities that these social shifts present.

He will also reveal new demographic research that indicates an attitudinal shift in the next generation, Generation Z, suggesting that young people are starting to understand the limitations of their fertility.

What: UNSW Medicine 2015 Dean’s Lecture: The Ticking Clock: Demographic change and future families.

When: 6pm for 6.30, Monday 1 June 2015.

Where: Leighton Hall, John Niland Scientia, UNSW Kensington campus.

Cost: Free; but registration is essential. Register here.