Video: Younger women turn to fertility treatments

By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 9/14/2006 7:47:24 PM ET 2006-09-14T23:47:24

For women of childbearing age, the message in fertility advertisements is hard to miss: your biological clock is ticking. Aimed at women in their 30s and 40s — when getting pregnant gets harder — now, it's many 20-somethings who seem to be hitting the panic button.

"I was rather anxious and wanted to get pregnant, you know, right away," says 25-year-old Christy Zornes.

She and her partner tried for just four months before seeing a fertility specialist, well short of the year doctors usually recommend.

The latest government numbers reveal nearly one in four college-educated women in Zornes' age group received fertility treatments. It's a rate that has doubled in seven years, even though doctors say infertility rates among these women remain low.

But the cost is high — treatment like in-vitro fertilization can run tens of thousands of dollars.

It may have more to do with attitude: women unwilling to wait for what they want, after watching others wait too long.

Dr. Karl Hansen is seeing an increase in patients under 30, and says sometimes their only problem is impatience.

"With younger women, occasionally, I'll have them go try on their own for a longer period of time because they just don't need any treatment yet," he says.

But they often want it, empowered by information on the Internet and  growth of the nation's $3 billion fertility industry.

"I think it's entirely appropriate for younger women in whom we suspect there's a problem that they seek care earlier," says Dr. William Gibbons with the Society for Reproductive Technology.

In Zornes' case, there was a problem — she wasn't ovulating. While still not pregnant, she's glad she sought help early.

"A year from today I would hope to be pregnant, if not already have a baby," she says.

A dream shared by many young women, becoming more aggressive in asking their doctors for help.

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