A British fertility specialist, Professor Geeta Nargund, has advised women to start having children before the age of 30 or risk never having children.

In a letter to Britain’s Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, she lamented the increasing cost to the taxpayer, which she attributed to the surge of women in their 30s and 40s wanting IVF treatment.

Nargund said: "I have witnessed all too often the shock and agony on the faces of women who realise they have left it too late to start a family.

"For so many, this news comes as a genuine surprise and the sense of devastation and regret can be overwhelming.

"And so often the cry will be 'Why did no one warn me about this?'

"Information is power and the best way to empower people to take control of their fertility is through education.

"Ideally, if a woman is ready for a child, she should start trying by the time she is 30. She should consider having a child early because as a woman gets older, her fertility declines sharply."

Similarly, the outgoing chair of the British Fertility Society, Professor Allan Pacey, backed Nargund's view.

He said: "You need to be trying by 30 because if there is a problem and you need surgery, hormones or IVF, then you’ve got five years to sort it out.

"If a woman starts trying at 35, doctors have got to sort it out when she is already on a slippery fertility slope."

Pacey insisted that teenagers should be sensitised on this, even as from primary school level.

Nargund, a consultant gynaecologist, who works as the lead consultant for reproductive medicine at St George’s Hospital in London, added, "as women get older, they experience more complex fertility problems, so treatment tends to be less successful and more expensive.

"On average, more [IVF] treatment cycles are required for a successful pregnancy. So educating people about fertility is very important for the public purse, because it will help us to get more babies within the same NHS budget."