More than a fifth of British people may have changed their own plans to start a family as a result of celebrities' struggles to conceive, a new survey suggests.
Researchers found that 82 per cent of people believe that the struggles of high-profile celebrities such as Courtney Cox and Nicole Kidman have highlighted the fact that it becomes harder to conceive with age.
Nearly two thirds of respondents also said that young celebrity mums, including Charlotte Church, were leading many young women to decide to bring motherhood forward.
Psychologist Dr Sandra Wheatley said: "Nowadays we are exposed to celebrities' personal woes more than we are involved in our own family's difficulties.
"This combination of intimate knowledge, regular contact, perceived control and high attractiveness makes them a potentially powerful influence when we are decision-making."
Dr Wheatley stressed that the message that having a baby is a diminishing opportunity as women get older "is a powerful one and one it would be beneficial not to dismiss".
At least one in five couples are affected by infertility and may benefit from infertility treatment (http://www.privatehealth.co.uk), and around 30 per cent of men are estimated to be sub-fertile.
Independent advice on private healthcare