Women over the age of 40 could get free fertility treatment on the NHS for the first time.
The Health Service may have to scrap controversial age limits for IVF to avoid the threat of being sued under age discrimination laws.
In future, trusts may decide whether women can have free IVF cycles by testing how many eggs they have left- their 'ovarian reserve' - rather than imposing a blanket ban over the age of 40.
Last night critics said that encouraging women to have babies in middle age would put both mother and child at risk.
Children born to women over the age of 40 are at greater risk of abnormalities, while the mothers are more likely to die in childbirth.
Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: 'This is back-to-front healthcare. At the same time as we are urging pregnant women not to smoke because of the health risks, we are talking about making it easier for older women to have children - putting their children at higher risk of abnormality.
'The optimum age for a woman to have a child is around 24, so we should do more to encourage that. Instead we are talking about finding money- from where? - to give free IVF cycles to women over the age of 40. This is more costly to the NHS at a time when we are trying to save money, not spend it.'
Article from Daily Mail