The study, published online in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, showed 22 percent of respondents thought lifestyle choices such as smoking during pregnancy are the most common cause of miscarriage.

London - More than half of women think not being able to have babies because they haven’t met Mr Right is as bad as being infertile, according to a survey.

One in five even say they would consider trying to conceive without a husband or partner by using donor sperm.

Another fifth have thought seriously about freezing their eggs so they could have children later on.

The poll of 3,000 women aged 28 to 45 also revealed that just over a third – 36 percent – were not yet sure if they ever wanted to start a family.

Another third did not think they had met the right partner.

Crucially 54 percent said that being “emotionally infertile” – not being able to have children because they didn’t have a partner – was as painful as being medically infertile. The Red magazine survey also found 22 percent had disagreed with their husbands or partners about when to have a baby.

This included one in six – 15 percent – who had split up as a result.

Brigid Moss, health director at Red, said: “We have identified what we call emotional infertility, that is being childless not by choice, due to not having a partner or a partner not wanting to have children.

“We all know someone in this position. A doctor can’t help with emotional infertility.

“It’s become more acceptable to talk about medical infertility with your friends and family, so women can now be more open about that. But it must be very hard to confess that you’re desperate for a baby, but haven’t met anyone.

“Every few months, there’s another warning from the medical profession that the best time to conceive is under 35. But this report has shown that often, at the right biological time, women are simply not in the right place emotionally or financially to start trying.”

One woman who took part in the survey said she decided to find a sperm donor after her 40th birthday.

Nicola, who did not wish to give her full name, used a website which specially matches women with donors, and became pregnant a few months later.

One in ten women who took part in the survey had IVF and on average they paid just over £7,200 for treatment.

Of those who had fertility treatment, more than three quarters – 77 percent – paid for it privately. - Daily Mail

* Red’s survey was carried out for the Red Modern Motherhood Report, which appears in the October issue.