What’s the best age to start a family? Here’s the answer

If you’re 32 and want to start a family, you may want to get a wriggle on. Researchers have developed a computer model that suggests the best age to start trying for your first child. All you need to decide is whether you want one, two or three kids. The computer does the rest!

There are so many variables to consider when deciding when to start a family. While finances and career are things we can influence, our chances of falling pregnant are in the lap of the gods. But researchers have used the fertility data of almost 60,000 women to pinpoint the ages by which women should start their families.

While the model is rather simplified, it aims to make it somewhat easier for people to plan their families… and their lives.

Dik Habbema, from the Netherlands’ Erasmus University, is one of the model’s creators, and says it aims to fill a missing link in the family planning process.

“My son is 35 and many of his friends have a problem deciding when to have children because there are so many things they want to do,” Dik says.

The average age of of first time mothers in Australia is about 30 years old – the same as in Italy, Spain and Switzerland, compared to 28 in the UK. While in the US, the birth rate for women aged 35 and over keeps rising.

Using three centuries worth of data, the computer model has worked out the ages couples should start trying for either a one, two or three-child family – with or without IVF help – for either a 50, 75 or 90 per cent chance of success.

For your best chance at having a three-child family, the computer suggests starting at age 23. For two children, women should start trying at age 27, while a woman trying for one-child can wait until the age 32. These ages increase slightly, if you’re factoring in the possibility of using IVF.

The data doesn’t factor in the age of the prospective dad, but researcher Dik Habbema says the results are, “generally valid for couples where the man is not more than 10 years older than the woman”.

Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the UK’s University of Sheffield tells New Scientist that the information should be distributed to university students so they can be aware of how to plan their lives.

(via New Scientist)

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