The latest news from New Scientist is probably not going to make too many women happy. Their recent research with 58,000 women and their fertility data shows that women should start trying to have babies much earlier than one might think if they want a big family. Women who want to have a big family should start trying by age 23…and even those who only want one child shouldn’t wait past 32.
As Professor Allan Pacey, a Sheffield University fertility expert, said, “We haven’ t got a time machine we can put people in….that’s just a blunt reality. Everyone thinks you can wait – this shows you can’t.”
The fertility calculator that they’ve created works by having a woman indicate how many children she would like to have and whether she is going to be using IVF. The table will then indicate at what age she should start trying for a family for a 90%, 75% and 50% success rate.
Surprisingly, according to the chart, pregnancy does remain an option for women in their early 40s, but only with 50% odds.
One of the calculator creators, Dik Habbema, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam said, “We have tried to fill a missing link in the decision-making process. My son is 35 and many of his friends have a problem deciding when to have children because there are so many other things they want to do.”
Professor Balen told New Scientist that it’s certainly a juggling act to figure out when to start a family. As he said, “Couples need support so they can start their families early. Women who have children in their 20s are more likely to achieve their desired family size but can also expect lower lifetime earnings than women who start later. We need to ensure women aren’t disadvantaged at work and sort the lack of childcare facilities so we can enable young people to establish their careers and families at the same time.”