Scientists have revealed the perfect age for parents to start a family and why, and this might come as a surprise to many.To have the best chance of having just one child naturally, couples should start trying to conceive when the female is aged under 32. But for those yearning for two children, the woman should be about 27.
And to have three children, the new research indicates that women should only wait until they are 23 to start trying to become pregnant.
The researchers, from Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said the latest female age that a couple should start trying to become pregnant depended on the importance of achieving their desired family size and their views on IVF.
If couples would consider IVF, those wanting a one-child family could wait until the woman was 35, but 31 was the cap for two children and 28 for three children.
While the results may come as a surprise to many young couples, it may also be reassuring for those aiming for a smaller family.
“For couples who are content with one child and do not wish a very high chance of success: they can start at age 37 for a 75 per cent (chance of success) and 41 years for a 50 per cent success chance,” lead researcher Professor Dik Habbema wrote in the journal Human Reproduction.
The ages were based on a model that combined fertility and IVF success rates for 10,000 couples and assumed the gap between babies was 15 months.
He wrote that many young people were “too optimistic” about their chance of conceiving after 35 and “miracle stories in the media” inflated the success of IVF.
“When there is so much information out there about celebrities having babies in their 40s, when the chances of success are so low (unless they use donor eggs), it creates unrealistic expectations,” Louise Johnson Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority CEO said.
“IVF does not provide a silver bullet for age-related infertility.”
It has partnered with Family Planning Victoria to design a fertility education guide for primary and secondary teachers.
“Children need to know about this technology and how it is used to create families,” Ms Johnson said.
A Melbourne mother of three children Alix Blackshaw is only 28, but she has already completed her family.
The registered nurse said both her and her husband, Dwain, were from big families and knew they wanted to have at least three children
“It’s all about personal preference, but it was my intention to have them all before the age of 30 and with a close age gap,” she said.
The benefits are that she will only be in her mid 30s when all her children start school, but it has also meant she has not been able to go travelling.