When should we really be having babies? We asked an expert what the best age to try is
Don't want kids in your twenties? You're not alone.
The average age of new mums in Ireland is steadily on the rise.
Before 1993, most births occurred in women aged between 25 and 29. In 2017, the average woman in Ireland having a baby was almost 33 years of age.
We know that for lots of us, waiting is now a choice.
In our Her Fertility Poll, just under 87 per cent of you told us that you’d like to be a parent some day but three quarters of you want to wait until you're over thirty.
It's hardly surprising that lots of us want to put off parenthood.
Trying to build a career or wanting to travel; not having met a partner; the fact that lots of 20-somethings can't afford to even move out of home - we all have our reasons for waiting but that might not actually be the best idea.
"My advice is purely biological," says Dr Simon Fishel.
He's a fertility specialist who was part of the team involved in the first ever birth of an IVF baby and the founder of Beacon CARE Fertility.
"If women want the best chance of having a child or in fact a family then the sooner they start from about late twenties, the better because of one factor really – the declining egg quality," he tells us.
It's not just down to the woman, though.
"We also know that up to about 50 per cent of infertility is caused by male factors," Dr Fishel continues.
"Supposing they meet a man and they’re now getting a little bit older so it’s a little bit harder for the woman, the man also has an infertility problem, between the two of them it’s pretty inefficient.
"The chance of having a child is getting harder and harder by the month, by the year and many do not fulfil their dreams because it all started too late."
He does acknowledge that in the modern world, it's not as simple as simply choosing to go for it earlier.
"We recognise it’s glib to say women should have their children younger. Well, who with? Who’s going to pay the bills? Are they able to live together without two incomes?
"It’s all very hard and so it’s just too easy to say have your children while you’re young but it’s biologically the best without a doubt but it’s not socially that straightforward."
Dr Fishel's advice, though kind of terrifying, echoes what we've heard from others in the field.
Professor Mary Wingfield of Merrion Fertility Clinic, one of Ireland's foremost experts on fertility, has said that women who want three children should be starting to try for a family by age 27.
Speaking previously on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1, she said that "if you are 35, you have half the chance of getting pregnant as somebody who is 25."
"If you want to have a 90 per cent chance of having three children, you need to start trying to get pregnant when you are 27.
"Knowing your age is the most important thing. If you are 30, you need to start thinking about it very soon."
Talk about a rock and a hard place. We'll be looking more at what we can do and whether women can really "have it all" later in the series.
This October is Fertility Month on Her, when we’ll be talking all things reproductive health and having babies.
You can check out all of our Fertility Month articles here.
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