Catherine Redfern // 25 April 2005
So, the best age for women to start a family is apparently 34. You have to take all these soundbite generalisations with a pinch of salt of course, but at least it’s more refreshing than those doom laden, backlash inspired, panic inducing “oh-my-god I was so selfish in having an education and a career that I forgot that my only purpose in life is to breed” stories we’ve been hearing for the last, ooh… ten years?
“The social and economic benefits of delaying parenthood more than compensate for the ageing reproductive system,” said Prof Mirowsky, who led the research. You’d have thought it was obvious, really.
But what about men, I hear you cry? Well, men’s fertility starts to deteriorate at around age 35, apparently. No cause for panic, obviously, but isn’t it interesting how closely those ages match? Please let this be the end of biological clock scaremongering aimed solely at women.
But seriously, when is the best time to have a child? Whenever you choose to, if at all. Which brings me on to another recent story: a 20 year old Scottish woman, who had an abortion when she was 16, is suing a hospital trust because the procedure failed, leaving her with one child to care for but also to financially support. She had decided almost immediately not to go through with the pregnancy, and the abortion took place at 6 weeks. Incidentally, at this stage, the embryo/foetus is the size of a baked bean. Just thought I’d mention it.