The million dollar question! Really there is no best time to start a family. There are many different factors that go into deciding when it will be the best time to have children but ultimately it is a personal decision between you and your partner and many factors such as age and finance must be taken into account.
Biologically carrying a baby between the ages of 18-25 is optimal but how many couples in the age group are financially and emotionally ready? Starting a family young may work for some people as they may feel they will have a lot more energy to handle dealing with a newborn baby. Then you also consider that by the time they are in their late teens and early twenties, they will still have some youth left and be able to enjoy your life without small children to be responsible for. These are all things that people consider when having children in their twenties.
On the flip side, having a baby over 30 or even at 40 might be the best time to have a baby. Biologically fertility for women starts to decline after 25 so this is an important factor to remember. Some couples feel that at an older age, they will be more secured in their careers and be better able to support the family financially. They may also feel more responsible than when they were younger and have more patience to deal with a small child. These are all great reasons that they choose to wait until they are in their thirties. Saying that though I have found that personally my patience has reduced the older I get, but then I do have very demanding children!
For men, although they continue to produce sperm until old age in most cases, the quality and quantity can be affected after the age of 40 scientists have concluded. So although some men have fathered children well into their 80’s, Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield says “You are half as likely to get your partner pregnant if you are 40 or over as you are before the age of 25.”
For women, it is a different story. Women do have a biological clock that is ticking; they are born with a set number of eggs in their ovaries. This number declines each month during ovulation menstruation and then stops completely at the menopause which happens during a woman’s late 40’s to early 50’s. When you look at all these factors, you will need to just consider your individual situation. Do you feel ready to have a baby? Are you ready to be up at night with a newborn? Do you have the means to care for a newborn? Do you have support in place to help?
So you can see that deciding when to start a family is entirely an individual decision and there is no right or wrong time. Take the time to make sure that you are ready before you get started in the baby making process.
I have had babies throughout adulthood! My first was born when I was just 18 years old and my 5th when I was 37. For me I found that at 18, I had more energy and coped better through the pregnancy but wasn’t really in the best financial and social situation even though I made it work. On the flip side, having a baby at 37 was extremely tiring for me (perhaps because I already had 4 children by that point!) but I actually had the quickest, easiest birth experience and was in a better financial and social position.
Whenever you do feel ready to have a baby, it’s essential you are as healthy as possible to have the best possible pregnancy and birth experience! This I will cover in another post!