What’s your magic number for starting a family?

Scientists create a chart showing exactly when you should have a baby


Have you ever wondered when you should start having children if you want a big family? If you have 3 kids with at least a year between each, how long does that give you to get started?
Well, a group of Dutch scientists have done the maths for you – creating two charts showing when you should start trying to get pregnant, with or without the help of IVF.


The scientists pooled data from 58,000 women to work out how much fertility declines with age – and the results show you shouldn’t hang around if you want more than one baby. The results show that to have a 90% chance of having 3 children without IVF you should start trying to get pregnant at the age of 23. But if you only want one child, you can wait until 32. Now they tell us!

One of the charts’ creators, Dik Habbema from Erasmus University in Rotterdam told New Scientist magazine the team was trying to “fill a missing link in the decision-making process” for couples trying to decide when to start a family. “My son is 35 and many of his friends have a problem deciding when to have children because there are so many things they want to do,” he said.


A British professor thinks the age charts are so useful, they should be given out in high schools. “We should also be aiming this at sixth formers and university students, so that they’re aware of how to plan their life,” says Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield in the UK.

What do you think of the numbers? And when should you have started? Let us know in the comments below.

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