Scientists develop a model to 'assist couples in planning the size of their families' 5 years ago

Scientists develop a model to 'assist couples in planning the size of their families'

Revealing the best age to start a family, scientists have said in an interesting new study that they have developed a model to "assist couples in planning the size of their families".

Researchers from Erasmus University Medical Centre 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 whether or not they plan to use IVF if necessary.

For the best chance of having one child naturally, scientists said that couples should start trying to conceive before the woman reaches 32. But for those wanting two children, women should be 27. To achieve a trio of children, women should only wait until they are 23 to start trying to become pregnant, the new research indicates. If a couple would consider using IVF if necessary, they can add on four years to each scenario.

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.

Lead researcher Professor Dik Habbema wrote in the journal Human Reproduction 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.

"From the point of view of sound decision-making, couples need to have insight into the probability of having the number of children that they would ideally like to have," he said. "The results of our research can help couples to make these kinds of decisions."

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The results are interesting, and no doubt reassuring to very young couples (especially those wanting smaller families); however, I'm sure many will agree that even the best-laid plans go awry.