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Model calculates ideal age to start family

  1. Erasmus MC researchers have developed a model that helps couples realize their desired family size. It indicates at what age of the woman you should start having children if you wanted one, two or three.

  1. The model takes into account how important couples feel it is for the family they imagined to be fully realized. For example, if they really want to have two children, and they therefore want a high 90 percent chance that this will work, they should start at the latest when the woman is about 27 years old. If the couple plans to use IVF when needed, they don't need to start until age 31. If the couple is satisfied with a lower 75 percent chance of having 2 children, they should start at the latest when the woman is 34, and 35 if they use IVF.

Desired number

  1. The latest starting age depends strongly on the desired number of children. For example, couples who want three children must start at the age of 23 with a high probability of 90 percent, while for 1 child they can wait until the 32nd. If the couple plans to use IVF if necessary, these ages move up to 4 years, as they do with 2 children.

Family plans

  1. The model was developed to help people plan their family formation. Many young people postpone having children without a clue as to whether it will work out later. "For good decision-making, it is important for couples to understand the chances that they will also realize their desired family size. And the results of our research provide this," says research leader Dik Habbema, of the Department of Public Health at Erasmus. MC. This is the first time such a family planning forecasting model has been developed. The model takes into account the desired number of children, the strength of the desire to have children, and whether the couple would like to undergo fertility treatments. The results of the research have been published in the journal Human Reproduction.

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