Research from experts at Erasmus University Medical Center about the ideal age to start trying to conceive depending on whether you want one, two or three children has resurfaced and been doing the rounds online
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When it comes to starting a family, some people may know they want to try and get pregnant immediately, some may never want to, while others might be keen but are feeling unsure when to get going with it.
If you fall into the latter category and don’t know whether you should be trying to conceive yet or not, then research from the Netherlands might be of interest to you.
A study published in 2015 by experts from the Erasmus University Medical Center that looks at the ideal ages to start trying for a baby depending on how many children you want, has recently resurfaced online.
This comes after it was announced earlier this month that female students at Cambridge University’s Murray Edwards College would be given fertility seminars this semester to warn them about the ‘ticking clock’ and avoid disappointment down the line.
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As part of the Erasmus study, the experts created a model that would allow aspiring parents to work out when they should start trying for a baby – with or without IVF treatment.
The researchers were aware that the chances of pregnancy decline with age, but that there was little focus on age and the chances of having more than one child.
So they established a computer simulation model of fertility, updated with recent IVF success rates, to simulate 10,000 couples in order to assess the chances of having a one, two or three-child family, for different female ages at which the couple starts trying to conceive.
The model uses three levels of importance that couples could attach to having a certain family size: Very important (equated with aiming for at least a 90 per cent success chance). Important but not at all costs (equated with a 75 per cent success chance) and good to have children, but a life without children is also fine (equated with a 50 per cent success chance).
Here’s a look at when the study says couples should start trying for kids, based on how many they would like to have and the level of importance…
If you and your partner just want the one child and getting pregnant is not of high importance right now, you might be pleased to hear you can wait until you are 41 to start trying naturally, which would give you a 50 per cent chance of conceiving.
For those who think having a baby is more important and want the best odds, the study recommends starting age 37 for a 75 per cent chance and 32 for a 90 per cent chance of getting pregnant.
If you are able to have IVF treatment, the ages are slightly pushed back, with a woman being able to wait until she’s 42 for a 50 per cent chance of having one child, 39 for a 75 per cent chance and age 35 for the best chance.
If you’d prefer not to have only one child and would like to have two little ones running about the house, the study suggests couples will have a 90 per cent chance of having two children if they start trying at 27 (without IVF).
This drops to a 75 per cent chance aged 34 and a 50 per cent chance by the time you reach 38.
With IVF, you’d have a 90 per cent chance of having two children if you started trying to conceive aged 31, a 75 per cent chance aged 35 and a 50 per cent chance by the time you are 39.
Unsurprisingly, the study shows women who wish to have more children would need to start trying at a much younger age if they don’t want to or cannot use IVF.
The experts say 23 years old is the ideal age to start for a 90 per cent chance of having three children naturally.
For a 75 per cent chance, you’d need to start age 31, while the odds are only at 50 per cent by the age of 35.
If you were to add IVF into the mix, couples would have a 90 per cent chance of having three kids if they started at age 28, a 75 per cent chance from 33 and a 50 per cent chance when they are 36.
In all of the categories, IVF meant that a woman had a higher chance of having kids at a later date.
But who can actually have IVF?
According to the NHS website, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence make recommendations about who should have access to IVF treatment on the NHS in England and Wales.
They add: “These guidelines recommend that IVF should be offered to women under the age of 43 who have been trying to get pregnant through regular unprotected sex for two years. Or who have had 12 cycles of artificial insemination, with at least six of these cycles using a method called intrauterine insemination.
“However, the final decision about who can have NHS-funded IVF in England is made by local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and their criteria may be stricter than those recommended by NICE.
“If you’re not eligible for NHS treatment, or you decide to pay for IVF, you can have treatment at a private clinic. Costs vary, but one cycle of treatment may cost up to £5,000 or more.”
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