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Parents believe 30s are 'optimal age for parenting'

Washington, Sat, 10 Mar 2012 ANI

Washington, Mar 10 (ANI): Most people who have their first child after the age of 40 feel that the "optimal age for parenting" is in the 30s, according to a small new study.


They maintained that older parenting has more advantages than disadvantages.


The University of California, San Francisco, study was limited to 107 people, most of them white, married and with above-average incomes. The authors said future research should include a more diverse group and should follow up on the older parents once their children reach the teens.


Researchers interviewed 46 couples and 15 single women who had used in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive their first child when the woman was 40 or older.


80 percent of the women and 70 percent of the men who were study participants said 30s was the best age for parenting, and many indicated that it was only their circumstances that kept them from becoming parents then.


The participants were asked what they thought were the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a parent at this point in their lives.


"A majority of women and men in the study believed that childbearing later in life resulted in advantages for themselves and their families," Fox News quoted the study authors as saying in their findings.


The chief advantage, according to the participants, was that they were more emotionally prepared for parenting - 72 percent of women and 57 percent of men said this was an advantage.


Still, the women tended to say they would have wanted to have children earlier had they met their partner sooner.


"I think if I could have written out the story of my life, I would have met him younger, and I probably would have had children maybe at 35," one woman said.


Nearly half the women said that the difficulties they had in conceiving, and the need to use IVF, were the primary disadvantages of trying to become a parent at a later age.


Participants also said they believed they would have had more energy for parenting if they were younger. More than a third of the women and a quarter of the men said a disadvantage was a lack of physical energy.


Other disadvantages cited were concerns about being healthy and living long enough to see their children become adults; having a smaller family than they'd wished; and feeling stigmatized for being older parents.


The findings of the study were published online February 14 in the journal Human Reproduction. (ANI)


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