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Still childless at the age of 28 to 40 years: A cross-sectional study of Swedish women's and men's reproductive intentions

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Abstract

Delayed childbearing is associated with adverse reproductive outcomes. Our aim was to investigate Swedish women's and men's childbearing intentions at the age of 28, 32, 36 and 40years, in terms of: (1) time point for a first child, (2) number of children, and (3) reasons for not yet having children. Cross-sectional data from the Swedish Young Adult Panel Study, including 365 childless women and 356 childless men aged 28, 32, 36 and 40years who responded to a questionnaire in 2009. Descriptive and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted. Most 28- and 32-year-olds intended to have children, but only 32% of women and 37% of men aged 36/40years (merged), many of whom still postponed childbearing. Reasons for remaining childless differed by age. Most prominent in the 36/40-year-olds were: lack of a partner (women 60%, men 59%), no desire for children (women 44%, men 44%), not mature enough (women 29%, men 35%), and wanting to do other things before starting a family (women 26%, men 33%). The 36/40-year-olds had the highest odds for infertility problems (OR 3.8; CI 95% 1.8-7.9) and lacking a suitable partner (OR 1.8 CI 95% 1.1-3.0), and lower odds for reasons related to work and financial situation. Many childless 36- and 40-year-olds intended to have children but seemed to overestimate their fecundity. The most prominent reasons for being childless were: not having wanted children up to now, lack of a partner, infertility problems, and prioritising an independent life.

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... To describe the experience of women who get pregnant above the age of 35 and analyze their experience from the perspective of gender and vulnerability Qualitative/ Descriptive 16 women in the puerperal cycle aged [36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48] Women see positive points in pregnancy above the age of 35 such as maturity, discernment, and stability in their relationships and professional life. The negative points are tiredness, generational discrimination, and health problems. ...
... In this study, the results also show that waiting to achieve financial stability influences the time of conception. However, even though career and work-related issues are mentioned as the main reasons for postponing, there are authors (3,47) who show that the primary reason is the choice of the right partner to build a family with. ...
... With maturity, women feel more competent and secure to look after their children (41,(50)(51) . In contrast, one study (47) found that even older women may feel too immature to conceive. Of the women between 36 and 40 years of age who were studied, the majority showed that they did not want to or did not know whether they wanted to have children, either because they had not found the right partner or because they did not feel mature enough to build a family. ...
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OBJECTIVE To identify in the literature how the experiences of women age 35 or above are described in terms of pregnancy. METHOD Integrative review based on MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, LILACS, and SciELO databases, with no time period constraint. RESULTS Eighteen studies that dealt with the experiences of pregnant women at an advanced maternal age were selected and analyzed. The studies evidenced four theme categories: the search for information, which pointed to a deficit of information supplied by health care professionals; perceiving the risks, which pointed to women's concerns about their own health and their children's; the ideal moment for motherhood, with different reasons for postponing it; and adjusting to a new routine, showing a concern regarding changes in daily life. CONCLUSION From the results, it was possible to understand that other factors, in addition to those that include risks, are present in the experiences of older pregnant women and point to a need to involve such aspects in nursing care to create comprehensive strategies that are aligned with these women's needs.
... Studies investigating reasons for delaying childbirth have reported the significance of the following factors: high level of education, occupational career, prolonged adolescence [8][9][10][11][12][13], wanting to explore other aspects of life before becoming a parent [9,[13][14][15], not feeling mature enough, and difficulties finding a suitable partner [10,13]. Some factors may be beyond the control of the individual, since fertility motivation at the age of 14-21 years was shown in one study already to be a strong predictor of future reproductive behaviour [16]. ...
... Studies investigating reasons for delaying childbirth have reported the significance of the following factors: high level of education, occupational career, prolonged adolescence [8][9][10][11][12][13], wanting to explore other aspects of life before becoming a parent [9,[13][14][15], not feeling mature enough, and difficulties finding a suitable partner [10,13]. Some factors may be beyond the control of the individual, since fertility motivation at the age of 14-21 years was shown in one study already to be a strong predictor of future reproductive behaviour [16]. ...
... Studies investigating reasons for delaying childbirth have reported the significance of the following factors: high level of education, occupational career, prolonged adolescence [8][9][10][11][12][13], wanting to explore other aspects of life before becoming a parent [9,[13][14][15], not feeling mature enough, and difficulties finding a suitable partner [10,13]. Some factors may be beyond the control of the individual, since fertility motivation at the age of 14-21 years was shown in one study already to be a strong predictor of future reproductive behaviour [16]. ...
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The aim of this study was to investigate if family background and attitudes in early adulthood contribute to postponement of parenthood. Postponement of parenthood is associated with increased need for artificial reproductive techniques, increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes and reduced fertility rates. This was a cohort study including 1000 women and men aged 22 years from the Swedish Young Adult Panel Study. Questionnaire data were linked to information from the Swedish Total Population Register 10 years later. Logistic regression analyses were conducted. Background factors associated with being childless were: being second-generation Polish or Turkish (odds ratio [OR] 1.5; 95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.2-2.0), growing up in a large city (OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.1-2.0), well-educated mother (OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.1-1.9) or father (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.1-1.9), no siblings (OR 1.9; 95% CI 1.1-3.2), living in parental home (OR 2.2; 95% CI 1.6-3.1), less than good assessment of own mother (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.2-2.7) or father (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.0-1.9) as a parent, and less than satisfactory relationship with own mother (OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.1-2.1). Attitudes associated with being childless were: not enjoying children (OR 2.7; 95% CI 2.0-3.6), finding that one could be satisfied in life without being a good parent (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.7-3.0) and not assuming that one will have children in the future (OR 2.9; 95% CI 2.1-3.9). The findings suggest that postponement of parenthood to the age of 32 could partly be explained by family background and negative or ambivalent attitudes to children and parenthood in early adulthood. © 2015 the Nordic Societies of Public Health.
... Quantitative studies had widely varying recruitment methods, from randomly selected population samples (Holden et al., 2005;Langdridge et al., 2005;Trent et al., 2006;Virtala et al., 2006Virtala et al., , 2011Koropeckyj-Cox and Pendell, 2007;Tough et al., 2007;Puur et al., 2008;Anderson et al., 2009;Jokela and Keltikangas-Jarvinen, 2009;Liefbroer, 2009;Jamieson et al., 2010;Iacovou and Taveres, 2011;Roberts et al., 2011;Kaufman and Bernhardt, 2012;Polis and Zabin, 2012;Hammarberg et al., 2013;Kessler et al., 2013;Louis et al., 2013;Schytt et al., 2014;Nilsen et al., 2015) to self-selected convenience samples from single institutions (Sydsjö et al., 2006;Thompson and Lee, 2011a, b;Chan et al., 2015;Morita et al., 2016). The population-based surveys that collected data via telephone interview used either random-digit dialing or random selection of households from electronic telephone directories to recruit participants. ...
... As with desire for parenthood, there was broad concurrence between studies about the number of children men wanted. Most men wanted at least two children Skoog Svanberg et al., 2006;Virtala et al., 2006;Peterson et al., 2012;Schytt et al., 2014;Sylvest et al., 2014;Meissner et al., 2016;Morita et al., 2016) and the average number of children men hoped to have was similar to the number women wanted . Two studies evaluated changes in the expected number of children and found that this was more likely to be revised down than up over time (Liefbroer, 2009;Iacovou and Taveres, 2011). ...
... Some cross-sectional studies explored men's fertility decisionmaking and outcomes. The most commonly stated reasons for being childless at ages 36 and 40 among men in Sweden were the lack of a partner (56%), no desire for children (44%) and not being mature enough (35%) (Schytt et al., 2014). Among childless men aged 40 years in the USA, 50% stated that they desired children. ...
Article
Background: The increasingly common practice in high-income countries to delay childbearing to the fourth and fifth decades of life increases the risk of involuntary childlessness or having fewer children than desired. Older age also increases the risk of age-related infertility, the need for ART to conceive, and obstetric and neonatal complications. Existing research relating to childbearing focusses almost exclusively on women, and in public discourse declining fertility rates are often assumed to be the result of women delaying childbearing to pursue other life goals such as a career and travel. However, evidence suggests that the lack of a partner or a partner willing to commit to parenthood is the main reason for later childbearing. Objective and rationale: To better understand men's contributions to childbearing decisions and outcomes, the literature pertaining to men's fertility-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours was reviewed. Search methods: The electronic databases of Medline, Embase and PsycINFO were searched to identify investigations of men's knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility, infertility, reproductive health or childbearing using relevant fertility keyword search terms. Studies were included if they had investigated factors associated with men's fertility-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, had been conducted in a high-income country and were published in an English language peer-reviewed journal between January 2005 and August 2016. Outcomes: The search yielded 1349 citations. Of these, 47 papers representing 43 unique studies were included in the review. Where response rate was reported, it ranged between 13 and 94%. Studies varied in terms of research design; inclusion and exclusion criteria; recruitment strategies; adequacy of sample size; recruitment and retention rates and data collection tools. However, findings were consistent and indicate that men almost universally value parenthood, want and expect to become fathers, and aspire to have at least two children. Yet most men have inadequate knowledge about the limitations of female and male fertility and overestimate the chance of spontaneous and assisted conception. Perceptions of ideal circumstances in which to have children included being in a stable and loving relationship, having completed studies, secured a permanent job and a dependable income, having achieved personal maturity, and having a partner who desires children and is 'suitable' as a potential co-parent. Although all studies were conducted in high-income countries, between-country social and cultural differences may have influenced the findings relating to attitudes. Wider implications: Men aspire to parenthood as much as women do but have limited knowledge about the factors that influence fertility. The gap between ideal biological and ideal social age for having children appears to be widening, narrowing the time frame in which parenthood can be achieved. This may lead to unfulfilled parenthood aspirations. The findings can inform government policies and public education strategies aimed to support childbearing during the most fertile years, reduce the personal and societal cost of infertility and ART use, and allow people to fulfil their parenthood goals.
... Previous studies of attitudes towards family formation among men and women have included students Peterson et al., 2012;Svanberg et al., 2006;Virtala et al., 2011), women of higher reproductive age , fertility patients (Schytt et al., 2014) and population-based samples (Daniluk and Koert, 2013;Hammarberg et al., 2013;Tough et al., 2007;Vassard et al., 2016). ...
... A semi-structured interview guide was developed with open-ended questions focusing on family formation intentions and attitudes. The interview questions were informed by previous studies on family formation attitudes and fertility awareness (Eriksson et al., 2012;Lampic et al., 2006;Mortensen et al., 2012;Schytt et al., 2014). The main question was: 'What are your thoughts about forming a family?' ...
... Consistent with previous literature, men and women expressed similar ideals about what they believed should be in place before starting a family (e.g. a suitable partner, to have finished school, established their career, etc.) (Hammarberg et al., 2017b;Roberts et al., 2011;Schytt et al., 2014). As in earlier studies, men and women both wanted to have children at the 'right' time (e.g. ...
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Men and women are increasingly postponing childbearing until an age where fertility has decreased, meaning that they might have difficulties in achieving their desired family size. This study explored childless men's attitudes towards family formation. Data were collected through semi-structured qualitative interviews with 21 men attending the Fertility Assessment and Counselling Clinic in Copenhagen or Horsens, Denmark. Data were analysed using content analysis. The men envisioned a nuclear family with their own biological children, but they experienced doubts and ambivalence about parenthood and feeling ‘ready’. Their lack of readiness was linked to their awareness of the sacrifices and costs involved with parenthood, and their belief that they could safely delay parenthood. The men did not consider that they may be unable to have their own biological children. This study highlights the importance of considering men's attitudes and preferences towards family formation when understanding couples' decision-making. Contrary to common understanding, the findings show that men are as concerned with the planning and timing of parenthood as women, but their knowledge of the age-related decline in fertility is poor. Men need to gain more awareness of the limitations of fertility and the impact of female and male age on the ability to achieve parenthood aspirations.
... Postponement of childbearing therefore increases the risk of not achieving a desired family size despite access to fertility treatment (Joffe, Key, Best, Jensen, & Keiding, 2009;Leridon, 2004;Mills, Rindfuss, McDonald, & te Velde, 2011). Childless women of advanced age intend to have children but overestimate their fecundity (Schytt, Nilsen, & Bernhardt, 2014). Earlier studies of reproductive intentions among women and men have included: students Peterson, Pirritano, Tucker, & Lampic, 2012;Svanberg et al., 2006;Virtala, Vilska, Huttunen, & Kunttu, 2011), women of higher reproductive age, infertile patients (Schytt et al., 2014) and population-based samples (Daniluk & Koert, 2013;Hammarberg et al., 2013;Tough, Tofflemire, Benzies, Fraser-Lee, & Newburn-Cook, 2007). ...
... Childless women of advanced age intend to have children but overestimate their fecundity (Schytt, Nilsen, & Bernhardt, 2014). Earlier studies of reproductive intentions among women and men have included: students Peterson, Pirritano, Tucker, & Lampic, 2012;Svanberg et al., 2006;Virtala, Vilska, Huttunen, & Kunttu, 2011), women of higher reproductive age, infertile patients (Schytt et al., 2014) and population-based samples (Daniluk & Koert, 2013;Hammarberg et al., 2013;Tough, Tofflemire, Benzies, Fraser-Lee, & Newburn-Cook, 2007). This study investigated women attending The Fertility Assessment and Counselling Clinic (FAC Clinic) at Rigshospitalet, Denmark. ...
... We developed a semistructured interview-guide with open-ended questions focusing on family formation intentions. The interview topics were formed by knowledge and experiences from the researchers and by previous studies on family formation and fertility awareness (Eriksson, Larsson, & Tyd en, 2012;Lampic et al., 2006;Mortensen, Hegaard, Nyboe Andersen, & Bentzen, 2012;Schytt et al., 2014). The topics were introduced by the interviewer if the participants did not spontaneously address them. ...
Article
This study aimed to explore attitudes towards family formation in single or cohabiting childless women of advanced age. The design comprised semi-structured qualitative interviews of 20 women aged 34-39 years attending the Fertility Assessment and Counselling Clinic, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen. A sample of 10 single women and 10 cohabiting women was chosen with equal distribution of postgraduate education length. Data were analysed using content analysis following the method of Graneheim and Lundman and consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ). The general attitude towards family formation was characterized by a fear of the consequences of choosing motherhood on one hand, and a 'ticking biological clock' and a wish to establish a nuclear family on the other. The women idealized the perception of perfect mothering in terms of uncompromising expectations of child rearing and showed an increasing awareness of solo motherhood as a possible solution to advanced age, the wish of a child and single status compared to earlier studies. Our study contributes to knowledge and understanding of personal considerations related to childbearing in nullipara women in their mid- to late 30s and may be useful in a fertility assessment and counselling setting.
... D'autres facteurs rentrent également en ligne de compte. Selon certaines études, les deux raisons les plus prégnantes seraient le fait de ne pas avoir rencontré le partenaire adapté (60 %) et le non-désir d'enfant (45 %) [6,25]. Schytt et al. [25] évoquent aussi une priorité donnée à une vie « indépendante » associée à un refus de grandir qui se retrouverait très présente chez les adultes de plus de 35 ans, ainsi que des raisons d'ordre matériel (avoir une situation professionnelle stable, une meilleure situation financière ou un logement plus adapté). ...
... Selon certaines études, les deux raisons les plus prégnantes seraient le fait de ne pas avoir rencontré le partenaire adapté (60 %) et le non-désir d'enfant (45 %) [6,25]. Schytt et al. [25] évoquent aussi une priorité donnée à une vie « indépendante » associée à un refus de grandir qui se retrouverait très présente chez les adultes de plus de 35 ans, ainsi que des raisons d'ordre matériel (avoir une situation professionnelle stable, une meilleure situation financière ou un logement plus adapté). Enfin, les auteurs remarquent que les hommes et les femmes ne semblent pas beaucoup se soucier du déclin de la fertilité féminine, malgré les mises en garde faites par le corps médical. ...
... Par ailleurs, nous retrouvons dans les deux groupes l'importance du choix du bon partenaire dans l'élaboration de ce désir, confirmant les observations de l'étude de Schytt et al. [25]. Le désir d'enfant ne s'inscrit pas seulement dans le désir féminin, mais dans la jonction du désir chez la femme et chez l'homme. ...
Article
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Les grossesses après l’âge de 35 ans deviennent de plus en plus fréquentes à travers le monde. L’objectif de cette étude était d’explorer l’expérience de la grossesse et le désir d’enfant chez de futures mères primipares âgées de plus 35 ans ( n = 10), comparées à des femmes enceintes âgées de moins de 35 ans ( n = 10). Les femmes ont répondu à l’entretien IRMAG entre la 28 e et la 32 e semaine d’aménorrhée. Les femmes plus âgées montrent plus d’ambitions de carrière, plus d’expression d’ambivalence dans leur désir d’enfant et plus de difficultés d’intégration des changements corporels que les plus jeunes. Les femmes plus âgées ont tendance à avoir des représentations intégrées centrées sur soi, alors que les femmes plus jeunes ont davantage des représentations intégrées centrées sur l’enfant.
... The vast majority of women and men who attend university in Sweden, Finland, England, Canada, USA, and Australia wish to have children, preferably two, and they most commonly intend to have their first baby in their late 20s and early 30s (12)(13)(14)(15)(16). Some individuals, mainly men, even plan to have their first child at the age of 35 or later (17). ...
... Nilsen et al revealed a negative correlation between low socioeconomic status and age of first childbirth (7). Several studies have also highlighted financial insecurity as a major reason for delayed childbearing (7,9,16,17). In a study by Thompson and Lee, Australian men reported financial security and a permanent stable job as main prerequisites for parenthood (1). ...
... Several studies have identified perceived physical and emotional preparedness (i.e. feeling that an ideal environment for having and raising a child has been prepared), the ability to accept parental responsibilities, and awareness of risks associated with delayed fatherhood as important factors in childbearing decisions (1,7,17,35). ...
Article
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Background Factors that influence men’s childbearing intentions have been relatively unexplored in the literature. Objective This study aimed to determine the influencing factors about the first childbearing timing decisions of men. Materials and Methods In this cross-sectional study, 300 men who were referred to private and governmental healthcare centers in Shahrood, Iran were randomly recruited from April to September 2014. Data were collected using a demographic questionnaire, the Quality of Life Questionnaire; ENRICH Marital Satisfaction Questionnaire, Synder’s Hope Scale, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Results After removing the statistically insignificant paths, men’s age at marriage had the highest direct effect (β=0.86) on their first childbearing decision. Marital satisfaction (β=-0.09), social support (β=0.06), economic status (β=0.06), and quality of life (β=-0.08) were other effective factors on men’s first childbearing decisions. Moreover, marital satisfaction and social support had significant indirect effects on men’s childbearing decisions (β=-0.04 and -0.01, respectively). Conclusion Many factors, including personal factors (age at marriage and quality of life), family factors (marital satisfaction), and social factors (social support), can affect men’s decision to have a child. Policymakers are hence required to develop strategies to promote the socioeconomic and family conditions of the couples and to encourage them to have as many children as they desire at an appropriate time.
... Cross-sectional data from YAPS were used to investigate reproductive intentions in a subsample of women and men at age 28, 32, 36, and 40 years who were still childless, in total 365 women and 356 men (7). Reasons for remaining childless in the youngest (28 years) and oldest groups (including 36-and 40-year-olds) are presented in Figure 2. ...
... Lifestyle factors such as not feeling sufficiently mature for parenthood and not living in a stable relationship are often rated as the most important reasons for waiting (10,13). Our populationbased sample of older participants supports these findings (7), but the other studies in Postponing Parenthood add additional explanations. The longitudinal study indicated that experiences during childhood may have long-lasting effects on the timing of parenthood, and such factors are not revealed when adults think about reasons why they are still childless. ...
... Figure 3 illustrates that older women may well have tried to become pregnant several years earlier without success. This may be a reflection of low fertility awareness, which was found in the oldest participants in YAPS (36 þ 40 years), of whom one-third of the women and half of the men thought they could continue to postpone the first pregnancy (7). Similar trends have been reported in Swedish university students, half of whom planned to have children after age 35 years (10). ...
Article
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The aim of the Postponing Parenthood project was to investigate several aspects of the delaying of childbearing phenomenon in Sweden and Norway, such as medical risks and parental experiences. Data were retrieved from the Swedish and Norwegian Medical Birth Registers and three different cohorts: the Swedish Young Adult Panel Study, the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort, and the Swedish Women's Experiences of Childbirth cohort. Postponing childbirth to age 35 years and later increased the risk of rare but serious pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth and very preterm birth. Older first-time parents were slightly more anxious during pregnancy, and childbirth overall was experienced as more difficult, compared with younger age groups. First-time mothers' satisfaction with life decreased from about age 28 years, both when measured during pregnancy and early parenthood. Delaying parenthood to mid-30 or later was more related to lifestyle than socioeconomic factors, suggesting that much could be done in terms of informing young persons about the limitations of fertility and assisted reproductive techniques, and the risks associated with advanced parental age.
... Du point de vue des individus, c'est d'ailleurs souvent la première raison avancée pour expliquer l'absence d'enfant après la trentaine. Par exemple, dans une étude par questionnaire réalisée en Suède auprès d'hommes et de femmes sans enfant âgé·es de 28, 32, 36 et 40 ans, tandis que les personnes les plus jeunes avançaient plutôt des considérations financières ou professionnelles, l'absence de partenaire était surtout citée pour expliquer le fait de ne pas (encore) avoir d'enfant parmi les plus âgé·es (36/40 ans) (Schytt, Nilsen et Bernhardt, 2014). De même, dans une enquête menée à partir de 18 entretiens approfondis au Royaume-Uni auprès de femmes cherchant à avoir ou attendant un premier enfant à 35 ans ou plus, les discours recueillis mettaient plus en avant l'absence de conjoint que des préoccupations relatives à la carrière professionnelle ou aux études pour expliquer le fait de ne pas (encore) avoir fondé de famille (Cooke, Mills et Lavender, 2012). ...
... Si, pendant la jeunesse, la remise à plus tard de l'entrée en parentalité est plus expliquée par des 25 Recours à l'IVG en Amérique latine, à la gestation pour autrui (GPA) et à l'AMP à l'étranger. 39 aspects liés à l'emploi ou aux études, après la trentaine, c'est plutôt l'absence de partenaire qui est soulignée (Cooke, Mills et Lavender, 2012 ;Schytt, Nilsen et Bernhardt, 2014 ;Vialle, 2017). De plus, les intentions de fécondité sont relativement variables au fil des âges (Hayford, 2009) et un désir d'enfant peut en particulier émerger tardivement. ...
Thesis
Depuis les années 1980, les naissances tardives sont plus nombreuses dans les pays occidentaux et sont de plus en plus des premiers enfants. Cette thèse s’intéresse à l’entrée tardive en maternité et en paternité, dans le contexte français caractérisé par une norme parentale forte. En premier lieu, je propose une réflexion sur la définition d'un âge tardif à la première naissance, retenant les seuils de 35 ans pour les femmes et de 38 ans pour les hommes. Ainsi définie, l’entrée tardive en parentalité se comprend de façon ambivalente par rapport aux normes : d’un côté, elle peut être perçue comme un écart choisi à la norme procréative, notamment au « bon âge » pour concevoir. De l’autre, on peut la voir comme un produit de l’encadrement normatif qui définit les « bonnes conditions » préalables à l’arrivée d’un enfant. Cette ambivalence est d’abord perceptible dans l’analyse textuelle d’un corpus de médias. L’objectif est ensuite de comprendre l’augmentation des premières naissances tardives au regard du genre, du niveau de diplôme, et des parcours professionnels et conjugaux. Pour cela, je recours à des matériaux et méthodes qualitatifs (entretiens) et quantitatifs – EDP (Insee, 2016) et enquête Épic (Ined-Insee, 2013–2014). Si les personnes ayant le plus de ressources culturelles et sociales sont celles qui reportent le plus souvent l’entrée en parentalité, une renégociation des normes est aussi plus aisée pour ces groupes. L’analyse du rattrapage d’une première naissance à des âges procréatifs tardifs est l’occasion de voir se déployer, dans l’accès au statut de parent, des processus inégaux selon le genre et le milieu social.
... Such data could also be used to inform school-based programs that can be an effective way of educating young people about factors influencing later fertility. 17 Research suggests a growing trend toward delaying parenthood, 13 with factors such as not being in a stable relationship, 18,19 pursuing a career, [18][19][20] financial situation, 19 and being unaware that fertility is agerelated 18 potentially influencing this delay. In particular, educational status has been proposed as a major factor in this delay as people tend to postpone having children in order to complete their education and establish a career. ...
... In particular, educational status has been proposed as a major factor in this delay as people tend to postpone having children in order to complete their education and establish a career. 20,21 Despite these trends, studies examining fertility intentions have found most people want to have children, 5,13,14,19 with most wanting their first child in their late 20s and early 30s. 5,13,14,19 Again, these studies have primarily been conducted in adult samples such as undergraduates, 5,13,14,19 women, 15 or in specialised samples such as pregnant women 22 or pregnant adolescents. ...
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Objective: This paper reports on fertility knowledge and intentions to have children among a national sample of students in years 10-12. Method: Data were from the Fifth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health. Students identified factors that could affect fertility, if they wanted children and at what age. Results: Most students wanted to have children (77%). Of those who wanted children or were unsure (n=1,780), 54% were able to identify six of eight factors that could affect fertility. Male students had poorer knowledge than females. Poorer knowledge was also reported by male students who were born overseas or used marijuana and by female students who were sexually active or religious. More than half the students (59%) wanted their first child aged 25-29, while 19% wanted their first child after 30. Intentions to have children at an earlier age were associated with being religious, sexually active (females), and using marijuana (males). Students not exclusively attracted to the opposite sex were more likely to want children at an older age. Conclusions and implications: Most students typically want children in their late 20s. Many were unaware of factors that could affect their fertility and there was a mismatch between intentions and likely behaviour. These factors could be addressed as part of relationship education.
... On the other hand, the reasons for delayed childbearing may be considered as the risks for delayed childbearing. From the previous studies (Hammarberg and Clarke, 2005;Wiebe et al., 2012;Schytt et al., 2014;Birch Petersen et al., 2015), the major reasons for delayed childbearing vary depending upon the characteristic of each population such as age, gender, level of education, economic situation, and lack of fertility awareness. ...
... Even their own health and other burdens seem to matter less. These findings are similar to the trends observed all over the world (Hammarberg and Clarke, 2005;Craig et al., 2014;Schytt et al., 2014;Birch Petersen et al., 2015;Kearney and White, 2016;Daniluk and Koert, 2017). We are the first survey from Asia where 60% of global population resided and this may reflect the gender inequality in reproduction in this region (Mehrotra and Kapoor, 2009). ...
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Background: The delayed childbearing has doubled in prevalence during the last decade. It affects reproductive health, population distribution and economy. We use the public health approach to survey among women aged at least 35 years seeking fertility treatment. Methods: A self-administered questionnaire-based survey was conducted in women aged at least 35 years attending an infertility clinic in a university hospital. The questionnaire consisted of background information and three domains: (1) reasons for delayed childbearing, (2) required social policy incentives, and (3) acceptability toward infertility treatment. Each domain was scored from ‘5 — most important’ to ‘1 — least important’. Results: A total of 590 women (median age 38.0 years) were recruited; 86.4% of them held at least a bachelor degree and 93.2% had higher income than Thailand’s GDP per capita. They thought that the most appropriate age to have the first child was 28.7 years. The top three reasons for delayed childbearing were “I need more financial security”, “no spouse”, and “I need progress on my career”. The participants thought that “paid paternity leave”, “increase paid maternity leave”, and “good quality childcare” were essential for them to make an earlier fertility decision. The most acceptable infertility treatments were IUI, IVF/ICSI, and social oocyte banking. Conclusions: Women who delayed childbearing focus on financial and career security or finding the proper partner before fertility decision making. However, they have greater concerns over family welfare than money when it comes to domestic issues. The social policy and the related fertility treatment should adapt to serve the needs of the people and promote national fertility rate.
... Nesse estudo, os resultados mostraram também que a espera pela estabilidade financeira influencia no tempo para a concepção. Porém, embora a carreira e as questões de trabalho sejam citadas como os principais motivos para o adiamento, há autores (3,47) que mostram que a razão primordial é a escolha pelo parceiro certo para a constituição de uma família. ...
... Com a maturidade, a mulher se sente mais competente e segura para cuidar do seu filho (41,(50)(51) . Em contrapartida, um estudo (47) mostra que mesmo as mulheres mais velhas podem sentir-se imaturas para conceber um filho. Das mulheres de 36 a 40 anos pesquisadas, a maioria revelou que não desejava ou não sabia se queria ter filhos, ou porque não havia encontrado o parceiro certo ou não se sentia madura o suficiente para constituir uma família. ...
... Research investigating fertility postponement and childlessness in high-income countries finds that people adjust their fertility desires to situational factors and adjust their desires if they are unlikely to be met [75]. In a Swedish study, Schytt et al. [76] explored how age influenced intention to become a parent among childless adults. They also investigated the interaction between age and other factors known to associate with reproductive intentions, such as concerns about fecundity, finding a suitable partner, independence, career trade-offs and economic limitations (see §6l,n). ...
... In a Swedish sample, concerns about career-childbearing conflicts explained childlessness in men and women in their late 20s and early 30s [76]. This was less prevalent among older childless Swedes where the loss of independence was a major concern. ...
Article
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Cultural, ecological, familial and physiological factors consistently influence fertility behaviours, however, the proximate psychological mechanisms underlying fertility decisions in humans are poorly understood. Understanding the psychological mechanisms underlying human fertility may illuminate the final processes by which some of these known predictors have their influence. To date, research into the psychological mechanisms underlying fertility has been fragmented. Aspects of reproductive psychology have been examined by researchers in a range of fields, but the findings have not been systematically integrated in one review. We provide such a review, examining current theories and research on psychological mechanisms of fertility. We examine the methods and populations used in the research, as well as the disciplines and theoretical perspectives from which the work has come. Much of the work that has been done to date is methodologically limited to examining correlations between ecological, social and economic factors and fertility. We propose, and support with examples, the use of experimental methods to differentiate causal factors from correlates. We also discuss weaknesses in the experimental research, including limited work with non-WEIRD (western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic) populations.
... Studies have addressed the attitudes towards family formation and fertility awareness primarily in general terms among students, infertile couples and women and men of higher reproductive age Skoog Svanberg et al., 2006;Tydén et al., 2006;Virtala et al., 2011;Mortensen et al., 2012;Schytt et al., 2014;Chan et al., 2015). ...
... Contrary to the results of previous studies (Proudfoot et al., 2009;Baldwin et al., 2014;Schytt et al., 2014) having a partner was not the most important prerequisite for childbearing. Among the single women, personal circumstances such as maturity, the ability to combine work and children and access to day care were considered more important than having a partner. ...
Article
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STUDY QUESTION: What characterizes childless women aged 35 years and above seeking fertility assessment and counselling in relation to their reproduction and are there significant differences between single and cohabiting women? SUMMARY ANSWER: Despite the women's advanced age and knowledge of the age-related decline in fecundity, 70% of the single women sought fertility assessment and counselling to gain knowledge regarding the possibility of postponing pregnancy. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Recent studies have indicated an increasing demand for ovarian reserve testing in women without any known fertility problem to obtain knowledge on their reproductive lifespan and pro-fertility advice. Women postpone their first pregnancy, and maternal age at first birth has increased in western societies over the past two to four decades. Postponed childbearing implies a higher rate of involuntary childlessness, smaller families than desired and declining fertility rates. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, AND DURATION: Baseline data from a cross-sectional cohort study of 340 women aged 35-43 years examined at the Fertility Assessment and Counselling (FAC) Clinic at Copenhagen University Hospital from 2011 to 2014. The FAC Clinic was initiated to provide individual fertility assessment and counselling. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Eligible women were childless and at least 35 years of age. All completed a web-based questionnaire before and after the consultation including socio-demographic, reproductive, medical, lifestyle and behavioural factors. Consultation by a fertility specialist included transvaginal ultrasound, full reproductive history and AMH measurement. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The study comprised 140 cohabiting and 200 single women. The majority (82%) were well-educated and in employment. Their mean age was 37.4 years. Nonetheless, the main reasons for attending were to obtain knowledge regarding the possibility of postponing pregnancy (63%) and a concern about their fecundity (52%). The majority in both groups (60%) wished for two or more children. The women listed their ideal age at birth of first child and last child as 33 (±4.7) years and 39 (±3.5) years, respectively. Of the single women, 70% would accept use of sperm donation compared with 25% of the cohabiting women (P < 0.001). In general, 45% considered oocyte vitrification for social reasons, yet only 15% were positive towards oocyte donation. The two groups were comparable regarding lifestyle factors, number of previous sexual partners, pregnancies, and ovarian reserve parameters. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The women in the present study were conscious of the risk of infertility with increasing age and attended the FAC Clinic due to a concern about their remaining reproductive lifespan, which in combination with their high educational level could impair the generalizability to the background population. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: The results indicate that in general women overestimate their own reproductive capacity and underestimate the risk of future childlessness with the continuous postponement of pregnancies. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS: The FAC Clinic is a part of the ReproSund and ReproHigh collaboration that is 50% co-financed by EU-regional funding. This study also received funding through the Capital Region Research Fund. The authors have no conflict of interest. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Not applicable.
... However, people commonly overestimate their chances of becoming pregnant, both spontaneously and through MAR (Pedro et al., 2018), and having children after 35 years of age is seldom what people initially wanted or planned (Cooke et al., 2012). Instead, being childless at 35 years of age is usually attributed to a history of fertility problems, not feeling mature enough, not having found the right partner, a wish to do other things first, or a mere lack of desire to have children (Friese et al., 2008;Schytt et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Reproductive decision-making and fertility patterns change with time and place, and are influenced by contemporary societal factors. In this paper, we have studied biosocial aspects of reproductive decision-making over time and generations in a Nordic setting. The aim was to explore intergenerational changes and influences on decision-making, especially regarding preconditions to first birth. Twenty-six focus group interviews were conducted in southern Sweden, including a total of 110 participants aged 17–90 years. The analysis of the interviews resulted in six themes: (i) ‘Providing security – an intergenerational precondition’; (ii) ‘A growing smorgasbord of choices and requirements’; (iii) ‘Parenthood becoming a project’; (iv) ‘Stretched out life stages’; (v) ‘(Im)possibilities to procreate’; and (vi) ‘Intergenerational pronatalism’. Our findings reflect increasing expectations on what it means to be prepared for parenthood. Despite increasing awareness of the precariousness of romantic relationships, people still wish to build new families but try to be as prepared as possible for adverse events. The findings also show how increasing life expectancy and medical advancements have come to influence people’s views on their reproductive timeline.
... Žene, u zavisnosti od uzrasta, navode različite razloge u korist odluke da nemaju dete, npr. nedovoljnu želju za materinstvom, zatim želju da više toga prožive, a u kasnijim uzrastima i nedostatak odgovarajućeg partnera (Schytt, 2014). Stiče se utisak da savremena žena nema negativan stav prema materinstvu (Baber et al., 1988;Mortensen et all., 2012;Sedlecky, 2011), ali ga privremeno vidi kao prepreku za ostvarenje drugih potencijala i prava, poput obrazovanja i razvoja karijere (Nelson, 2004;Svanberg et al., 2006). ...
Article
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Main goal of the research was to explore the relationship between motivation for motherhood and some of the sociodemographic variables which have been noticed as significant in the similar researches of other authors, as well as relation to the gender roles and gender identity, according to the model proposed by Sandra Bem. The study was conducted on the sample consisting of 571 female students in Belgrade. Statistically significant correlations are confirmed between motivation for motherhood and number of siblings, age of subject's mother and age of subject's mother at first birth. The highest correlation is found between motivation for motherhood and femininity. It is also proposed a preliminary questioner, as the first step of constructing an adequate instrument for measuring motivation for motherhood. The questioner is used for estimation of motivation for motherhood in this research.
... We developed a semi-structured interview-guide with openended questions focusing on family formation intentions. The interview topics were formed by knowledge and experiences from the researchers and by previous studies on family formation and fertility awareness [135,[137][138][139]. The interview took place one week before consultation at the FAC Clinic. ...
Article
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The overall aim of this thesis was to validate the new concept of the Fertility Assessment and Counselling (FAC) Clinic at Rigshospitalet. The intention was to: explore the prognostic value of fertility risk factors by a risk score and provide an estimate of female fecundity, to quantify the impact of oral contraception (OC) on ovarian reserve parameters defined as Anti Müllerian Hormone (AMH), Antral Follicle Count (AFC) and ovarian volume, and to gain knowledge of attitudes and considerations toward family formation in women of advanced age. The thesis is based on the following four manuscripts: Manuscript I describes the predictive value of individual fertility assessment and counselling in terms of subsequent time to pregnancy within two years after the initial consultation at the FAC Clinic. The follow up study comprised 519 women, of which 352 had tried to conceive. At the time of follow-up, 259/352 had achieved a pregnancy, 74/352 were still trying and 19/352 had given up. The remaining 167 women had no attempts to conceive. The risk assessment provided a score based on the appearance of fertility risk factors: green (low), yellow (low), orange (medium) and red (high). Two-thirds of the women with only low risk scores conceived spontaneously within 12 months (65%), while this figure was only 32% for women with at least one high risk score (n=82). Accordingly, presence of at least one high risk score reduced the odds of achieving a pregnancy within 12 months by 73% (OR 0.27, 95%CI 0.13-0.57). The FAC Clinic concept seems as a usable tool for fertility experts to guide women on how to fulfil their reproductive life-plan, but longer follow-up studies are needed. Manuscript II describes the impact of OC on ovarian reserve parameters in 887 women at the FAC Clinic. Of the 887 women, 244 (27.5%) used OC. The 244 users of OC were significantly younger than non-users with a mean age of 31.5 (SD 4.3) vs. 34.1 (SD 4.3) years (p < 0.001). Overall, there was no difference between the two groups in relation to bodyweight, BMI, smoking habits, gestational age at birth, prenatal exposure to maternal smoking or maternal age at menopause. In linear regression analyses adjusted for age, ovarian volume was 50% lower, AMH was 19% lower, and AFC was 18% lower in OC-users compared to non-users. Among the OC users there was a significant decrease in antral follicles sized 5-7 and 8-10 mm and an increase in the number of small follicles sized 2-4 mm. Physicians have to be aware of the impact of OC use on ovarian reserve parameters and possible concealment of premature ovarian insufficiency, when assessing the fertility status and estimating the reproductive lifespan in OC users. Manuscript III describes the family intentions and personal considerations on postponing childbearing in 340 childless women of advanced age. The study comprised 140 cohabiting and 200 single women aged 35-43 seeking fertility assessment and counselling at the FAC Clinic. The majority (82%) was well-educated and in employment. Despite their mean age of 37.4 years, the main reasons for attending the FAC Clinic were to gain knowledge on the possibility of postponing pregnancy (63%) and due to a concern about their fecundity (52%). Both the cohabiting and single women expressed a wish for two or more children (60%). The most important benefits were "personal development" (89%) and "to give and receive love" (86%). The main concerns about childbearing were "less time to myself" (82%) and "less time to job and career" (76%). The single women were more positive regarding the use of donor sperm (70%) compared to the cohabiting women (25%). Our results indicated a general overestimation of the women´s own reproductive capacity and an underestimation of their risk of future infertility and childlessness with continuous postponement of pregnancies. Manuscript IV describes attitudes toward family formation in ten single and ten cohabiting childless women of advanced age. The women were interviewed one week before their consultation at the FAC Clinic about their family formation intentions, considerations and concerns. The interviews were analysed and condensed into four categories: ''The biological clock'', ''The difficult choice'', ''The dream of the nuclear family'', and ''Mother without a father''. The categories were condensed into two subthemes; `Fear´ and `Expectations´ and gathered into one main theme 'The conflict of choosing', which reflected the women's attitudes toward family formation prior to individual fertility counselling. The women attended the FAC Clinic due to a concern about their fecundity and a fear for infertility. Overall, the women expressed a dream of the nuclear family and finding "Mr. Right" and many with the wish of buying more time. Both groups would consider solo motherhood due to their advanced age, although it was considered to be Plan B, as it was not "natural".
... Other studies (from Australia and Sweden) found that although most of the 36-40-year-old participants wanted to have children, only 32 % of women and 37 % of men intended to become a parent at that point in time and many were still postponing childbearing. Reasons to postpone parenthood included the lack of a suitable partner, not feeling mature enough, wanting to achieve financial security, and wanting to do other things before starting a family [4,7]. ...
Article
Introduction The tendency to delay parenthood is increasing. It is partly driven by the availability of early reproductive technologies such as social oocyte freezing, the cryopreservation of oocytes for non-medical purposes. The goal of this study was to investigate relationships between attitudes towards social oocyte freezing and different socio-cultural backgrounds in a German sample cohort. Materials and Methods A quantitative online questionnaire was compiled. A total of 643 participants completed the questionnaire which included items on attitudes toward social oocyte freezing, socio-demographics and items, obtained from the German DELTA Institute for Social and Ecological Research, devised to indicate specific milieus. Data were analyzed using parametric and non-parametric methods. Results There were clear correlations between attitudes towards social oocyte freezing and socio-cultural background, gender, cohort age, fertility problems, and attitudes to fertility. Positive attitudes towards social oocyte freezing were linked to struggles with fertility, a current or general wish to have a child, and flexible, progressive and self-oriented values. Participants who preferred to become parents at a younger age tended to reject cryopreservation. Conclusions The huge number of university graduates, persons with fertility problems, and persons from specific socio-cultural backgrounds in our sample point to distinct groups interested in reproductive technologies such as social oocyte freezing. The investigated differences as a function of socio-cultural background suggest that more research into the desire to have children in German society is needed. In conclusion, it may be necessary to develop targeted family planning interventions to prevent affected women from buying into a false sense of security, thereby risking unwanted childlessness.
... Other studies (from Australia and Sweden) found that although most of the 36-40-year-old participants wanted to have children, only 32 % of women and 37 % of men intended to become a parent at that point in time and many were still postponing childbearing. Reasons to postpone parenthood included the lack of a suitable partner, not feeling mature enough, wanting to achieve financial security, and wanting to do other things before starting a family [4,7]. ...
Conference Paper
Der Trend zu späten Elternschaft wird durch die Möglichkeit von (frühzeitigen) reproduktionsmedizinische Techniken zur Planung einer Elternschaft in der Zukunft weiter angetrieben. Social Freezing bezieht sich dabei auf die Entnahme und Einfrierung von Eizellen aus nicht-medizinischen Gründen zur möglichen künstlichen Befruchtung zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt; diese zielgruppenunspezifische Methode löste einige ethische und politische Debatten aus. Die Zusammenhänge zwischen fertilitätsbezogenem Wissen, Einstellungen zu solchen reproduktionsmedizinischen Behandlungen sowie der Einfluss von sozio-kulturellen Hintergründen (‚Milieus‘) sind jedoch bisher kaum erforscht. Es wurde eine quantitative Online-Fragebogenstudie von April bis Juni 2015 mit N=643 Personen durchgeführt. Erfragt wurden fertilitätsspezifisches Wissen und Einstellungen zu Social Freezing, milieuindizierende Items des DELTA-Instituts sowie soziodemographischen Angaben. Es beteiligten sich N=553 Frauen (Ø 34.2 Jahre) sowie N=90 Männer (Ø 37.8 Jahre) an der Umfrage. Es zeigten sich deutliche Unterschiede in der Einstellung zu Social Freezing zwischen Altersgruppen, Familienstand, Bildungsabschluss, Milieus, Fertilitätsproblemen sowie Personen mit Kinderwunsch. Bei den fertilitätsspezifischen Fragen konnten 85% der Teilnehmer die Hälfte der Fragen nicht richtig beantworten. Das geringe Wissen um Chancen und Grenzen zu dem wichtigen Thema des Kinderwunsches deutet auf Informationsdefizite hin, die dringend aufgelöst werden sollten. Die große Anzahl an AkademikerInnen, Personen mit Fertilitätsproblemen sowie die Verteilung der Milieus lassen auf spezifisches Interesse bestimmter Personengruppen an dieser Thematik schließen. Insgesamt deuten die Ergebnisse auf die Notwendigkeit gezielterer Erforschung aller Milieugruppen hin, um zu einem besseren Verständnis der Vorstellungen und Erwartungen im Bereich der Kinderwunschthematik in der deutschen Gesellschaft zu gelangen.
... [16,21] In a study by Schytt et al. on childbearing intentions among Swedish women and men, the ideal number of children was two for most of the participating women. [22] The students' responses to questions about the timing of childbearing, number of children, birth spacing, and method of contraception showed that in most families, women and men contribute to childbearing decision-making together, which agrees with the results obtained by Amerian et al. [16] Nonetheless, Testa et al. studied couples' fertility behaviors in Italy and found that Italian women have a greater role than their male spouses in childbearing decision-making. [23] The disparity between these findings may be attributed to the differences in the sociocultural settings of the studies, the different data collection tools used and the samples selected from varying age groups. ...
... Ка9а је у @иNању значај @арNнера за моNивацију и о9луку жене 9а ро9и, @оказало се (Schytt, 2014) 9а је на узрасNу жена @реко 32 :о9ине у Шве9ској је9на о9 KиNних о9ре9ница ове о9луке не-9осNаNак о9:оварајуће: @арNнера (53%), 9ок жене сNарије о9 36 :о-9ина овај факNор наво9е као најчешћи разло: шNо још увек немају 9еце (60%). ...
... Several studies have examined the reasons people delay childbearing. The studies focus on various viewpoints such as attitudes towards parenthood (Benzies et al., 2006;Tydén, Svanberg, Karlström, Lihoff, & Lampic, 2006), influencing factors on timing of parenthood (Cooke, Mills, & Lavender, 2012;Schytt, Nilsen, & Bernhardt, 2014) and awareness of age-related risk (Hammarberg & Clarke, 2005;Peterson, Pirritano, Tucker, & Lampic, 2012). The reasons for delaying childbearing decisions reported in previous studies were establishing their relationship, financial security, educational pursuits, career development and based on their personal and their partner's interest or desire to have children (Hammarberg & Clarke, 2005;Mills et al., 2011;Roberts et al., 2011;Thompson & Lee, 2011). ...
Article
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Aim The aim of this study was to examine regret over the timing of the childbearing decision and reasons for its delay. Design A cross‐sectional study. Methods This cross‐sectional study included 219 women and 169 men referred to fertility facilities in Japan from July–December 2018. Participants completed a questionnaire on the reasons for their delay in childbearing decision and the degree of regret regarding their decision. Multiple linear regression was used to analyse the association between degree of regret and the reasons for the delay. Results The top three reasons for the delay in childbearing decision in women were “Establishing the relationship,” “Health problems,” and “Financial security.” The top three reasons in men were “Establishing the relationship,” “Financial security,” and “Lack of fertility knowledge.” Multiple linear regression showed that lack of fertility knowledge was associated with regret over the timing of childbearing decisions in women and men.
... In the study of Thompson and Lee, prerequisites for fathering in young Australian men were readiness and personal maturity before childbirth, financial security, and finding a permanent and flexible job [1]. Physical health/ fitness and the lack of chronic diseases as essential causes of decision making for childbearing [1,15,16,31,32]. ...
Article
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Introduction: Childbearing results from a productive behavior within the family arisen from couples’ decision to have children. The role of men in making decisions about childbearing and their intentions are often overlooked in studies. Objective: This study aimed to investigate males’ first childbearing decision and their contributing factors. Materials and Methods: This was an analytical and cross-sectional study. In total, 300 married men aged 18-45 years participated in this study. The subjects accompanied their wives with the first pregnancy to receive prenatal care at hospitals and private health centers of Shahroud County, Iran. They were selected randomly. The required data were collected using A demographic form, Snyder’s Adult Hope Scale (AHS), and World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) questionnaire. The correlation between study variables was examined by Pearson’s correlation coefficient and Multiple Linear Regression analysis. Results: The mean age at first childbearing decision and age at marriage in men were 28.8±3.74 and 25.59±3.68 years, respectively. Among the factors related to first childbearing decision, age at marriage suggested the highest association (r=0.89, P=0.001). The age at first childbearing decision also had a statistically significant relationship with marriage duration (r=0.29, P=0.001), and education (r=0.16, P=0.001). Quality of life had a negative significant correlation with it (r=-0.22, P=0.001). Age at marriage revealed the highest power for predicting contributing factors. With the 10-year increase in men's marriage age, the age at first childbearing decision increased by 8.9 years; with the 1-point increase in quality of life score, the age decreased by 0.09 years, if other variables remained constant. Conclusion: Age at marriage and quality of life could affect age at first childbearing decisions in men. The healthcare team and policymakers should facilitate childbearing conditions. This could be achieved by providing accurate knowledge about these factors. As a result, men can achieve the desired number of children at the right time.
... However, the predominant reason was not having a partner, or having a partner who did not want children or was unwilling to raise them. Schytt et al. (2014) had similar findings in a survey of 365 childless women and 356 childless men aged 28-40 years in Sweden. The predominant reason given by women for this situation was lack of a partner. ...
... After critiques of traditional studies of childlessness which focused exclusively on women, much recent research attention has explored the transition to fatherhood (Balbo et al. 2013;Bledsoe et al. 2000;Forste 2002;Kreyenfeld and Konietzka 2017;Tanturri et al. 2015). This research shows that for men across Europe, inequalities in the transition to fatherhood are mediated by the inequalities in union formation; those men who remain childless often also remain un-partnered (Barthold et al. 2012;Jalovaara and Fasang 2017;Keizer et al. 2008;Miettinen 2010;Trimarchi and Van Bavel 2017;Schytt et al. 2014). ...
Article
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Among men with post-secondary degrees in Sweden, one in four are childless by age 45, and this level has been constant over time (in this study, for men born 1956–1972). This high level of childlessness is somewhat surprising in the context of a significant gender imbalance among the highly educated (and thus the relative scarcity of highly educated men). In this study, I examine differences in childlessness among the highly educated by studying how educational prestige, social class, and income are associated with the likelihood of becoming a father. Higher income and social class background are positively associated with fatherhood, and this association has not changed over time. Educational prestige (higher degrees, or degrees from traditional universities) is not positively associated with fatherhood, while 2-year degrees have become more positively associated with fatherhood over time. The findings of this study suggest that socioeconomic resources are important for men's family formation in Sweden compared to educational resources, contrary to expectations from educational homophily and partner market perspectives.
... Furthermore, childless men in Italy were more likely to intend to remain childless if they were unemployed (Fiori et al., 2017). In a study from Sweden, people aged 36-40 years were likely to be childless because of fertility problems or not having found the right partner, rather than having an insecure financial situation (Schytt et al., 2014). Hence, the reasons why people have not yet become parents are related to gender, age and family situation (Statistics Sweden, 2009). ...
Article
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Research on reproductive decision-making mainly focuses on women's experiences and desire for children. Men included in this type of research usually represent one-half of a heterosexual couple and/or men who are involuntarily childless. Perspectives from a broader group of men are lacking. This study is based on the results of a baseline questionnaire answered by 191 men aged 20-50 years who attended two sexual health clinics in two major Swedish cities. The questionnaire included questions about sociodemographic background, reproductive history and fertility, but also two open-ended questions focusing on reasons for having or not having children. The results of these two questions were analysed by manifest content analysis and resulted in five categories: '(non-)ideal images', 'to pass something on', 'personal development and self-image', 'the relationship with the (potential) co-parent' and 'practical circumstances and prerequisites'. Reasons for having children were mainly based on ideal images of children, family and parenthood. Meanwhile, reasons for not having children usually concerned practical issues. The type of answer given was related to men's procreative intentions but not to background characteristics. In conclusion, men raised many different aspects for and against having children. Therefore, reproductive decision-making should not be considered a non-choice among men.
... Women with rural background admire high quality of prescriptions from the doctors which makes them to feel uncomfortable to buy a pharmaceutical products or service at a higher cost ( Panditrao and Ramkrishna, 2006). Many women delay childbearing due to reasons like education, career, and financial security and to find the correct spouse ( Schytt et al., 2014). Women with first time pregnancy in superior and very superior age have less level of satisfaction than the younger women (Aasheim et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Pregnant women faces some common discomforts during pregnancy such as morning sickness, backache, bladder and bowel problems, changes in skin and hair, cramps, swelling, varicose veins, fatigues, headache and indigestion, etc. For these discomforts, some pregnant women would get advises from doctors and others will get medicines from medical shops without doctor prescription. This would lead to many side effects for pregnant women, some may face abortion too. Therefore, the researcher was conducted study on the pregnant women's perception towards the prescription given by doctors. The researcher has collected data from 100 pregnant women in Vellore District by distributing well-structured questionnaire. The researcher found that there is a significant association between number of dependents and pregnant women's frequency to visit the clinic. Age and number of dependents are the important independent variable in predicting the pregnant women's perception towards doctor's suggestion and prescription of medicines.
... In Norway the mean age of first-time mothers increased from 23 years in 1970 to 28 years in 2012 (www.ssb.no). Despite their declining chances to conceive, many women postpone childbearing to give priority to education and a career, for financial security, and to find the right partner [2], before trying to get pregnant. Comprehensive research has documented that this development increases the medical risks for both the mother and the infant [1,[3][4][5][6]. ...
Article
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The trend to delay motherhood to the age of 30 and beyond is established in most high-income countries but relatively little is known about potential effects on maternal emotional well-being. This study investigates satisfaction with life during pregnancy and the first three years of motherhood in women expecting their first baby at an advanced and very advanced age. The study was based on the National Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Data on 18 565 nulliparous women recruited in the second trimester 1999-2008 were used. Four questionnaires were completed: at around gestational weeks 17 and 30, and at six months and three years after the birth. Medical data were retrieved from the national Medical Birth Register. Advanced age was defined as 32-37 years, very advanced age as >=38 years and the reference group as 25-31 years. The distribution of satisfaction with life from age 25 to >=40 years was investigated, and the mean satisfaction with life at the four time points was estimated. Logistic regression analyses based on generalised estimation equations were used to investigate associations between advanced and very advanced age and satisfaction with life when controlling for socio-demographic factors. Satisfaction with life decreased from around age 28 to age 40 and beyond, when measured in gestational weeks 17 and 30, and at six months and three years after the birth. When comparing women of advanced and very advanced age with the reference group, satisfaction with life was slightly reduced in the two older age groups and most of all in women of very advanced age. Women of very advanced age had the lowest scores at all time points and this was most pronounced at three years after the birth. First-time mothers of advanced and very advanced age reported a slightly lower degree of satisfaction with life compared with the reference group of younger women, and the age-related effect was greatest when the child was three years of age.
Article
Aims: To explore whether older women differ from younger women with respect to sick leave and inpatient care at the time around their first pregnancy and delivery. Methods: This was a descriptive population-based cohort study. The study population included all 236,176 nulliparous women registered as living in Sweden who gave birth to their first singleton infant in 2006-2010. Data from nationwide Swedish registers were used. Maternal age was categorized in five-year intervals. Time was calculated in years with the delivery date as the starting point, from two years before and up to three years after delivery. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate mean values and ANOVA tables were used to obtain the 95% confidence intervals of the means. Restriction was used to reduce potential confounding. Results: Women aged ⩾35 years had a higher annual mean number of sick leave days from two years before to one year after their delivery date compared with younger women. The range for all age categories in the year before the delivery date, including pregnancy, was 15.3-37.4 mean sick leave days. The mean number of inpatient days increased with each age category during the year after the date of delivery in the range 1.4-4.3 days. Conclusions: This first explorative study indicates the need for more knowledge on morbidity among older primiparous women. They had a higher number of days with sick leave and hospitalization in the year before and after their delivery date. This might reflect higher health risks during pregnancy and childbirth among older women; however, social factors and reverse causation might also be influential.
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Motherhood is one of the most important events in human society. Who were the women in the Bible who desired to conceive and give birth to a child? What are the motives behind this wish? What are intentions to conceive? Are there any obstacles to achieving pregnancy? Are there any diseases that can impair conception? Biblical texts were examined and verses associated with the actions of women to achieve conception were studied closely. The verses were examined from a contemporary viewpoint.
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Purpose of review: To review the most important and interesting articles in infertility published in the last year. Recent findings: This systematic review covers 60 studies published in journals or dissertations in Science Direct and PubMed in the last year, including those related to prevention and treatment as well as related psychosocial services in infertility. We also propose some suggestions about coping with infertility in China. Summary: Infertility is a multidisciplinary problem that requires medical, social, and political efforts to prevent and offer infertile patients the best diagnostic, therapeutic, and psychosocial services. Cultural factors should be taken into consideration when designing coping strategies.
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This overview on genetic counseling for infertile couple will describe briefly genetic basis of infertility, genetic counseling of infertility, reproductive technologies used to overcome infertility, dangers of transmitting genetic disorders to offspring, and how to prevent transmissions of genetic disorders before &/or during undergoing assisted reproduction
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BACKGROUND There is a global tendency for parents to conceive children later in life. The maternal dimension of the postponement transition has been thoroughly studied, but interest in the paternal side is more recent. For the moment, most literature reviews on the topic have focused on the consequences of advanced paternal age (APA) on fertility, pregnancy and the health of the child. OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE The present review seeks to move the focus away from the biological and medical dimensions of APA and synthesise the knowledge of the other face of APA. SEARCH METHODS We used the scoping review methodology. Searches of interdisciplinary articles databases were performed with keywords pertaining to APA and its dimensions outside of biology and medicine. We included scientific articles, original research, essays, commentaries and editorials in the sample. The final sample of 177 documents was analysed with qualitative thematic analysis. OUTCOMES We identified six themes highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of APA research. The ‘terminological aspects’ highlight the lack of consensus on the definition of APA and the strategies developed to offer alternatives. The ‘social aspects’ focus on the postponement transition towards reproducing later in life and its cultural dimensions. The ‘public health aspects’ refer to attempts to analyse APA as a problem with wider health and economic implications. The ‘psychological aspects’ focus on the consequences of APA and older fatherhood on psychological characteristics of the child. The ‘ethical aspects’ reflect on issues of APA emerging at the intersection of parental autonomy, children’s welfare and social responsibility. The ‘regulatory aspects’ group different suggestions to collectively approach the implications of APA. Our results show that the field of APA is still in the making and that evidence is lacking to fully address the issues of APA. The review suggests promising avenues of research such as introducing the voice of fathers of advanced age into the research agenda. WIDER IMPLICATIONS The results of this review will be useful for developing policies and preconception health interventions that consider and include prospective fathers of advanced age.
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Objective: Research suggests associations between adolescent alcohol use and early reproduction, but other findings show that alcohol use disorder (AUD) may actually predict delayed reproduction. However, most studies generally do not consider the effects of parental AUD, which is correlated with AUD and may influence reproductive timing. The present study addressed these gaps by testing whether the individual’s own AUD and parental AUD interacted with sex to predict reproductive timing. Method: In a longitudinally followed community sample that oversampled familial alcohol disorder (n = 776), multinomial logistic regressions estimated the effects of predictors on early (i.e., adolescent), delayed (age 25 years or later), and no reproduction, thus comparing the odds of each timing category to typical age of reproduction (i.e., 19–24 years of age). Results: There were no interactions between either individual or parental AUD and sex, so interaction terms were trimmed. Individuals with parental AUD were more likely to reproduce early, but there was no effect of AUD on early reproduction. However, those with AUD were more likely to have delayed reproductive timing or no children. Conclusions: AUD and parental AUD are unique predictors of reproductive timing. Parental AUD was associated with early reproduction. Children of parents with AUD may be vulnerable to sexual risk behaviors in adolescence regardless of their own AUD diagnosis, given the constellation of personality and environmental risk factors associated with parental AUD. In contrast, replicating prior findings, AUD was associated with delayed reproduction and the absence of reproduction. AUD may delay reproductive onset through either biological or psychosocial mediators, such as delays in role transitions.
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Objective: This study aimed to explore the characteristics and circumstances of women who cryopreserved their oocytes for non-medical indications and their reasons for cryopreservation. Background: Oocyte cryopreservation for non-medical reasons is becoming increasingly common. Little is known about women who freeze their oocytes in this context. Methods: All women who had cryopreserved oocytes for non-medical indications at a large Australian fertility treatment centre from 1999 to 2014 were invited to complete an anonymous postal survey. Results: Of the 193 questionnaires mailed, 10 were returned to sender; 96/183 (53%) were completed and returned. Most respondents had completed tertiary education (90%) and were employed in professional occupations (89%). At the time of oocyte cryopreservation, 48% of women were aged at least 38 years (range 28–44 years). Most (90%) women were single when their oocytes were frozen. The lack of a partner or having a partner unwilling to commit to fatherhood were the most common reasons for oocyte freezing, which was viewed as an investment in hope against the possibility of remaining in these predicaments. Some women reported that discussions in the media and interactions with peers influenced their decisions. A few women were influenced by tests indicating a low ovarian reserve. Conclusion: These data provide new evidence about women’s characteristics, circumstances, and reasons for oocyte cryopreservation for non-medical indications that do not support pejorative conceptualisations of these women as selfish and hedonistic.
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The main goal of the research was to explore how female students in Belgrade perceived today's male and the preferred traits that the partner should possess to be a potential father of their child. The study was conducted on a sample of 550 female respondents. The traits assessed in the research are the ones used by the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) as indicators of femininity and masculinity. The findings confirmed a significant difference between the perception of today's male and the image of a preferred father of the respondent's child. There were also statistically significant correlations between masculinity/femininity of the respondents and their estimations of the masculinity/femininity of the preferred partners and today's males. The research results indicate that the image of the preferred partner depends on the perception of today's male.
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Since contraception became more accessible in the 1970s of the last century, women came in the position to postpone her first pregnancy. Women postpone their desire for a child due to lack of a partner or due to a career despite their wish, or they prioritize an independent life. To circumvent age-related fertility decline, women can opt for banking their oocytes. Women who bank their oocytes to have more time to find the right partner decide a few years after the vitrification to choose for single motherhood and donor sperm treatment (about 14%). When single women do not opt for banking their oocytes and/or they do not find a partner to start a family, women consider starting their own family without a partner. Most single women wish to have a nuclear family in future, but an increasingly amount of women seek for an unconventional family formation. Since a few decades there has been a significant rise of single women opting for donor sperm treatment.
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Background: Unintended childlessness is a distressing, and often unintended, consequence of delayed childbearing and reproductive ageing. The average maternal age at first birth has risen steadily in many industrialised countries since the 1980s. There are many societal factors involved in the decision to postpone motherhood. As a result, many women are postponing having children until it is too late. In this review, we aim to summarise the reasons behind delayed childbearing, the impact of delayed childbearing and the scientific advances that seek to reverse reproductive ageing and ensure reproductive autonomy for women. Methods: An extensive literature search of PubMed was conducted to include all published articles on delayed childbearing and the consequences of reproductive ageing. Secondary articles were identified from key paper reference listings. Conclusion: If the current reproductive trends continue, many women will find themselves in the harrowing position of being unintentionally childless. In addition, many will inevitably turn to assisted reproductive technologies in an effort to protect and preserve their reproductive autonomy. However, it is not always possible to reverse the effects of reproductive ageing.
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Study question: Do women who place high importance on career success have different perceptions of pregnancy planning, delayed reproduction, and the ethical acceptability of ART than women with less emphasis on their career? Summary answer: Career-focused women place more importance on pregnancy planning, have greater confidence in delayed childbearing, and are more ethically accepting of donor gamete ART than women who do not place as much importance on career success. What is known already: Women in high-professional careers are more likely to delay childbearing while simultaneously possessing a stronger desire for motherhood. The underlying values which enable these competing desires have not been elucidated. Study design, size, duration: This cross-sectional study utilized data from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB), a nationally representative telephone survey of US women aged 25-45. Funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the NSFB surveyed 4712 women from 2004 to 2007. Participants/materials, setting, methods: In addition to demographic data, the NSFB obtained information about the reproductive history and personal values of participants. Weighted multivariate regression analysis was used to assess reproductive values in career-focused women. Main results and the role of chance: In total, 48.8% of women considered success in work very important, while 17.3% considered it somewhat or not important. Women who placed less value on career success were less likely to consider pregnancy planning important and were less optimistic about the success of delayed childbearing than their work-centric counterparts. Women less focused on their careers were also more likely to have serious ethical concerns about donor gametes, but less likely to have ethical concerns about IUI or IVF, when compared to career-focused women. Limitations, reasons for caution: Intention to bear children could not be evaluated in the setting of career intentions due to a lack of data on when the participant intended on pursuing motherhood. Political preferences on reproductive health were also not evaluated. The validity of the career priority questions has not been assessed. Additionally, respondents' value statements were not matched to subsequent actions, so it remains possible that these values do not directly impact reproductive behaviors. Wider implications of the findings: Our results suggest that reproductive counseling for career-focused women should focus on effective contraception when attempting to delay pregnancy, improved knowledge about age-related fertility decline, and the scope and limitations of current reproductive technologies. In addition, the unique reproductive views of career-focused women suggest that they may benefit from increased employer/insurer support for strategies to enable delayed childbearing, such as fertility preservation and third-party reproduction. Study funding/competing interest(s): None.
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Delayed parenthood is a central feature of the massive transformation of family and reproduction in rich countries. We analyse the shift of motherhood towards later reproductive ages during the last four decades and review its consequences for children and their mothers in low-fertility countries in Europe, North America, Oceania and East Asia. First we analyse the trends in birth rates at advanced reproductive ages (35+) and document the rapid rise in first and second birth rates at these ages. We show that a relatively high share of childless women and of women with one child aged 35-44 still plan to have a(nother) child in the future. Subsequently, we discuss the limited success rates of assisted reproduction at advanced reproductive ages. Next we outline the key drivers of delayed parenthood and its demographic consequences. Finally, we briefly review the consequences of delayed motherhood for pregnancy outcomes, maternal and child health and highlight selected positive consequences of later parenthood for mothers and children. We argue that economic and social rationales for late reproduction clash with the biological and health rationales for having children earlier in life.
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Background The modern phenomenon of delayed parenthood applies not only to women but also to men, but less is known about what characterises men who are expecting their first child at an advanced age. This study investigates the sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviour, health problems, social relationships and timing of pregnancy in older first-time fathers. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted of 14 832 men who were expecting their first child, based on data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) carried out by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Data were collected in 2005–2008 by means of a questionnaire in gestational week 17–18 of their partner’s pregnancy, and from the Norwegian Medical Birth Register. The distribution of background variables was investigated across the age span of 25 years and above. Men of advanced age (35–39 years) and very advanced age (40 years or more) were compared with men aged 25–34 years by means of bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses. Results The following factors were found to be associated with having the first child at an advanced or very advanced age: being unmarried or non-cohabitant, negative health behaviour (overweight, obesity, smoking, frequent alcohol intake), physical and mental health problems (lower back pain, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, sleeping problems, previous depressive symptoms), few social contacts and dissatisfaction with partner relationship. There were mixed associations for socioeconomic status: several proxy measures of high socioeconomic status (e.g. income >65 000 €, self-employment) were associated with having the first child at an advanced or very advanced age, as were several other proxy measures of low socioeconomic status (e.g. unemployment, low level of education, immigrant background).The odds of the child being conceived after in vitro fertilisation were threefold in men aged 34–39 and fourfold from 40 years and above. Conclusions Men who expect their first baby at an advanced or very advanced age constitute a socioeconomically heterogeneous group with more health problems and more risky health behaviour than younger men. Since older men often have their first child with a woman of advanced age, in whom similar characteristics have been reported, their combined risk of adverse perinatal outcomes needs further attention by clinicians and researchers.
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STUDY QUESTION What do older women understand of the relationship between age and fertility prior and subsequent to delivering their first child?
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Objectives: The economic crisis that emerged after 2008 caused speculation about further postponement of fertility and a recession-induced baby-bust in countries affected by the economic downturn. This paper aims to disentangle short-term and long-term effects of economic context on entry into parenthood and explores variation of postponement and recuperation by age, gender, educational level and welfare state context. Methods: Random-effects complementary log-log models including macro-level indicators are used to analyse longitudinal microdata on 12,121 first births to 20,736 individuals observed between 1970 and 2005. Results: Adverse economic conditions and high unemployment significantly reduce first birth hazards among men and women below age 30, particularly among the higher educated. After age 30 economic context continues to affect first birth hazards of men, but not for women. Recuperation of fertility is further associated with access to labour markets and entry into cohabiting unions. Conclusions: The continuing postponement of first births has clear medical consequences and implications for health policies. Preventive policies should take access to labour markets for younger generations into account as an important factor driving postponement.
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We suggest that single adults in contemporary American society are targets of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, a phenomenon we will call singlism. Singlism is an outgrowth of a largely uncontested set of beliefs, the Ideology of Marriage and Family. Its premises include the assumptions that the sexual partnership is the one truly important peer relationship and that people who have such partnerships are happier and more fulfilled than those who do not. We use published claims about the greater happiness of married people to illustrate how the scientific enterprise seems to be influenced by the ideology. We propose that people who are single - particularly women who have always been single - fare better than the ideology would predict because they do have positive, enduring, and important interpersonal relationships. The persistence of singlism is especially puzzling considering that actual differences based on civil (marital) status seem to be qualified and small, the number of singles is growing, and sensitivity to other varieties of prejudice is acute. By way of explanation, we consider arguments from evolutionary psychology, attachment theory, a social problems perspective, the growth of the cult of the couple, and the appeal of an ideology that offers a simple and compelling worldview.
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From the mid-1960s to around 1980, Sweden extended its family policies that provide financial and in-kind support to families with children very quickly. The benefits were closely tied to previous work experience. Thus, women born in the 1950s faced markedly different incentives when making fertility choices compared to women born only 15–20 years earlier. This paper examines the evolution of completed fertility patterns for Swedish women born in 1925–1958 and makes comparisons to women in neighbouring countries where the policies were not extended as much as in Sweden. The results suggest that the extension of the policy raised the level of fertility, shortened the spacing of births, and induced fluctuations in the period fertility rates, but it did not change the negative relationship between women’s educational level and completed fertility.
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Theory suggests that reproductive success is positively associated with an individual’s genetic quality. However, the association between physical attractiveness and reproductive success (i.e., number of offspring) in modern humans remains less clear. Here we examined associations between men’s reproductive success and physical attractiveness from retrospective data obtained from married, divorced, and single samples of Slovakian men. As predicted, facially more attractive and taller men were more likely to engage in marriage. In turn, married men had higher reproductive success than single men. Even when men’s marital status was considered, facially more attractive men had higher reproductive success than their less attractive counterparts. This supports the importance of physical attractiveness in sexual selection in modern humans. KeywordsAttractiveness– Homo sapiens sapiens –Reproductive success–Sexual selection
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Both maternal and paternal factors have been suggested to influence a couple's fecundity. To investigate this, we examined the role of several maternal and paternal lifestyle and socio-demographic factors as determinants of time to pregnancy (TTP) in a Dutch birth-cohort. Groningen Expert Center for Kids with Obesity (GECKO) Drenthe is a population-based birth-cohort study of children born between April 2006 and April 2007 in Drenthe, a province of The Netherlands. Both partners received extensive questionnaires during pregnancy. Univariable and multivariable Cox regression analyses were used to determine the impact of the investigated factors on TTP. A total of 4778 children were born, and the parents of 2997 children (63%) gave their consent to participate. After excluding unintended pregnancies and pregnancies as a result of fertility treatment, the data of 1924 couples were available for analysis. Hazards ratios and 95% confidence intervals of factors influencing TTP in multivariable Cox regression analysis were: maternal age 1.23 (0.98-1.54) for age <25 years, 1.17 (1.03-1.32) for age 25-30 years and 0.72 (0.61-0.85) for age >35 years (reference category: 30-35 years); paternal age: 1.31 (0.94-1.82) for age <25 years, 1.11 (0.97-1.28) for age 25-30 years and 0.91 (0.80-1.04 for age >35 years (reference category: 30-35 years); nulliparity: 0.76 (0.68-0.85) versus multiparity; menstrual cycle length: 1.12 (0.95-1.30) for 3 weeks, 0.72 (0.62-0.83) for 4-6 weeks, 0.68 (0.40-1.16) for >6 weeks and 0.66 (0.54-0.81) for irregular cycle (reference category: 4 weeks); prior contraceptive use: 0.78 (0.67-0.91) for no contraception, 1.68 (1.45-1.95) for condom use, 1.08 (0.89-1.33) for condom use combined with oral contraception, 1.40 (1.16-1.70) for intrauterine device and 0.50 (0.25-1.01) for contraceptive injection (reference category: oral contraception); and maternal educational level 0.75 (0.62-0.92) for low education level and 0.81 (0.73-0.90) for medium educational level (reference category: high educational level). This population-based birth-cohort study performed in fertile couples who had conceived revealed neither maternal nor paternal modifiable lifestyle factors were significantly associated with TTP after adjustment for confounding by socio-demographic factors. In contrast, several non-modifiable maternal socio-demographic factors are significant predictors of a couple's fecundity.
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BACKGROUND Across the developed world couples are postponing parenthood. This review assesses the consequences of delayed family formation from a demographic and medical perspective. One main focus is on the quantitative importance of pregnancy postponement. METHODS Medical and social science databases were searched for publications on relevant subjects such as delayed parenthood, female and male age, fertility, infertility, time to pregnancy (TTP), fetal death, outcome of medically assisted reproduction (MAR) and mental well-being. RESULTS Postponement of parenthood is linked to a higher rate of involuntary childlessness and smaller families than desired due to increased infertility and fetal death with higher female and male age. For women, the increased risk of prolonged TTP, infertility, spontaneous abortions, ectopic pregnancies and trisomy 21 starts at around 30 years of age with a more pronounced effects >35 years, whereas the increasing risk of preterm births and stillbirths starts at around 35 years with a more pronounced effect >40 years. Advanced male age has an important but less pronounced effect on infertility and adverse outcomes. MAR treatment cannot overcome the age-related decline in fecundity. CONCLUSIONS In general, women have partners who are several years older than themselves and it is important to focus more on the combined effect of higher female and male age on infertility and reproductive outcome. Increasing public awareness of the impact of advanced female and male age on the reproductive outcome is essential for people to make well-informed decisions on when to start family formation.
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Never before have parents in most Western societies had their first children as late as in recent decades. What are the central reasons for postponement? What is known about the link between the delay of childbearing and social policy incentives to counter these trends? This review engages in a systematic analysis of existing evidence to extract the maximum amount of knowledge about the reasons for birth postponement and the effectiveness of social policy incentives. The review followed the PRISMA procedure, with literature searches conducted in relevant demographic, social science and medical science databases (SocINDEX, Econlit, PopLine, Medline) and located via other sources. The search focused on subjects related to childbearing behaviour, postponement and family policies. National, international and individual-level data sources were also used to present summary statistics. There is clear empirical evidence of the postponement of the first child. Central reasons are the rise of effective contraception, increases in women's education and labour market participation, value changes, gender equity, partnership changes, housing conditions, economic uncertainty and the absence of supportive family policies. Evidence shows that some social policies can be effective in countering postponement. The postponement of first births has implications on the ability of women to conceive and parents to produce additional offspring. Massive postponement is attributed to the clash between the optimal biological period for women to have children with obtaining additional education and building a career. A growing body of literature shows that female employment and childrearing can be combined when the reduction in work-family conflict is facilitated by policy intervention.
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The role of men in the childbearing decision process and the factors that influence men's childbearing intentions have been relatively unexplored in the literature. This study aimed to describe the factors that strongly influence the childbearing intentions of men and to describe differences in these factors according to men's age group. A telephone survey (response rate 84%) was conducted with 495 men between the ages of 20 and 45 living in an urban setting who, at the time of contact, did not have biological children. Men were asked about what factors strongly influence their intention to have children. Univariable and multivariable logistic regressions were conducted to determine if these factors were significantly associated with age. Of those sampled, 86% of men reported that at some point in the future they planned to become a parent. The factors that men considered to be most influential in their childbearing intentions were: the need to be financially secure, their partner's interest/desire to have children, their partner's suitability to be a parent and their personal interest/desire to have children. Men who were 35-45 years old had lower odds of stating that financial security (crude OR: 0.32, 95% CI: 0.18-0.54) and partner's interest in having children (crude OR: 0.57, 95% CI: 0.33-0.99) were very influential, but had higher odds of stating that their biological clock (crude OR: 4.37, 95% CI: 1.78-10.76) was very influential in their childbearing intentions than men in the 20-24 year age group. The factors that influence men's intentions about when to become a parent may change with age. Understanding what influences men to have children, and what they understand about reproductive health is important for education, program and policy development.
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To describe Finnish university students' childbearing histories, desires concerning childbearing, and awareness regarding the impact of age on female fertility. A national survey of Finnish university students in 2008. A questionnaire was sent to 9,967 Finnish undergraduate university students aged less than 35 years. Altogether, the questionnaire was answered by 1,864 men and 3,222 women. The overall response rate was 51% (42% for men and 59% for women). Students were asked about their number of children, desired childbearing, and awareness of the effect of age on female fertility. Of the respondents, 8.25% had children, and 94.0% wanted to have children in the future. Female students were more aware of the impact of age on female fertility than were male students. Over half of the men and approximately one-third of the women thought that the marked decrease in female fertility begins after the age of 45 years. A vast majority of Finnish university students wanted to have children in the future. Their awareness of the natural, age-related decline in female fertility was insufficient. Sexual health education in schools and health care personnel's family planning counselling, for both men and women, should include information about the age-related drop in fertility.
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This study examines whether social age deadlines exist for childbearing in women and men, how they vary across countries, whether they are lower than actual biological deadlines and whether they are associated with childbearing at later ages and the availability of assisted reproduction techniques (ARTs). This study is based on the European Social Survey, Round 3 (2006-2007), which covers 25 countries. Data were gathered on social age deadlines for childbearing in women (21 909 cases) and men (21 239 cases) from samples of representative community-dwelling populations aged 15 and older. Social age deadlines for childbearing were perceived more frequently for women than men. These deadlines are often lower than actual biological limits, and for women and men alike: 57.2% of respondents perceived a maternal social age deadline ≤ 40 years of age; 46.2% of the respondents perceived a paternal social age deadline ≤ 45 years of age. There is also considerable variability in deadlines across countries, as well as within them. At the country level, the presence of social age deadlines for the childbearing of women was negatively associated with birth rates at advanced ages and the prevalence of ART, and later deadlines were positively associated with these factors. It is important to understand the factors that increase and limit late fertility. While biological factors condition fertility, so do social expectations. These findings provide widespread evidence across Europe that social limits exist alongside biological ones, though both sets of factors are more binding for women.
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Europeanen stellen het ouderschap steeds verder uit. Vrouwen in Ierland, Italie, Frankrijk, Nederland, Spanje, Zweden en Zwitserland krijgen hun eerste kind na hun 28-jarige leeftijd, gemiddeld 4 jaar later dan de generatie van hun moeders. Gelijktijdig daalt de periode vruchtbaarheid tot ongekende lage niveaus, vooral in landen van Centraal en Oost Europa. In 2001 kende Europa een vruchtbaarheidscijfer (TFR) van 1.39. In alle post-communistische landen van Europa en alle landen van Zuid Europa (behalve Portugal) werd een TFR van minder dan 1.4 geregistreerd. In vijftien landen was de TFR lager dan 1.30. Deze twee trends – uitstel van het eerste kind en daling van de vruchtbaarheid tot ongekende lage niveaus – zijn aan elkaar gerelateerd. De centrale vraag in dit boek is of de zeer lage periode vruchtbaarheidscijfers in Europa het resultaat zijn van het uitstel van ouderschap (aangeduid als ‘tempo effect’) of van een daling van de vruchtbaarheidsniveau (aangeduid als ‘quantum effect’). Het uitstellen van ouderschap verstoort de periode vruchtbaarheid. De verstoring houdt op zodra de leeftijd waarop vrouwen kinderen krijgen stabiliseert. Een gevolg is dat vruchtbaarheids-indicatoren die transversaal gemeten worden een verkeerd beeld kunnen geven van de vruchtbaarheid. Deze studie besteedt relatief veel aandacht aan methodologie aspecten van vruchtbaarheidsindicatoren en aan alternatieven voor de veel gebruikte TFR. De andere onderwerpen die in deze studie aan bod komen, namelijk analyse en projectie van kinderloosheid in Europe and de Vereinigte Staaten en een analyse en interpretatie van vruchtbaarheidsveranderingen in Centraal en Oost Europa, zijn aan het uitstel van het ouderschap gerelateerd. Het onderzoek werd verricht in het kader van het project ‘Naar een scenariomodel voor economische determinanten van Europese bevolkingsdynamiek’, dat werd gefinancierd door de Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) [project nummer A 510-03-901]. Het doel van het project was een beter inzicht te verkrijgen in de determinanten van demografische processen (vruchtbaarheid, sterfte, binnenlandse en buitenlandse migratie, en de interactie tussen deze processen) met het oog op een betere theoretische en empirische onderbouwing van demografische scenario’s voor Europa en de Europese regio’s. Het onderzoek waarover in dit boek wordt gerapporteerd is gericht op de meest markante aspecten van de vruchtbaarheidstrends in Europa: lage en zeer lage periode vruchtbaarheid, uitstel van het eerste kind, en de dramatische transformatie van het gezin in Centraal en Oost Europa. Indien de gegevens dat toelaten wordt een gedetailleerd beeld gegeven van trends per land. Een grote verscheidenheid aan statistische gegevens wordt gebruikt, afkomstig van meerdere bronnen. Naast een bespreking van markante trends leidt deze studie tot inzicht in mogelijke toekomstige ontwikkelingen en scenario’s. .
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Due to various sociological factors, couples in developed countries are increasingly delaying childbearing. Besides ethical, economical and sociological issues, this trend presents us with several complex problems in reproduction. Although it is well-known that maternal age has a negative effect on fertility and increases the risk of adverse outcome during pregnancy and in offspring, the paternal influence on these outcomes is less well researched and not well-known. We performed a systematic search of PubMed, and retrieved original articles and review articles to update our previous survey in this journal. This review highlights the link between male age and genetic abnormalities in the germ line and summarizes the knowledge about the effects of paternal age on reproductive function and outcome. Increasing paternal age can be associated with decreasing androgen levels, decreased sexual activity, alterations of testicular morphology and a deterioration of semen quality (volume, motility, morphology). Increased paternal age has an influence on DNA integrity of sperm, increases telomere length in spermatozoa and is suggested to have epigenetic effects. These changes may, at least in part, be responsible for the association of paternal age over 40 years with reduced fertility, an increase in pregnancy-associated complications and adverse outcome in the offspring. Although higher maternal age can be an indication for intensive prenatal diagnosis, including invasive diagnostics, consideration of the available evidence suggests that paternal age itself, however, provides no rationale for invasive procedures.
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Previous analyses of period fertility suggest that the trends of the Nordic countries are sufficiently similar to speak of a common "Nordic fertility regime". We investigate whether this assumption can be corroborated by comparing cohort fertility patterns in the Nordic countries. We study cumulated and completed fertility of Nordic birth cohorts based on the childbearing histories of women born in 1935 and later derived from the population registers of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. We further explore childbearing behaviour by women’s educational attainment. The results show remarkable similarities in postponement and recuperation between the countries and very small differences in completed fertility across educational groups. Median childbearing age is about 2−3 years higher in the 1960−64 cohort than in the 1950−54 cohort, but the younger cohort recuperates the fertility level of the older cohort at ages 30 and above. A similar pattern of recuperation can be observed for highly educated women as compared to women with less education. An interesting finding is that of a positive relationship between educational level and the final number of children when women who become mothers at similar ages are compared. Country differences in fertility outcome are generally rather low. Childlessness is highest in Finland and lowest in Norway, and the educational differentials are largest in Norway. Despite such differences, the cohort analyses in many ways support the notion of a common Nordic fertility regime.
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Emerging adulthood is proposed as a new conception of development for the period from the late teens through the twenties, with a focus on ages 18-25. A theoretical background is presented. Then evidence is provided to support the idea that emerging adulthood is a distinct period demographically, subjectively, and in terms of identity explorations. How emerging adulthood differs from adolescence and young adulthood is explained. Finally, a cultural context for the idea of emerging adulthood is outlined, and it is specified that emerging adulthood exists only in cultures that allow young people a prolonged period of independent role exploration during the late teens and twenties.
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Most analyses of age-related changes in fertility cannot separate effects due to reduced frequency of sexual intercourse from effects directly related to ageing. Information on intercourse collected daily through each menstrual cycle provides the data for estimating day-specific probabilities of pregnancy for specific days relative to ovulation, and these estimates allow unconfounded analysis of ageing effects. A total of 782 healthy couples using natural family planning methods contributed prospective data on 5860 menstrual cycles. Day of ovulation was based on basal body temperature measurements. Estimates of day-specific probabilities of pregnancy and the length of the fertile window were compared across age groups. Nearly all pregnancies occurred within a 6 day fertile window. There was no evidence for a shorter fertile window in older men or women. On average, the day-specific probabilities of pregnancy declined with age for women from the late 20s onward, with probabilities of pregnancy twice as high for women aged 19-26 years compared with women aged 35-39 years. Controlling for age of the woman, fertility was significantly reduced for men aged >35 years. Women's fertility begins to decline in the late 20s with substantial decreases by the late 30s. Fertility for men is less affected by age, but shows significant decline by the late 30s.
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In this article data from the British Household Panel Study (BHPS) are used to analyse gender differences in fertility intentions, and the correspondence between fertility intentions and subsequent fertility behaviour. By exploiting couple-level data, we examine whether partners have conflicting preferences for future fertility. Focusing on women who remain childless in their thirties we look at socio-demographic factors related to the intention to remain childless, or to start a family later on in life. By following up women over time, the characteristics of women who go on to have a child later on in life are considered. The importance of having a partner and the fertility intention of that partner in predicting whether a birth will occur are also examined.
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Postponing childbirth is becoming increasingly common in Western countries, especially among groups with higher education qualifications. It is relatively unknown to what extent women and men are aware of the age-related decline in female fertility. The aim was to investigate university students' intentions and attitudes to future parenthood and their awareness regarding female fertility. Postal survey of a randomly selected sample of 222 female (74% response) and 179 male (60% response) university students. Female and male university students in Sweden have largely positive attitudes towards parenthood and want to have children. Women, in comparison to men, were significantly more concerned about problems related to combining work and children. Both women and men had overly optimistic perceptions of women's chances of becoming pregnant. About half of women intended to have children after age 35 years and were not sufficiently aware of the age-related decline of female fecundity in the late 30s. University students plan to have children at ages when female fertility is decreased without being sufficiently aware of the age-related decline in fertility. This increases the risk of involuntary infertility in this group, which is alarming in view of the great importance they put on parenthood.
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Postponing childbirth is becoming increasingly common in Western countries, especially among women with higher education. The aim of the present study was to investigate female and male postgraduate students' attitudes toward parenthood, their intentions to have children, perceived obstacles to having or raising children during postgraduate studies, and their awareness of fertility issues. A 52-question survey was mailed to randomly selected postgraduate students attending a Swedish university. The questionnaire was developed based on earlier research by, and the professional experience of, the authors. Three pilot studies were conducted to test the questionnaire's reliability and validity. The t, x2, and Mann-Whitney U tests were used, as appropriate, to analyze responses. Two hundred female and 200 male postgraduate students aged<or=40 years received questionnaires. The response rate was 71% (n=141) among women and 58% (n=116) among men. Most childless respondents had positive attitudes toward parenthood and wanted to have 2 or 3 children, and a majority of women wanted to have their last child after age 35. Compared with men, women were more pessimistic about the effects of parenthood on their postgraduate studies, and perceived more problems related to balancing work and family life. One of 4 respondents overestimated a woman's ability to become pregnant between 35 and 40 years of age, and about half had overly optimistic perceptions of the chances to have a baby by means of in vitro fertilization. Most postgraduate students wanted to have children in the future. More women than men perceived that having children while completing postgraduate studies was or would be difficult, and that parenthood would negatively affect their status in the labor market. Because many female postgraduate students intend to have children at an age when female fecundity is decreased, information on fertility issues would help them make informed decisions regarding family planning.
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Using data from the first wave of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS) for 2867 women and 2195 men aged 40 to 79, this study examines to what extent educational, employment and marital pathways shape the likelihood of remaining childless, and whether these pathways are gendered. The findings indicate that women and men have distinctive pathways into childlessness. Educational attainment increases the likelihood of remaining childless among women only. A stable career increases the likelihood of remaining childless among women, but it increases the likelihood of entering fatherhood. Years without a partner is positively associated with childlessness among both women and men. Not having had a partnership and having had multiple partnerships are strong determinants of childlessness, especially among men.
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Australia has experienced a large increase in Internet usage, and online dating is used for seeking romantic and sexual partners. Using a qualitative approach, 15 people who use online dating took part in in-depth, online chat interviews. Nearly all participants used multiple dating sites to seek partners and making use of email, chat and webcam to engage with, assess, validate and qualify their potential sexual partners. They would "filter" the identity of other online daters before taking further actions. They used an array of filters and filtering processes to determine when and how they might progress to face-to-face meetings with these other online daters, and if and how there might be sexual outcomes from these meetings. Participants filtered using the text, photographs, chat, and webcam opportunities available online, and followed progressive personalized steps in communication and engagement in the lead-up to meeting other online daters in person.
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Self-reports of behaviors and attitudes are strongly influenced by features of the research instrument, including question wording, format, and context. Recent research has addressed the underlying cognitive and communicative processes, which are systematic and increasingly well-understood. The author reviews what has been learned, focusing on issues of question comprehension, behavioral frequency reports, and the emergence of context effect in attitude measurement. The accumulating knowledge about the processes underlying self-reports promises to improve the questionnaire design and data quality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Attractive facial features in women are assumed to signal fertility, but whether facial attractiveness predicts reproductive success in women is still a matter of debate. We investigated the association between facial attractiveness at young adulthood and reproductive life history-number of children and pregnancies-in women of a rural community. For the analysis of reproductive success, we divided the sample into women who used contraceptives and women who did not. Introducing two-dimensional geometric morphometric methodology, we analysed which specific characteristics in facial shape drive the assessment of attractiveness and covary with lifetime reproductive success. A set of 93 (semi)landmarks was digitized as two-dimensional coordinates in postmenopausal faces. We calculated the degree of fluctuating asymmetry and regressed facial shape on facial attractiveness at youth and reproductive success. Among women who never used hormonal contraceptives, we found attractive women to have more biological offspring than less attractive women. These findings are not affected by sociodemographic variables. Postmenopausal faces corresponding to high reproductive success show more feminine features facial characteristics previously assumed to be honest cues to fertility. Our findings support the notion that facial attractiveness at the age of mate choice predicts reproductive success and that facial attractiveness is based on facial characteristics, which seem to remain stable until postmenopausal age.
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Previous research has shown that males value a potential partner’s physical attractiveness more than females do, whereas females value a potential partner’s socioeconomic status (SES) more than males do. But are men really so unconcerned about a potential partner’s SES? Five studies revealed that men do integrate information about a woman’s SES into their decisions on whether to consider her as a romantic partner or not. Results consistently demonstrated that male participants preferred women with lower SES. Female participants, in contrast, preferred men with higher SES. These sex differences were more pronounced when a long-term romantic relationship rather than a one-night stand was being considered. In addition, men’s lower reported likelihood of romantic contact with a woman with high SES was due to her high educational level rather than her high income. Mediational analyses showed that men perceived a potential partner with high educational level as less likeable and less faithful, and thus reported less likelihood of romantic contact.
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To describe the background characteristics of women who gave birth to their first child at an advanced and very advanced maternal age, including their sociodemographic background, social relationships, health behavior, physical and mental health, and reproductive history. Cross-sectional data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Norway. Sample. 41 236 Norwegian-speaking nulliparous women. Data were collected by the first questionnaire distributed in week 17 of pregnancy during the recruitment period 1999-2008. The distribution of descriptive variables in relation to age was investigated, by means of bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses. Advanced (33-37 years) and very advanced (≥38 years) maternal age. Women who had their first baby at an advanced or very advanced age differed from the younger women with regard to a wide range of background characteristics, and this difference was most pronounced for the very advanced group. Problems related to physical aging were more common (infertility, physical health problems, sleep problems, depression and fatigue). Of the sociodemographic factors; high annual income and low level of education were most strongly correlated with high maternal age, followed by single status, unemployment, unsatisfactory relationship with partner and unplanned pregnancy. Besides having more age-related reproductive and physical health problems, women who had their first baby at an advanced or very advanced age constituted a heterogeneous group characterized by either socioeconomic prosperity or vulnerability.
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There is a global trend, in high resource countries, for delayed childbearing beyond the age of 35. Women of advanced maternal age are considered to be at higher risk of poor maternal and neonatal outcomes. Women's views and experiences of delayed childbearing are relatively unexplored. To gain an understanding of factors influencing women's decisions to delay childbearing and explore their experiences and perceptions of associated risks. A qualitative phenomenological study. Greater Manchester, United Kingdom. Purposive sample of 18 women aged 35 and over in three groups; six women with no children who were not pregnant, six women pregnant with their first child and six women with no children attending a fertility clinic. Data were collected by in depth semi-structured interviews, managed manually and subjected to thematic analysis. Three main themes were identified; the chapters of life, the need to know, and childbearing being within or beyond women's control. Women focussed on the need for a stable relationship, being "ready" to have a baby, and acquisition of life experience. Their experiences reflected a lack of awareness of many of the risks associated with pregnancy over age 35 and disbelief that age alone necessarily increased the likelihood of poor outcomes. Women perceived a lack of choice in the timing of when to start a family. Women suggested that although they may have reached a juncture in their lives, at which they felt ready to have a baby, the circumstances in which they found themselves may not support this; factors such as relationship, financial stability, health and fertility, were often outside of their control. Women do not perceive that they have ultimate control when it comes to the timing of childbearing. Health professionals and the media should be aware of the complex interplay of factors surrounding women's reasons for delaying childbearing. Sensitive information and support should be provided allowing for varying perceptions of risk status. Women may benefit from pre-conception education.
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Postponed parenthood has been identified as a significant driver of the trends towards smaller families and underachieved fertility aspirations. Understanding men's preferred timing and circumstances for fatherhood is needed to complement existing research among young women and increase understanding of postponed parenthood. We collected quantitative and qualitative data on attitudes regarding the timing of parenthood from 382 young Australian men attending university. Participants valued having a stable relationship and personal maturity before having children, with completed studies, financial security and a permanent yet flexible job also important. Programmes and policies which facilitate the establishment of important 'preconditions' for parenthood would support individuals to achieve their reproductive aspirations.
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To identify what factors affect women's decisions to delay childbearing, and to explore women's experiences and their perceptions of associated risks. Systematic procedures were used for search strategy, study selection, data extraction and analysis. Findings were synthesised using an approach developed from meta-ethnography. We included qualitative papers, not confined to geographical area (1980-2009). Databases included CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycInfo, ASSIA, MIDIRS, British Nursing Index and the National Research Register. We selected qualitative empirical studies exploring the views and experiences of women of advanced maternal age who were childless or primigravidae with a singleton pregnancy or primiparous. Twelve papers fulfilled the selection criteria and were included for synthesis. Women appear to face an issue of 'informed and uninformed decision making'; those who believe they are informed but may not be, those who are not informed and find out they are at risk once pregnant, and those who are well informed but choose to delay pregnancy anyway. Maternity services could provide information to enable informed choice regarding timing of childbearing. Health professionals need to be mindful of the fact that women delay childbearing for various reasons. A strategy of pre-conception education may be beneficial in informing childbearing decisions. Obstetricians and midwives should be sensitive to the fact that women may not be aware of all the risks associated with delayed childbearing.
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Female fertility declines with age; however, women are increasingly delaying childbearing until later in their reproductive years. One of the factors that may contribute to this trend is a general lack of knowledge about the decline in fertility with age. Self-report survey. Questions pertained to participant demographics and childbearing intentions, and knowledge of the decline in fertility and increased risk of pregnancy loss with age. The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Female undergraduate students (N = 360). None. Knowledge of fertility over the life span, predictors of age of intended childbearing. Although most women were aware that fertility declines with age, they significantly overestimated the chance of pregnancy at all ages and were not conscious of the steep rate of fertility decline. Surprisingly, women overestimated the chance of pregnancy loss at all ages, but did not generally identify a woman's age as the strongest risk factor for miscarriage. Education regarding the rate at which reproductive capacity declines with age is necessary to avoid unintended childlessness among female academics and professionals.
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This special issue of the European Journal of Population focuses on possible economic consequences of low fertility in Europe. This introduction reviews the history of falling fertility in Europe and the literature that explores its causes, its potential implications, and possible policy responses. It also summarizes the evolution of thinking about the relationship between population growth and economic development, with attention to recent work on the mechanisms through which fertility decline can spur economic growth if the necessary supporting conditions are met. The introduction also identifies some of the challenges of population aging that are associated with low fertility and suggests that there may be less reason for alarm than has been suggested by some observers. The papers that appear in this special issue are also summarized.
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Surprisingly, relatively little is known about the relationship between education and completed fertility in low fertility countries and especially the trend in this relationship over time. An inverse relationship is expected, but the topic has been left largely unexplored for at least a generation, and for men the topic is almost completely unexplored empirically. In this paper, we use data from the population registers covering all Norwegians born 1940-64. Among women, the relationship between completed fertility and the educational level attained at age 39 has become substantially less negative. In all the cohorts, better educated women have more often remained childless than the less educated, and they have had later first births, which also contributes to lower subsequent fertility. However, the negative effect of education on higher-order birth rates net of this impact of later motherhood has disappeared in the younger cohorts. Family-friendly policies and ideologies, leading, for example, to better access to high-quality day care, are likely the main engine behind this shift. Among men, a positive relationship has emerged. The better educated become fathers later than others, but fewer remain childless, and there has been an increasingly stimulating effect of education on second- and third-birth rates. We discuss these sex differences in the light of the persistent differences between mother and father roles.
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This article concerns the relations between personality and quality of life. In the first part, we discuss different conceptualizations of personality and quality of life. We argue that personality affects quality of life by influencing how people approach and react to critical life situations. In the second part, we address the beneficial role played by two individual difference variables in promoting quality of life: dispositional optimism and goal adjustment. Literature is reviewed demonstrating that dispositional optimism facilitates subjective well-being and good health, mediated by a person's coping behaviors. In addition, we discuss studies that examine people who confront unattainable goals. The reported evidence supports the conclusion that individual differences in people's abilities to adjust to unattainable goals are associated with a good quality of life.
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The late 20th century trend to delay birth of the first child until the age at which female fecundity or reproductive capacity is lower has increased the incidence of age-related infertility. The trend and its consequences have also stimulated interest in the possible factors in the female and the male that may contribute to the decline in fecundity with age; in the means that exist to predict fecundity; and in the consequences for pregnancy and childbirth. In the female, the number of oocytes decreases with age until the menopause. Oocyte quality also diminishes, due in part to increased aneuploidy because of factors such as changes in spindle integrity. Although older male age affects the likelihood of conception, abnormalities in sperm chromosomes and in some components of the semen analysis are less important than the frequency of intercourse. Age is as accurate as any other predictor of conception with assisted reproductive technology. The decline in fecundity becomes clinically relevant when women reach their mid-30s, when even assisted reproduction treatment cannot compensate for the decline in fecundity associated with delaying attempts at conceiving. Pregnancies among women aged >40 years are associated with more non-severe complications, more premature births, more congenital malformations and more interventions at birth.
Article
Women age 35 and older account for an increasing proportion of births and are at increased risk of having difficulties conceiving and of delivering a multiple birth, low birth weight infant, and/or preterm infant. Little is known about men's and women's understanding of the maternal age related risks to pregnancy. 1) To determine the factors influencing the timing of childbearing for non-parenting men and women, 2) to determine knowledge among non-parenting men and women about maternal age-related reproductive risks, the consequences of low birth weight and multiple birth, and issues related to infertility, and 3) to determine characteristics associated with limited knowledge of these reproductive risks. An age-stratified random sample of individuals, aged 20-45 years and without children, completed a computer-assisted telephone interview from two urban regions of Alberta, Canada (1006 women and 500 men). Factors that influenced timing of childbearing for both men and women included: financial security (85.8%) and partner suitability to parent (80.2%). Over 70% of men and women recognized the direct relationship between older maternal age and conception difficulties. Less than half knew that advanced maternal age increased the risk of stillbirth, caesarean delivery, multiple birth and preterm delivery. Poor understanding of the links between childbearing after age 35, pregnancy complications and increased risk of adverse infant outcomes limits adults' ability to make informed decisions about timing of childbearing.
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Three studies examined associations between goal disengagement and goal reengagement tendencies and indicators of physical health (e.g., health problems, cortisol rhythms, sleep efficiency). Based on research showing that goal adjustment tendencies are associated with subjective well-being, the authors predicted that people who are better able to disengage from unattainable goals and reengage with alternative goals also may experience better physical health. Across the three studies, the findings demonstrate that the ability to disengage from unattainable goals is associated with better self-reported health and more normative patterns of diurnal cortisol secretion. Goal reengagement, by contrast, was unrelated to indicators of physical health but buffered some of the adverse effects of difficulty with goal disengagement. The results also indicate that subjective well-being can mediate the associations between goal disengagement tendencies and physical health.
Article
INTRODUCTION The purpose of the present study was to review existing population surveys on the prevalence of infertility and proportion of couples seeking medical help for fertility problems. METHODS Population surveys, reporting the prevalence of infertility and proportion of couples seeking help in more and less developed countries, were reviewed. RESULTS Estimates on the prevalence of infertility came from 25 population surveys sampling 172 413 women. The 12-month prevalence rate ranged from 3.5% to 16.7% in more developed nations and from 6.9% to 9.3% in less-developed nations, with an estimated overall median prevalence of 9%. In 17 studies sampling 6410 women, the proportion of couples seeking medial care was, on average, 56.1% (range 42–76.3%) in more developed countries and 51.2% (range 27–74.1%) in less developed countries. The proportion of people actually receiving care was substantially less, 22.4%. Based on these estimates and on the current world population, 72.4 million women are currently infertile; of these, 40.5 million are currently seeking infertility medical care. CONCLUSIONS The current evidence indicates a 9% prevalence of infertility (of 12 months) with 56% of couples seeking medical care. These estimates are lower than those typically cited and are remarkably similar between more and less developed countries.