Why Women Are Putting Off Pregnancy

Did these reasons factor into when you started your family?
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Sep 2016
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Photo: iStock

It’s no secret that more women are waiting to have children. And thanks to technologies like egg freezing and IVF, it’s becoming easier for them to do so. But ever wonder why the average age of first-time moms is on the up and up, jumping from 24.9 to 26.3 in 15 years? It has to do with more than just career.

Research commissioned by the Fertility Centers of Illinois pinpoints the top five reasons women give for deciding to delay pregnancy. The no. 1 reason, given by 82 percent of survey participants? The desire to be financially established.

That’s a solid reason: having a baby is expensive. A close runner-up, cited by 80 percent of women surveyed, involves the need to be emotionally ready for a family. At the bottom of the list for most of the 1,208 participants: “I haven’t found the right partner yet.”

“The research findings weren’t surprising and are reflective of what I see when treating women in everyday practice,” Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, MD, of Fertility Centers of Illinois, tells The Bump.

Childless women between the ages of 25 and 45 were invited to take this online survey, and could indicate more than one reason for delaying pregnancy. Take a look at the full breakdown of their responses below:

“I want to be financially established so I don’t struggle like my parents did.” 82%
“I want to have life experience and be emotionally stable.” 80%
“I want to focus on my career.” 63%
“I value my freedom and don’t want to be tied down.” 60%
“I haven’t found the right partner yet.” 54%

For the 63 percent most concerned about career, major companies like Apple and Facebook are making it a priority to accommodate them, each offering up to $20,000 for egg freezing. (Each cycle costs about $10,000).

“I have seen an increase in single women pursuing parenthood and freezing their eggs in the past decade,” Hirshfeld-Cytron says. “Once they have fulfilled the goals they’ve set, they are ready for motherhood and sometimes willing to move forward on their own or would like to ‘stop’ the biological clock with fertility preservation.”

While the age of first-time moms is increasing, the window of fertility is not. Specialists encourage women to research their options, such as egg freezing, even before they decide it’s time to start a family.

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The Bump Editors

Why Women Are Putting Off Pregnancy

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor