Over half of women turn 30 without children, as later motherhood becomes the norm

Dorothy Byrne, the former head of Channel 4 News, who had a child aged 45, said the seminars were designed to help women understand the dramatic drop in fertility after the age of 35.

Fertility experts have said schools should teach young girls about declining fertility, instead of focusing on messages about avoiding pregnancy.

The ONS data also shows the average number of children a woman has had by the age of 30 has been dropping since 1971, when it stood at 1.89. Last year, it fell to 0.89, its lowest ever level, showing the drop off in family sizes for people in their 20s.

Ms Sharfman said: “The average number of children born to a woman has been below two for women born since the late 1950s.

“While two-child families are still the most common, women who have recently completed their childbearing are more likely than their mothers’ generation to have only one child or none at all.”

‘Vital’ to educate young people on fertility

Dr Jo Mountfield, a consultant obstetrician and the vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said it was vital that all young people were fully educated about fertility, so they could make informed decisions.

She said: “Over the last few decades, there has been a general trend of women choosing to have babies later than women a generation ago, and a growing trend of women having fewer or no children. This is due to a range of social, professional and financial reasons.

“Natural fertility starts to decline from around the age of 35 and while many women older than this have successful pregnancy outcomes, giving birth later in life is associated with an increased possibility of complications. These include potentially taking longer to get pregnant, fertility problems, increased risk of miscarriage and a more complicated labour.”

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