Family in 20s

The pros and cons of having children in your 20s

In today’s cultural climate, many women and men in their twenties are focused on pursuing higher education, establishing their careers, and pursuing other life goals (e.g., travelling, building a partnership) – with the intent of starting to build their families in their 30s and 40s. Although becoming a parent later in life has its benefits (e.g., financial security, job stability, life experience, greater emotional maturity), it also has its risks (e.g., infertility, unintentional childlessness, greater chance of birth defects and genetic abnormalities, difficulties with pregnancy and childbirth). In order to circumvent the risks of delaying motherhood, some women today are making the “counter-cultural” decision to pursue their careers later and have their children when they are in the twenties.

Tanya Granic Allen always expected to be “married to [her] job” until she was in her 40’s, yet she decided to have her first child at the age of 27. Now 32 and a mother to three children, she says she couldn’t imagine waiting until she was in her 40s to start building her family. Following the advice of her fertility specialists, Anna Jesus also made the decision to start trying for a family at the age of 27, despite the fact that she was enrolled in medical school. Says Michelle Horton, founder of

“We are in this generation where we have heard all of our lives you’re supposed to get your career done first, you’re supposed to do things in this proper order. But we’re also seeing the generation before us struggling with infertility and saying ‘Gosh I wish I should have realized there’s no perfect time to have a kid and if it was really important to me, I should have done it before my fertility expired. Some people are starting to come around and realize having a kid in your 20s isn’t the worst thing for you.” 

Although the demands of parenthood can be a challenge at any age, younger parenthood may have some advantages including having more energy, being better able to cope with sleep deprivation, and quicker post-partum recovery. Having children earlier in life is not a realistic choice for many women. However, when possible, it is a choice supported by fertility experts. Says Dr. Hitkari, co-director of Olive Fertility Centre in Vancouver, Canada:

“There are societal pressures everybody faces: The amount of education you need to get the same job 30 years ago is increasing and we know that people are certainly waiting — that causes a problem for many… If people could have kids in their 20s and it works for them, that would be the way to go for sure”.

To read more about this issue, click here:

Why many women are putting their careers on pause to have children while in their 20s [National Post]

To read more about age-related fertility decline, click here.

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