Biological clock

Delaying motherhood is linked to genetics, study says

Jason Henry/The New York Times

The average age of first-time mothers has been steadily rising. But while many experts have explained women’s decisions to have their first children at a later age by citing sociological factors, such as education, the rise of contraception, and ambitions to play a greater role in the labor market. A new study by Oxford researchers, however, found that genetics play a role, too. “What we see in this study is a clear genetic component linked to the age of mothers when they have their first child, and to the number of children they have,” said Melinda Mills from Oxford University. Mills said the study did not identify specific genes that are associated with having children earlier or later in life, but a follow-up study would be published soon. “It’s not one gene, but a combination of genetic variants that makes you more prone to having your children later or earlier.” Through studying genetics, the researchers hope to learn more about why women delay motherhood and, ultimately, help people make more informed choices about how late they can wait by providing them with information on their own fertility and biological clocks.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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