Putting Off Motherhood

In 1971, the mean age of first-time moms in America was 21.4 years old, in 2014 it’s 26.3 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. One might assume the most common reason women are waiting longer to have children is because they are waiting to find Mr. Right, right? Wrong.

New national research conducted through interviews across the country with 1,208 women age 25-45 without children found Mr. Right ranked at the bottom of the top five reasons women are delaying having children.

In research commissioned by Fertility Centers of Illinois, respondents were not limited to one answer and are not patients of FCI.

Top 5 Reasons Why Women Say They Are Waiting To Have Children:

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

For women with income less than $49,000 per year, finding the right partner ranked at 61%. For women with incomes greater than $100,000 per year, finding the right partner dropped to 37%.

Women age 25-29 were statistically most likely to identify with needing financial stability, life experience and emotional stability, and career focus. In all three categories, statistics dropped significantly with age.

Of the women surveyed, 67% are interested in having children but were not currently trying to become pregnant. Half of the women surveyed plan on trying for a baby in the next one to five years, while approximately 13% were currently trying to conceive.

For women who wish to delay childbearing, egg freezing, known scientifically as oocyte cryopreservation, can preserve female fertility and essentially stop the biological clock. The entire process requires around three weeks and involves stimulation of the ovaries through medication and an egg retrieval procedure. Women are encouraged to freeze their eggs in their early 30s for the greatest chance of success.

Egg freezing is now covered under some insurance plans and employer benefits. Out-of-pocket cost of egg freezing for one cycle is $10,000. Additional cost-saving options such as discounted medication may also be available, and specialized financial counselors can assist in uncovering potential financial benefits.


Survey Research Methodology: The survey included 1,208 interviews with women age 25-45 without children in the United States. The survey was hosted online, with participants recruited from multiple web-based recruiting panels. The overall survey carries a margin of error of +2.8% at the 95% confidence level, which is higher for subgroups of analysis. The survey was conducted by Kupersmit Research.