Life Wellbeing Is 35 too old to start a big family? Carrie Underwood thinks so and that has her fans talking

Is 35 too old to start a big family? Carrie Underwood thinks so and that has her fans talking

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Singer Carrie Underwood has hit a controversial note by suggesting it’s too late for women to start a big family when they’re approaching their mid-30s.

“I’m 35, so we may have missed our chance to have a big family,” Underwood said in an interview with Redbook.

“We always talk about adoption and doing it when our child or children are a little older.”

Underwood and 38-year-old husband Mike Fisher – a former professional ice hockey player – welcomed their first child together, Isaiah, in 2015.

The American country music star is currently pregnant with her second child.

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Wedding weekend vibes…

A post shared by Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) on

Fans of the singer immediately took to social media to air their own thoughts on family planning and fertility.

“Carrie you have plenty of time left to add to your family … I know people who have waited until their early 40s,” one Instagram user said.

Others were quick to point out that her comments may hold some medical truth.

“Fertility starts to dramatically drop, and chances of birth defects and complications rise. ‘Google it’,” one fan wrote.

“She said a ‘big’ family. Most docs would agree it’s too late for that,” another said.

Carrie Underwood son Isaiah
Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher welcomed their first child into the world, Isaiah, in 2015. Photo: Instagram

Melbourne-based doctor and researcher Eugénie Prior explained that people who want two or more children in the future should plan ahead and that “IVF itself is not a treatment for age-related fertility”.

“When you consider the time taken to conceive a child, carry the child during pregnancy, and the minimum gap needed between each child for optimum health of the mother and future child, it would be difficult to conceive a ‘big’ family within the biological limits of a woman’s fertility,” Dr Prior told The New Daily.

Many young men and women are unrealistic about fertility expectations, according to Dr Prior, who recently led a study which looked into Australian university students’ attitudes to, and knowledge of fertility.

This may put them at risk of remaining childless or having fewer children than desired, she said.

“My research showed that there are many other things that young people want to do before they have children, leaving only a small window of opportunity to conceive before a woman’s fertility decreases significantly,” Dr Prior said.

Carrie Underwood pregnant
The 35-year-old singer announced she was pregnant with baby number two in a Twitter video on August 8. Photo: Twitter

IVF Australia’s medical director Peter Illingworth told The New Daily that it’s highly unusual to see women starting a large family at 35 years old, but not impossible.

“At age 35, fertility and the risks of pregnancy are little different from younger years, it’s just that it all steadily slows down after that age.”

“It’s not a sudden thing and many people, quite easily and very safely, can start a family in the mid to late-30s and still have two to three children,” Associate Professor Illingworth said.

“However, there’s an element of risk in this. Some couples do find themselves running into troubles even having one or two children, and a large family is usually not possible.”

Some of the complications include miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, low birthweight or stillbirth.

Though there is no ‘ideal’ age to start a big family, according to one study from The Netherlands, women should start no later than 27 years old for a two-child family, and no later than 23 years old for a three-child family.

According to computer modelling by the Dutch researchers, this is estimated to give couples a 90 per cent success rate of having children without IVF.

“When couples accept 75 per cent or lower chances of family completion, they can start four to 11 years later,” the study authors wrote.

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