Is there a right time for women to have kids?

As high-tech companies start offering women the chance to put their fertility on ice, Christine Armstrong talks to a range of high-flying mothers about whether it's best to have children early or late.

by Christine Armstrong

A friend at an investment bank was recently advised by her boss to have her kids in her 20s so she could 'hard pedal' in her 30s and really get ahead. Meanwhile, firms such as Apple and Facebook are offering female employees egg freezing as a 'perk' so they can delay motherhood even further, into their 40s if it suits them.

Should they take up this chilly offer? For women who want a family and a decent career, putting off kids has certainly become the norm. The baby window has been well established at between 35 and 40, the point when your network, seniority and income are thought robust enough to survive the arrival of children, but right before fertility starts to decline perilously. I conformed to this protocol to the letter, punctually delivering daughters at 35, 37 and 39. But what will I advise them about the best moment to have their own children?

TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp ignited a twitchunt last year when she tweeted the imagined advice she would give a daughter if she had one: 'Darling, do you know what? Don't go to university. Start work straight after school, stay at home, save up your deposit - I'll help you, let's get you into a flat. And then we can find you a nice boyfriend and you can have a baby by the time you're 27.'

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