We are a couple of 25 year olds just finishing our college degrees. We've been together for almost 7 years and my girlfriend just got pregnant. She had an abortion the first time, because at around 20 it seemed way to soon to have a child. We cannot decide now if we should keep the child or start our carreers first so we can get a bigger flat (right now it's barely large enough for the two of us) and some financial buffer before we become a family. What do you think? And what about the health impacts should we decide not to keep the child, does it mean that my girlfriend would not be able to get pregnant the third time? What is a good age to have the first child?

asked 31 Oct '09, 10:00

Jan's gravatar image

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edited 31 Oct '09, 13:10

Dinah's gravatar image


By "not keep", do you mean abort or put up for adoption? This could affect the answers you get.

(31 Oct '09, 13:11) Dinah

And by the way, you're going to get lots of wonderful advice on this site, but it is also a site for parents. Which is to say, since most here are parents, the advice will likely be a bit biased even though we strive for objectivity.

(31 Oct '09, 14:44) Dinah

@ Dinah I think there is a wide range of answers, some can be perceived as less objective and some are more objective. The great thing about this site is we can't generalize the type of parents or the type of advice they are giving because it seems to be a nice and varied pot pourri of parents :)

(31 Oct '09, 23:25) Emi

+1 For asking a question that has generated so much interest.

(31 Oct '09, 23:27) Emi

@Emi: totally agree. If I took too representative of a stance for the site as a whole, I wholeheartedly apologize. I was just saying this site trends toward facts, 'back it up', etc. but even in the most extreme case of neutrality, there will be bias since we're almost all parents. I also intended to imply in contrast that if the perfectly neutral case would be biased, than in the more realistic less than perfectly neutral case, the answers will almost certainly be even more biased. Long story short: Jan should consider the source for all advice here and weigh it appropriately in that light.

(02 Nov '09, 14:18) Dinah

Wow. This is a very tough question. I am pro-life, but I won't judge you if you decide to abort the baby. However, you might consider a third option: adoption. There are a large number of couples who cannot conceive and would like to adopt a healthy infant. I will grant that it is a difficult choice and that adoption might actually take the most courage of the three alternatives, but please consider it.

As to the age for having a child, my younger sister and I are both expecting right now. I am 24, and she's 18. My fiance and I have better odds of being financially secure because he has a solid job, and I've already complete my undergrad. It will be more difficult for my sister, but we have a very supportive family. I believe that we can see this through.

I don't think 25 is necessarily too young. It depends on your personal situation. It sounds like you will have some challenges ahead if you choose to keep the child, but I've been amazed at what people can do when they have to. You will have to make a lot of sacrifices and lifestyle changes. However, there is no doubt in my mind that you can do this if you decide to.

I wish you all the best!

Very Large Post Script: Here is some information I found regarding the medical side of abortions. I think that the site is fairly balanced, but it's nearly impossible to find a totally neutral source on this subject.

JustFacts covers a variety of sources on many elements of abortion. The section on abortion's effects on later pregnancies has these two quotes:

  • An “Abortion Services” page on Planned Parenthood’s website states:

    Abortion DOES NOT …

    • Cause premature birth, birth defects or low infant birth weight in future pregnancies

    • Increase the chance of infant death in the future [180]

  • A 2007 paper in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine cites 59 studies that exhibit a statistically significant association between abortion and the risk of premature births in subsequent pregnancies. In five of the largest and more recent of these studies, all found increases in premature births before 32 weeks gestation in women who had an abortion. All of these studies also found that this risk escalated when more than one abortion was performed.[181] Children born before 32 weeks gestation are at increased risks for early death, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and other health complications.[182]

These are the footnotes:

[180] Web page: “Abortion Services.” Planned Parenthood of Nassau County. Accessed June 28, 2008 at http://www.plannedparenthood.org/nassau-county/abortion...

[181] Paper: “Cost consequences of induced abortion as an attributable risk for preterm birth and impact on informed consent.” By Byron C. Calhoun, Elizabeth Shadigian & Brent Rooney. The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, October 2007. Pages 929-937. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17977168?dopt=Abstract

Page 930:

Fifty-nine studies were reviewed for preterm birth and links to abortion… From this review, we selected 5 of the most recent, representative studies with an association between induced abortion and preterm birth as detailed examples of the 59 studies published in Appendix B…

Pages 930-931:

Five large, recent, international studies have shown an association of prior abortions to preterm delivery3,6-9 (Table IV), and 50 studies over the last 50 years have shown a statistically significant association (Appendix B). All of the studies found a statistically significant increase in preterm births before 32 weeks for women undergoing at least 1 first-trimester abortion, with the ORs [odds ratios] ranging from 1.3 to 2.5.3,6-9 Women undergoing [two or more] abortions had an even larger risk of preterm birth, with ORs ranging from 1.8 to 5.2.3,6-9.

[182] Fact Sheet: “Preterm Birth.” March Of Dimes, February 2007. http://www.marchofdimes.com/

Premature birth is a serious health problem. Premature babies are at increased risk for newborn health complications, as well as lasting disabilities, such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, lung and gastrointestinal problems, vision and hearing loss, and even death. Many premature babies require care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which has specialized medical staff and equipment that can deal with the multiple problems faced by premature infants. …

All premature babies are at risk for health problems, but those born before about 32 weeks of gestation face the highest risk.


answered 31 Oct '09, 13:32

Artemis's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%


You bring up a good point RE adoption. I know at least 3 couples off the top of my head who cannot conceive but would like to be able to.

(31 Oct '09, 13:41) Dinah

My first son was born when I was 25 - now I have three boys and I'm 28. We live in a small condo (2 bedrooms) and live on my husband's income. Yeah, sometimes money and space can be tight, but being a family is a beautiful, amazing thing. I wouldn't trade it.

If you do decide that starting a family isn't the right decision for you at this time, do consider adoption. Your baby deserves a chance to live his/her life in a loving home, even if that home isn't yours.


answered 02 Nov '09, 06:43

Emily's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I had been dating my girlfriend for about 5 weeks when we discovered she was pregnant. I was 21, she was 22. It was a big decision but we decided to go with it. For us it worked out really well. We have now been married for 10 years, and have 2 more kids. I personally am glad that we have had kids while young and things are now getting easier, while friends are just starting to have kids and having their lives turned up side down.

Having said that, my wife was working in a temp admin post at the time, so it didn't cause her any big issues to suspend work to be a house mum.

Anyway, short answer is only you can decide, but you are 4 years older than I was and things worked out fine for me.

Having recently answered the question about post-natal depression, maybe I should point out that although I do not regret the decision to have Adam, and I have a happy home now, the journey to get here was not all easy. It must be your decision, and don't underestimate just how life changing having a baby is, if you or your partner don't feel ready then dont have the baby.


answered 03 Nov '09, 18:33

pipthegeek's gravatar image

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edited 04 Nov '09, 17:57

I think that the question you ask is something that should be thought through carefully and answered by your partner and yourself. You need to speak with your own doctor or partners gynaecologist who should adivse accordingly with regard to health impacts of another abortion and future pregnancy issues.

While in my opinion, having a child is one of the greatest things that can occur in ones life, regardless of whether you are male or female, it is also one that requires a vast amount of patience responsibility and understanding. While I am sure that its not impossible to bring up a child in a small flat, I think that a certain amount of financial stability or security is advisable.

I personally do not know if there is a good age to have a first child, mid 20's through to mid 30's are probably the most popular ages. More important than the age factor, is whether it is the right time for you and your partner and whether you are ready to bear the responsibilty of bringing up a child comfortably and still maintain a balanced healthy life of your own.


answered 31 Oct '09, 12:20

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 31 Oct '09, 13:03

There's no way I can tell you to or not to get an abortion. I would say that in the noise of the pro-life/pro-choice battles of extremes that some factual information gets drowned out by screaming, ideology and emotion. I'll leave the question of ethics to you but I believe that there are medical reasons to not take abortions lightly if you plan to conceive later (as it sounds like you 2 do). Here's some factual advice from a neutral source I trust (The Mayo Clinic): Could an abortion increase the risk of problems in a subsequent pregnancy?

This part is not advice, simply personal experience. Do with it what you will:

  • My mother-in-law had 2 kids by the age of 22 and they all lived only on the father's income. In her family, you can trace the generations by literal 20 year gaps going back to the 1800s. 8 years later the family increased to 6 with no additional income. The had many tough financial times but were always a very happy family.
  • My best friend + spouse had their 1st when he was 20 and she was 19.
  • By 28, my sister + spouse had 3 kids.

Given these close relationships of mine, I don't think 20 or 25 is too young at all.


answered 31 Oct '09, 13:01

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accept rate: 15%


The mayo clinic article seems to be pretty straightforward.

(31 Oct '09, 13:36) Artemis

@Artemis: when we 1st got pregnant and went looking for info, everyone recommended we get "what to expect when you're expecting." We borrowed a friend's copy and decided it was too much opinion and allegorical evidence for us. We wanted reliable facts. Then we found the Mayo Clinic pregnancy book. It is every bit as accessible as 'what to expect' but with more focus on neutral facts while still being helpful. Since then I've looked into them more and am a big fan.

(31 Oct '09, 13:46) Dinah

My daughter was born when I was 24, and I don't feel that I was too young. My mother-in-law had 4 children by the time she was 27. She would never say that she was too young when she became a mother. My mom was also 24 when my older brother was born - she does not feel she was too young. Both my parents and my in-laws were living on a single income at the time they became parents and continued on a single income until all their children were school age.

The way I see, if you are old enough to be engaging in sex, you are old enough to live with the natural results of your actions. If you really feel that you cannot provide the kind of life a child deserves, I would suggest putting him up for adoption. There are many couples out there would love to be in your situation.


answered 31 Oct '09, 15:18

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accept rate: 8%


I agree with everything you said except "if you are old enough to be engaging in sex, you are old enough to live with the natural results of your actions." I believe there's evidence that over the last century at least, environment and culture have drastically altered the age at which one is a functional and self-sufficient adult but biology hasn't changed. If you don't accept these points then disregard this opinion. If you do accept these points, then I believe the logical conclusion is that the ability to bear children and the ability to raise children are out of sync.

(02 Nov '09, 14:25) Dinah

What I'm trying to say is, if my daughter, when she reaches her teenage years, comes home and tells me she is pregnant - I'm not going to accompany her to the doctor's office for an abortion. I expect her to carry the child to term, because pregnancy is the natural result of sex. But, I will not make her raise the child herself. It will be up to her to decide whether to keep the child or put him up for adoption. If she chooses to keep the child, I will help her provide a good life for him whether that means watching him while she works or goes to school or whatever.

(02 Nov '09, 14:47) mkcoehoorn

Not that I like the implications of it, but in his book Freakonomics, Steven Levitt shows through stats that there's a strong correlation between the legalization of abortion, and a drop in violent crime rates about 18 years later. The implication is that unwanted children are more likely be involved in violent crime later in life. So I would rephrase your statement slightly: "It's too bad when people are physically old enough to have sex, they're clearly not old enough to live with the consequences." ...and then add: "Only engage in sex if you're prepared to live with the consequences."

(06 Nov '09, 04:22) Scott ♦♦

I've known too many people who were adopted or who were unable to have children of their own so they adopted to completely agree with your statement. I'm not disputing the facts, as I haven't taken the time to check them, but most of the people I know whose bio-parents put them up for adoption (for whatever reason) have turned out to be normal, law-abiding adults. The danger is when a person raises a child they do not want - which is why I advocate adoption when you are not ready to be a parent.

(09 Nov '09, 19:32) mkcoehoorn

Boy thats a tough question and realistically non of us can answer it for you. having a baby changes your life - most of us will tell you, for the better. It can also be very challenging. My partner and I had our first when we were 32 and I will never forget the day he turned to me and said "Honey I think we should start trying for kids". I remember that stunned feeling and muttering 'arrrrrrre youuuuuuu suuuuuure, they don't come with refunds, we can't send them back????' I was definately not sure but he was. We talked about it a lot, and I mean tonnes, for days and days before making a decision. Of course we had discussed having children before we married but at that point it was more a mythical future plan that we were both good with. We tried to discuss everything to make sure we were both on the same page, how we would cope financially seemed to be the biggest concern and we did our research on what costs are involved so we could be realistic. We also talked about their religeous upbringing, their education, morals, values, specific parenting issues that were deal breakers on both of our parts, where we would live, what we wold do about our families and that at the time they were all 3000-5000 miles away from us. We talked about the middle of the night challenges, the possibility of birth defects, the possibility of pregnancy complications, colic, behavioural challenges. We even discussed what would happen if one of us died, life insurance, coping mechanisms and loose plans. We looked around us to evaluate the support system we had in place at that time. We discussed how our marriage would change and what we would expect from the other one in terms of balancing being a spouse and a parent. We discussed very specific roles and duties - diaper changes, baths and feeding, etc. There was no way I was having a baby with a man that 'observed' fatherhood. All of this really helped us realize that we were ready and it was an eye openning experience for both of us. Taking the time to really 'try on parenthood' through these very frank and candid discussions should be something that every couple should do but sadly they don't.

As for the health issues on aborting, I personally know a few people that have been through multiple abortions and are fine. The complication rates are low but not without risk. One bad abortion could leave her sterile bt its not likely. The others have provided you with good links to the abortion info so I figured it best to address the other half of your question on how to decide when its right to become a parent.


answered 31 Oct '09, 13:44

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

A baby puts huge pressure on a relationship, it's hard work. Even if the baby is wanted and planned for. Putting up the baby for adoption always seems to be offered as the pro-life alternative for those who don't want a baby yet. But that's hard, could you really give up a baby once it had been born for strangers to raise?

Your partner had an abortion before, and it's worth considering the health risks of another, but there are health risks associated with pregnancy too.

Finally, if you want to consider the ethics of abortion you may be interested on what Professor Richard Dawkins (a highly acclaimed biologist) has written on the issue.


answered 06 Nov '09, 18:05

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Meg Stephenson
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edited 06 Nov '09, 19:46

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Asked: 31 Oct '09, 10:00

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Last updated: 06 Nov '09, 19:46