Delaying parenthood could contribute to marital breakdown because women and men are more intent on finding a fertile partner than settling down for love, research suggests.
In a growing trend dubbed the ‘breeder relationship’, women who wait until their 30s or 40s to start a family are then rushing into loveless partnerships for the sake of having an instant family.
The mismatched couples, who often settle for second best in a partner because their body clock is ticking, are more likely to have failed relationships, experts warned.
In many cases a partner in a ‘breeder relationship’ will callously dump their other half and go in search of a more fertile mate if they have problems conceiving, figures revealed.
A survey of more than 3,100 single men and women showed more than a third would choose a partner for their ability to conceive over their compatibility.
Some 42 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men said if they met their ideal partner but knew they risked being infertile, they would reconsider starting a relationship. More than two thirds worried about being unable to conceive naturally and feared leaving it late would lead to medical complications.
And three quarters said problems conceiving could lead to them ditching their partner out of fear of remaining childless, the poll showed.
The research, carried out for conception specialists Vitabiotics Pregnacare Conception, also revealed two out of five would settle for a secondrate partner if they had not met ‘the one’ before deciding to start a family.
Dr Linda Papadopoulos, a psychologist from the London Metropolitan University, said: ‘When seeking a partner we are likely to pay particular attention to their inclination for parenthood.
‘The “breeder relationship” means that you have more chances of getting it wrong because no one wants to feel that their partner is with them as a means to an end.’
Half of all births in the UK are to mothers over 30, compared with just over a quarter two decades ago.
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