A new study looks at DNA's role in the family planning puzzle.
A lot of factors come into play as you plan your family: age, income, preference. But now a new study published in the journal Nature Genetics suggests how many kids you have and when may also be determined by something outside of your control: your genetics.
According to Health Day, after looking at 568,000 men and women, 250 scientists have identified 12 specific areas of DNA linked to a woman's first childbirth and total family size.
"For example, we found that women with DNA variants for postponing parenthood also have bits of DNA code associated with later onset of menstruation and later menopause," study lead author Melinda Mills explained in a university news release, adding, "One day it may be possible to use this information so doctors can answer the important question: 'How late can you wait?' based on the DNA variants."
Pretty interesting stuff, huh? Because what woman hasn't had that very question on her mind?
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It's important to point out that according to the study authors, when you have a baby "still strongly depends on many social and environmental factors that will always play a bigger role." In fact, DNA predicts less than 1 percent of the total equation when it comes to behaviors surrounding having kids.
But that tiny percent still offers insight into the mystery that is family planning. I have actually been hoping to have another baby for quite some time now, without luck. And I'd be interested in any information that could help me understand my chances of conceiving again. Am I too old? Are three kids my max? I wonder what my genes would say...
How about you?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.