Here’s how your living situation could be affecting your fertility

Here’s how your living situation could be affecting your fertility

Your household structure may seriously affect your fertility.

That’s according to research published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, which says that living with either a mother or mother-in-law may lower the number of children a woman has.

Researchers analyzed medical records of more than two million women worldwide between the ages of 15-34. They discovered that in most cases, women do not live with their mother or mother-in-law, but if a woman did, she had fewer children when compared to those living with just their spouse.

Interestingly, they also found that women who live with their mother had fewer children than those who lived with their mother-in-law.

“While the survey does point out an interesting trend, I find it hard to draw any direct correlation,” says Dr. Natalie Roche, OB/GYN with Advocate Medical Group. “The breadth of cultures surveyed and extensive decisions which go into family size or family dynamics make any direct connection limited.”

One theory the researchers are considering is the concept of resource competition.

“In three-generation households, grandparents are not only providers of support but can also be resource competitors,” said study authors.

They also suggested that women who live with a mother may choose to do so because of socioeconomic conditions like unemployment or poor health, which may also keep them from having more children.

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.