There has been a corresponding surge in 40-plus mothers.
But fertility wanes after the age of 35, and a study earlier this year by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that nearly a fifth of British women are childless at the menopause.
Like many modern women, I spent much of my 20s viewing potential suitors through what we jokingly termed ‘beer goggles’.
Once we began talking, my mind would race off into a baby-filled fantasy future. Excellent, I’d think, picturing him kicking a ball around with our children. Brilliant, I’d say to myself, imagining him riding along with our toddler strapped on the back.
And then, far too early on, I’d ask nonchalantly: ‘So, how do you feel about kids?
’ I knew the subject of children was off-limits on the first few dates, but my growing baby angst hijacked my common sense.
Another single friend, who is 38, says she mentally mixes her genes with a man’s before she’s even halfway through their first date.
‘I look at his nose and then at my nose, and wonder what kind of nose our baby would have,’ she explains.Women in England and Wales are having their first child on average at 28 — four years later than in 1970.When I saw him across a crowded room, I was transfixed. On meeting any new man, my critical faculties were once more impaired, not by alcohol, but by the ticking of my biological clock, so that every guy I came across began to look like a potential husband and father.Lovely eyes, engaging smile, decent height and a full head of hair. When I was wearing my baby goggles, which was pretty much any time there was a nice-looking man around, I’d see images of a doting dad holding a beautiful baby in his arms, as I pushed a designer stroller beside him. And, like many women of my generation, I had, until recently, begun to see men through a very different set of goggles: ‘baby goggles’. Today, I am 40, single and childless — but still hoping to become a mother.