London, October 22 (ANI): Women graduates wait until they reach 35 to have their first child - almost a decade later than those who do not go to university- new research has revealed.
The trend has grown as the number of female students has more than doubled in the past 20 years - in 2010 half of all young women in England went to university.
While delaying motherhood by a decade helps secure these women's position on the career and housing ladders, experts said it may be at some personal cost, according the Daily Mail.
"Women who have children later in life may well have established their careers, but they also face the risk of becoming the sandwich generation - looking after ageing parents or other relatives while also bringing up children," the paper quoted Les Mayhew, professor of statistics at Cass business school, part of City University London, as saying.
Danny Dorling, the professor of human geography at Sheffield University whose research identified the trend, said: "Until the massive expansion in university education, you couldn't guess social class by the age of a child's mother.
"Birth age was similar at all levels of society. Now the word 'generation' doesn't mean the same thing across society any more.
"Society has split into two groups. One group, of women graduates, clustered particularly in London and the commuter belt, is having children very late and the rest are having them at much the same age as their mothers and their grandmothers did," she said.
If the phenomenon continues for another generation, it means some grandparents will have to wait an extra 20 years, until the age of 70, to have their first grandchild.
Prof Dorling pointed out that although life spans are increasing, this is not happening quickly enough to make up for the gap.
Women who delay childbirth are also at higher risk of birth abnormalities, are more reliant on IVF and cannot draw on the same energy levels as younger mothers.
Sage will publish Prof Dorling's findings next month. (ANI)