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'Kin Factor' Plays Important Role in Women Attempting to Conceive

Update Date: Feb 05, 2013 04:56 AM EST

Women who want to have a baby may find it easier to conceive if they stay nearer to their family, a recent study finds.

The researchers were Dr. Paul Mathews at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex and Dr. Rebecca Sear from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the study was funded by the U.K.'s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Researchers looked into the data from the British Household Panel Survey which had more than 4,950 studies of 1,900 young women between the year 1992 and 2003. People closer to the pregnant women, their number of contacts with the women, and their post-natal care was also looked into.

The researchers found that 'kin factor' plays an important role in the life of women. It increases the chances of conceiving for women who are trying for a baby or mothers who want another child. The kin factor can be of two types: when it comes in the form of financial help or child care offers, they call it 'kin assistance'; and when it comes in the form of encouragement or pressure from the family, they call it 'kin priming'.

"We were surprised that we actually found a significant effect. We thought that maybe there might be a relationship, but we were surprised that the relationship remained even after we control for a whole myriad of social and economic background factors. So when comparing two young women who have effectively the same income, education, religion, ethnicity; whilst they are the same on all these attributes, the young woman who is closer to her family still seems to find it significantly easier to have children," Dr. Mathews said in a university news release.

The researchers found that for mothers who are thinking of a second child, the child care provided by the family eases their mind enough to seriously consider conceiving. For young women who are trying to conceive for the first time, the help and support provided by the family goes a long way to ease their mind.

"We know that having kin around is beneficial in terms of having children in high-fertility resource-poor populations, both in developing countries and in historical Europe. We were surprised that even in a very different setting, a modern technologically advanced society such as Britain, we still see the same pattern. It appears that kin significantly helps and encourage young women to have children," Dr. Mathews added.

The study was published in PLoS ONE.

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