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Just One Conversation Needed for Couples to Stay Childless

Update Date: Apr 25, 2014 06:06 PM EDT

It takes just one conversation for most couples to decide to not have children, according to a new study.

Researchers at Middlesex University also found that some couples don't even need to speak about it to make the decision.

Lead researcher Edina Kurdi of Middlesex University found that 40 percent of childless women in her study had either not talked about having children, or had only discussed this once early in their relationship.

The survey involved 75 British women who were childless. Respondents were women who were aged 35 and above.

Researchers asked women about their discussions with their current partners about not having children. Study data revealed that 23 of the 63 women who answered to the question had decided not to have children after one conversation, and three others said they had not talked about the issue at all.

Negotiation? It only needed one brief discussion, along the lines of 'I don't want kids - do you?' 'Nope, me neither'. Then move onto something more interesting to talk about... and neither of us reconsidered our options. There was no need to," said one woman, according to researchers.

"It never really got said, it was just realized by our actions - we had a two-seater car!" another said.

Researchers said the findings were "somewhat surprising and very interesting," according to a news release.

"Not having children is obviously a very important decision, and what was interesting from the research was the negligible amount of discussion that couples engaged in - many are agreeing not to have children in one conversation, or in an unspoken way," Kurdi said at the British Sociological Association's annual conference in Leeds today.

"One possible reason that couples did not need to talk about the issue much is that they could accurately sense their partner did not want children from their beliefs and lifestyle," Kurdi added.

"Very little attention has been paid to the negotiations within romantic relations about not having a family, even though developed countries are facing a general decline in fertility combined with an accelerated rate of childlessness," she said.

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