Nearly half of teenagers are concerned about having children - and there are two huge factors making them worry

Most teens picture a future in which they have kids, but that doesn't mean they're not worried about the practicalities of life with children

teenagers are concerned about having children
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A new poll has revealed that more than four in 10 teenagers are worried about having children when they grow up, with many saying they do not want to have kids at all.

While you're busy wondering why your teenager is tuning you out, or dealing with a teen's many ‘annoying’ habits (that may actually be actually a sign of good parenting), it can be easy to forget that your child is on the verge of adulthood and putting in some serious thought as to what their future holds. 

And it appears there is one very big worry playing on the minds of teenagers across the UK when it comes to their futures; having kids. 

A new poll has found that more than one in four students, aged 16 to 18, are concerned about having children in the future. The teenagers' worries mainly centre around self-doubt, financial burdens, health and wellbeing, hindrance to personal aspirations, non-inclusive LGBTQ+ education, and a general fear of pregnancy and childbirth,

Senior author Professor Joyce Harper from University College London's EGA Institute for Women's Health, who conducted the poll, said, "Sadly, a number of female students expressed a lack of interest in future parenthood due to their fears about pregnancy and childbirth.

"Shortcomings in fertility education in schools also meant that students were left feeling both ill-informed and negative towards their own fertility and ability to have children."

For 931 of the students polled, the fear and worry is so strong they would rather not have children at all. Those who said they don't wish to have kids cited not only a fear of pregnancy and childbirth, but also climate change and the 'turbulent state of the world' as the main factors influencing their decision. 

One female student who didn't want to have kids explained, "The state of the world is in a shambles. Governments are corrupt. The environment is deteriorating... it would be cruel to put a child through any of our problems, especially since they are not getting better."

But two thirds of teenagers still said they do want to become parents in the future, though a whopping 45% said their dream is damped by the worries and reservations they have concerning parenthood. 

The main reason for teenagers' worries appears to be the lack of education they have received concerning reproductive health. The poll's researchers highlight some huge gaps in the curriculum  including not being told about reproductive issues like endometriosis, infertility and the impact of lifestyle on fertility.

When the students were asked how sex education could be improved, they prioritised inclusivity, 'sex positivity,' a need for honest, 'non-judgmental teaching' as the factors they were most interested in. 

One female student added, "All we've done in school is go over and over having safe sex and talked about periods which, whilst it is important, is barely scratching the surface of things people need to know about.

"If miscarriage and infertility were better taught, then that could reduce the guilt and embarrassment people who struggle with it would feel."

In response to the research, a spokesperson for Department for Education told Sky News they are 'currently considering a recommendation from the Women and Equalities Select Committee to make lessons on relationships, health and sex education compulsory for young people in post-16 settings.'

Parenting a teen? Keep up to date with family news like this is the real reason why your teenager is sleeping in late, and it’s not because they’re lazy - here's what the experts told us, and what to expect when your teenager starts dating - plus, how to make sure they're safe and feel comfortable opening up to you about it, as well as your favourite TV show could influence your teen's future career: The Great British Bake Off and Grey's Anatomy are among the series inspiring 60% of teenagers.

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.