The simple answer is no. For every man, woman or couple it is an intensely personal decision which only you can make.
In Jane Austen's day (that is, around 210 years ago) girls were being married off at the age of 17, and unmarried women as "old" as 21 were considered spinsters.
Nowadays, at the age of 21, most Western educated girls have not even finished university. Both sexes are likely to postpone marriage until their lives have been set up – which for most, means after finishing their education and setting up a career. Marriage used to be the first step into adulthood, but now it is often the last.
Singapore has followed this Western trend, with a steady increase in the average female marrying age since the 1960s, from all levels of education and across all the main ethnic groups. Compared with the 1990s, singlehood rates among men on the island state have also increased. This delay is logically followed by a postponement in child bearing. There is also a strong correlation between educational level and family size. The averages both worldwide and in Singapore bear this out: University graduates from all age groups have tended to have the fewest children.
Sara*, 29, is married with a three-year-old daughter. She was the first of all her friends to marry (at the age of 22) and is still the only person from her group of friends with children. "Although I wanted to have children young, it has been quite a lonely experience, as none of my friends know what I am going through – and I can't relate to a lot of their experiences either. My children will also be so much older than my friends' children, which is a pity."
Because she has a child, Sara has also not finished her university degree, and cannot see when she will have the time or the money to do so.
Lauren on the other hand, finished university and focused on her career, and now in her early thirties she is single and worried. "If and when I meet someone, we'll need some time to get to know each other, and by the time we get married and are ready to have children, it might be too late."
Marcus and Becky got married straight after university. Marcus says: "We knew we wanted to be together, so we didn't wait to get married, but we are still too young for kids, so we'll wait a few more years before we do that. There is still so much we want to do."
No matter the trend, for now at least, the science remains immutable. Married or not, a woman's chances of having children decrease the older you get, and if you are the traditional type, you may want to be married prior to becoming parents.
*Names have been changed.
-- Yahoo! SEA