Italian women are delaying motherhood to 30 or beyond an age when counterparts around Europe are already trying for a second. A new survey from the commissione igiene e sanit del senato (senate committee for health and hygiene) shows that, on average, women in Europe have their first born between the ages of 26.5 and 30, with women in Portugal and Austria giving birth the earliest, in Spain and Britain around the age of 29, and in Italy around 30. Italy also has one of the lowest fertility rates in Europe, at 1.26 kids per mum. Despite having similar populations, France saw 767,000 children born in 2002, compared to 539,000 in Italy a difference of around 30 per cent. Italian senator Emanuela Baio Dossi says child-bearing is no longer a fact of life but a conscious decision involving a whole series of factors". She adds that professional women may well see pregnancy in a negative light, which explains why they often decide to delay the birth of the first child.