• Child free by choice: Why an increasing number of couples are deciding not to have children
As humans we're basically biologically predisposed to feel the need to procreate, to help keep the species going, generation after generation. But what if you're not? The Feed's Jeannette Francis looks at why some couples make the choice to not have kids.
Airdate: 
Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 19:30
Channel: 
SBS Two

Ayda and Rob Hornak have both made the choice not to have children - they're part of a growing movement of couples in Australia who are choosing not to reproduce.

The couple say they don't see children as something which will ever work with their lifestyle.

"I think it’s a choice that you make and you choose to prioritise and our priority is to put our lifestyle before we put anything else," says Rob. ""Seeing my sister raise my niece... I just think [of] the restrictions that she has upon her, you know, where she always puts the child first."

"I can’t imagine putting somebody else before my wife, or before myself."

Ayda says she cops a lot of criticism from her extended family who have mostly settled down and had children.

She says she can't stand the thought of having kids to look after.

"It's what they've grown up to believe that family is the most important thing in the world and without children you’re incomplete, I can't possibly think that," says Ayda. "Our God-given right is to live life on our terms and do what we want to do... I don’t think we owe anybody anything."

"I cringe at the thought of having kids because of the time and effort that’s involved to raise them and be with them."

For some couples the decision not to have kids can be financial - but not for Ayda and Shaun.

The couple sees themselves as being in the high income bracket - a lifestyle that allows them to own toys like a Mercedes convertible.

"It doesn't have a back seat, much to my mother's disgust," says Ayda. "But I am due for an upgrade... I don't think you can do that with kids."

The number of Australian couples choosing not to have children is on the rise.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows couples without children to be the fastest growing family type in the country and will increase to 3.5 million by 2031.

Emma and Shaun Benson have also made the decision not to have kids. They say it's not really something that they've ever wanted.

"We work so hard so that we can travel and enjoy our lives," says Shaun. "When we’re outside and we’re hanging around and playing around with the nephews I don’t ever feel like oh geez I would love one of these."

Emma's mother Julie Woodruff says her daughter's decision not to have children is 'a bit wierd' and is hoping Emma and Shaun will one day change their mind.

"I was a mother at 20 and I sort of thought I'd be a grandmother by the time I was 50 but I might have to wait till I’m 60," says Julie.

But Emma says that's not something which will ever happen.

"My mum grew up wanting to get married and have kids and that’s not what I’ve ever wanted to do," says Emma.

The couple also say they can't stand the inevitable flood of Facebook posts that come with children.

"It's like, I'm so proud of my little boy, he went to the toilet for the first time," says Emma. "Yeahhh... No one needs to know that."

Earlier this year one of the biggest studies ever was conducted into relationships in Britain.

It found couples without children had happier relationships than couples with children and were more likely to feel valued by their partner.

And while Emma and Shaun say that some people enjoy having kids, they say their enjoyment lies elsewhere.

"Travelling is our enjoyment," says Shaun. "From where we are they don’t know what they’re missing out on, not being able to do what we can do, and travel the world and go to places that they can probably never dream of going."

"When we’re old and sitting on the couch with our blankies and cup of teas we can flick back and look through all our photo albums and think we’ve had a pretty darn good life."

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