Nearly half of men believe that women aged 36 are too old to become mothers, according to a new survey.

A YouGov poll shows the "ideal age" for a woman to become a mother is 28 according to Britons, who think that a man should become a father at 30.

Opinions differ between people who are parents themselves, who believe the ideal age to become a mother is 27, and those who do not have any children, who think that 30 is the best age for someone to have a child.

Mothers and fathers in their late 20s and early 30s are seen by more than four-fifths of the 2,005 adults surveyed as "about right".

However 46 per cent of men and 35 per cent of women said women aged between 36 and 40 are too old. Fifty-seven per cent of women and 45 per cent of men said that this is the right age range to become a parent.

More than four in five (81 per cent) of both men and women believe that any age between 46 and 50 is "too old" for motherhood, although only 67 per cent have the same opinion about men who become fathers at the same age.

This rises to 81 per cent of men and women for those who have given birth between the ages of 46 and 50. Ninety per cent of women consider 51 years of age too old to become a parent.

Young mothers – between 21 and 25 – are also more likely to be accepted by the public than young fathers, the survey showed.

The supermodel Naomi Campbell last month announced that she had become a mother for the first time at the age of 51.

Births among women over 50 have quadrupled in the last two decades, according to the Office for National Statistics.