It is well known that a woman’s chances of successfully conceiving each month, decreases over time. There is a lot of information surrounding the topic of age and fertility. However, due to the misuse of this information, too many couples become stressed when reviewing, and assume they too will face many age related infertility issues. If you happen to be one of these many couples, understanding the true facts behind age related infertility in women may help to ease the anxiety you experience from just thinking about this potential problem. We encourage you to take a few minutes to get the facts straight.
Our Aging Fertility: A Break-Down of Aging’s Infertility Factors
It is well supported that women in their 20s are most capable of conceiving. By the time women are in their 30’s – on average, 35 years of age – their age may begin to affect their fertility. A healthy 30 year old woman has a 20% chance of conceiving each cycle. When she turns 40 however, she has less than a 5% chance each month to become pregnant.
Age related fertility problems are caused by numerous factors. One factor is ovulation. As women age, periods will become less frequent and shorter. These are signs that ovulation is not occurring regularly each month. When ovulation doesn’t occur, conceiving is not possible. At some point in a woman’s life, her periods will discontinue completely – and once she has made it through a whole year without a single period, she is considered to be in menopause.
For many, it is thought that women in menopause can’t conceive. In actuality, women can become incapable of conceiving years before they start going through menopause. On average women are fully in menopause by age 51. With this in mind, it is likely that most women – whether they are trying to get pregnant naturally or with the help of reproductive treatments- might not be able to achieve conception by their mid-40s.
In addition to ovulation issues occurring later in life, the quality of a woman’s eggs also decreases over time. This occurrence is caused by a couple of things:
- A natural degenerative process that all women are affected by, no matter if they are utilizing contraception, they have typical month to month cycles, or if they are going through fertility treatments already. This process is known as follicular atresia
- Along with managing atresia, women with older eggs are more susceptible to experience the effects of aneuploidy – this means that the eggs in a woman’s ovaries are subject to having too many or too few chromosomes. Chromosomal abnormalities are also a natural occurrence that affect all women as they grow older. They may bring about conditions, for example, Down-syndrome – or even cause premature delivery.
How to address and manage age related infertility.
In today’s world, women are often waiting to begin building their families until their 30s. And because of this, unfortunately, more women are experiencing age related fertility issues.
What can you do? Below are a few tips and strategies we recommend to help your chances of conceiving if you fear that you’ll be encountering age-related fertility issues sometime in the future:
- Quit smoking. Experts say that smoking can cause you to start menopause an average of a year earlier than non-smokers. Dropping the habit could help you maintain your fertility even for just a little longer
- One step at a time. Women are starting to worry about their fertility as early as their 20s, which is much sooner than age-related fertility issues usually start to show up. Adding this stress could be counter-productive if there are no signals that you may have fertility issues, in fact it could cause stress-related health issues.
- Take action. Even though there is no need to worry in your 20s, there are still things you can be doing. The 21st century has brought with it some amazing technological advancements for reproductive health. It is possible to freeze and preserve women’s eggs when they are in their 20s to use later on. It’s also possible to get an AMH test done. The results will tell you your eggs’ health and may help your worrying mind if you already fretting over your ticking biological clock.
- Check in with your doctor frequently if you want to build a family. Visiting with your doctor regularly is critical for any woman who wants to build a family. If you are checking in on your health regularly before you start trying, any issues that would affect fertility such as STDs or STIs, high blood pressure, diabetes or other similar chronic conditions – can be taken care of sooner.
- Don’t put off contacting a fertility specialist once you have started trying to conceive. Women over the age of 35 should visit a fertility specialist after 6 months of trying without success. Women younger than 35 should see a fertility specialist after 1 year of trying without success. Fertility Specialists will be able to carry out the physical exams that are required to properly diagnose your overall reproductive health. In addition to testing and diagnosing, a fertility specialist can then prescribe necessary treatments- also recommend lifestyle changes- that could help you achieve pregnancy.
It is true that age related infertility cannot be avoided, however when provided with the true facts about the timeline of your fertility, you are then able to address this issue. For example, if you are over the age of 35, you may want to ask your healthcare provider if you need to undergo tests and treatments sooner. By being presented with information on the issue and all the choices you have to address it, you are most empowered to manage your goals how you see fit.