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Fertility decreases with Age

Every woman s fertility declines with age. Getting older means it will take longer to conceive and you may need help from a fertility doctor (Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Specialist). A woman s fertility begins to decline gradually beginning in her late 20 s and continues this decline until age 34. At age 35 fertility begins to drop more rapidly. As a general rule, women have their best chance of getting pregnant before age 35. Once a woman is in her late 30 s, conception becomes more difficult and 50% of women in this age group will seek fertility treatment. By age 40 the ability to get pregnant drops further still. After 40 years of age, fertility is severely compromised. By age 42, only about 2% of women have children. If you are 40 or older, see a fertility specialist as soon as you know you want to get pregnant.

Why does fertility drop with age? It is because the quantity and quality of a woman's eggs decline as she ages. It is also called ovarian aging, which happens to all women over time. Even though women are more fit, live longer, and are healthier than past generations, their ovaries are still on the same time clock as their ancestors. The eggs that a woman ovulates in adulthood have been in her ovaries since before birth, and the quality and number of those eggs decreases as she ages. This decline in egg quality and quantity is responsible for the drop in fertility, and unfortunately translates into lower pregnancy and higher miscarriage rates.

Menopause signals the end of natural fertilty and will occur when there are no more healthy, normally functioning eggs left in the ovaries. This typically occurs around age 51. Unfortunately, some women encounter premature menopause and cannot get pregnant, even though they are young. The good news for these women, is that the uterus is not affected by age, and donor eggs (eggs donated by younger fertile women) can be used to conceive a child. Remember, the most important factors that determine if you will get pregnant are AGE, AGE and AGE. This is because the age and health of your eggs are the most important determinant of fertility. When in doubt, see a specialist for a consultation.