It’s a biological fact that women’s fertility decreases with age, but the exact time when this occurs can vary from person to person.
Many of us know people in their late 30s or early 40s who have delivered healthy babies. But many of the people who try to conceive in later life have a baby that does not turn out to be the child, in reality, they had hoped for.
Across a population, the chances of having a child are better among women under 35 and men under 40 when compared to people who are older. I believe that this holds, not only for natural pregnancies but also for pregnancies conceived with the aid of assisted reproductive treatments, such as IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization).
Whether or not the couple is likely to get pregnant depends on their ages.
In Comparison to Men, How Does Age Affect Women’s Fertility?
It is important to keep in mind that fertility with age affects men and women differently. The average woman is born with a certain number of eggs, but after a while, these eggs begin to decrease over time. This is why the woman is no longer able to produce eggs. On the other hand, a man can produce sperm for the rest of his life. In short, women do not have a long health window for pregnancy, as compared to men who are able to father a child even in their 50s and 60s.
MYTH: Pregnancy is easy in my 40s and it happens all the time.
FACT: Once you hit 40, there is only a 5% chance you will get pregnant in any given month (compared to 20% at age 30).
Why? Because Age Affects Eggs and Sperm
- Younger women produce higher quality and more abundant eggs than older women.
- A younger man has better-quality sperm and is more likely to have active sperm production than an older man.
We’ll look at the conception cycle by age-wise:
Fertility in Your 20S
An expert says that this age group is the perfect time for women to get pregnant. When women are this age, they are most fertile. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between the fertility of women in their early 20s and those in their late 20s.
- Genetic disorders such as down syndrome, thalassemia, and various other genetic disorders are less likely to be transmitted through your eggs.
- There is only a 10% chance of miscarriage.
- Minimize the chance of having a premature or underweight baby.
- There is a lower risk of health complications for the mother during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension.
Fertility in Your 30S
Women who want to conceive during this phase of their lives have a 15-20 percent chance of getting pregnant. But, when a woman reaches 35, her fertility tends to decline due to the decreased quantity and quality of her eggs. Women who are 35 and older and trying to get pregnant naturally have a minimal chance of conceiving during this phase.
Being 30 and Trying to Conceive Has Its Risks
- The incidence of C-sections is higher.
- Increased risk of genetic disorders in newborns.
- The rates of miscarriages are increased.
- Ectopic pregnancies are more likely to occur.
Fertility in Your 40S and Beyond as Well
During this phase for a woman, conception is not impossible. However, one should be aware that the pregnancy rate declines from 5 percent to 1 percent between 40 and 44, whereas beyond 45 it drops to 1 percent. According to CDC, across the globe, half of the women in their 40s experience fertility issues. There is no change in the risk factors for conceiving compared to their 30s. It is not guaranteed that a female will conceive for sure because there are risk factors involved. Men’s fertility also decreases in this age group due to a decline in sperm counts and semen quality. But, you should never give up! And seek advice from a fertility expert at the right time.
A Word From Hegde Fertility
It’s ultimately up to you to decide when it’s the right time to get pregnant. It’s totally fine, there’s nothing wrong to begin building your family after growing up in your career and finances. Consult a physician or fertility specialist if you decide to wait to ensure no health issues will surprise you once you’re ready. A fertility expert will not only be able to determine your ovarian reserve, but also recommend ways and means to preserve it until you’re ready to become pregnant.