Lately, more and more women are waiting to have children until later in life, which makes the topic of age-related fertility increasingly concerning. Everyone should abide by their own individual timeline, so when it comes to having children, there is no singular age every woman should aim for. However, because women are generally more fertile when they are young, there are a few factors women should consider if they would like to wait to have children.
With so much mixed messaging in the media and online, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction. Amid all of these concerns, it is important for women to understand the truth about age and infertility. If you are concerned about how your fertility might change as you grow older, make sure you know when, if ever, you should be concerned about your fertility.
Is There an Ideal Age to Have Children?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, women can carry healthy babies at any age, even in their 40’s. However, the main concern with women who wish to have children in their 30’s and 40’s is that they are less likely to conceive, and their bodies may be more susceptible to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. When it comes to conception, women are more likely to become pregnant when they are in their 20’s because they have more eggs and they ovulate more frequently.
Women are born with a set number of eggs, usually around 1 million. That number never increases, unless medical intervention takes place. Otherwise, the woman loses an egg with each menstrual cycle that she does not conceive. As time goes on, a woman’s egg supply naturally declines, which is why women in their mid-late 30’s sometimes take longer to become pregnant, even if they do not have any other fertility issues. For example, a 37-year-old woman might have around 35,000 eggs left, which seems substantial, but is far less than a 27-year-old woman would have.
What Happens After 30?
As mentioned above, women lose a significant number of eggs as time goes on, which is why, at the age of 30, egg supply drops. Women with more eggs are more likely to conceive, which is why younger women often have an easier time getting pregnant. That being said, women over 30 do still have viable eggs, so conception is entirely possible. They may, however, need a little medicinal help to speed the process along.
Also, women over the age of 30 are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy, such as genetic abnormalities, low birth weight, or premature delivery. For example, women between the ages of 35-45 have a 20-35% chance of miscarriage, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Other Causes of Infertility
Age is only one of many factors that could contribute to a woman’s infertility. Women can experience fertility issues at any age due to issues like endometriosis, tubal blockage, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. If a woman is experiencing fertility issues, age is only one of the potential causes. If you find yourself facing fertility issues, a doctor can have you tested to determine what the cause might be.
Knowing Your Options
If you are concerned about your fertility due to age, make sure you know your options. With medical advancements at facilities like the Palm Beach Fertility Center, it is becoming much easier for women to take their fertility into their own hands. For example, women concerned about low egg counts, but who are not yet ready to have children, might freeze their eggs to ensure that when they are ready to start a family, they will have options. Some women are also able to manipulate ovulation with the help of certain medications and hormones, or may track their most fertile periods for optimal chances of conception. There are also medications available that can increase fertility by stimulating egg production.
For any woman concerned about infertility, you are not alone. As frustrating or disheartening as fertility issues may be, there are several options available to help you start a family on your terms.
If you are interested in learning more about egg preservation or female infertility, our staff is here to help. Contact Palm Beach Fertility Center to discuss your options with our team.