Pregnancy is one of the most exciting phases of a women’s life. However, there is an increasing trend for women to put their family plans on hold in order to pursue their career or education. Unlike achieving all other goals in life, age does matter when it comes to pregnancy, and in today’s world, age-related infertility is on the rise. Some things, like fine wine or cheese, gets better with age, but unfortunately your egg quality is not one of those things. Consider this:
Your eggs are limited. You are at your peak of fertility during your 20s. Your fertility and thereby, your ability to conceive, gradually declines from the age of 32 years. By age 35, this decline speeds up and by your late 30’s, you are half as fertile as when you were in your 20s. Your chance of conceiving per cycle is about 20% at the age of 30 and 5% at the age of 40.
The rationale for this dip in fertility can be attributed to each woman’s reserve of eggs in her ovaries. Every girl is born with a lifetime’s supply of eggs. After puberty, each ovary releases one egg, which either gets fertilized or shed if there is no sperm available. As you age, your eggs also age, affecting the quality and quantity of your reserve.
Potential complications. Along with a lowered chance of conception, planning a pregnancy much later in your life (late 30s or early 40s) poses a greater risk of pregnancy-related complications to both you and your baby, such as miscarriage, and health problems such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. With advancing age, there are greater chances of chromosomal aberrations and a higher risk of giving birth to a child with genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome.
The good news is that with the advancements in medicine, there are ways to preserve and treat your fertility. These are called assisted reproductive techniques (ART) and may include the following procedures: Intrauterine insemination (IUI): In vitro fertilization (IVF) or Egg freezing.
If you’re considering delaying pregnancy, our experienced staff can help you understand the risks and discuss ways of preserving your fertility, if needed.