When it comes to female fertility, age is not just a number, there is much more to that. In fact, age is a key determinant of fertility in both the sexes, and it is one of the major reasons of female infertility. It would be easier to understand the relationship between age and female fertility on the basis of functioning of the woman’s reproductive system.
Typically, a woman carries as many as 1 to 2 million eggs when she is born and this number keeps dwindling as she starts with her period and moves through her reproductive lifespan, gradually bringing down her fertility too. It is not only the number which comes down with age, but the egg quality diminishes too, with the eggs becoming less viable for conception in older women.
Logically speaking, age has a direct influence on a woman’s ability to get pregnant, with the odds of conception coming down along the age milestones. Moreover, the risk of miscarriage and other birth-related complications elevates with age. Here is all you need to know about the impact of aging on female fertility and also how bright the chance of conception during various stages in a woman’s reproductive lifespan.
The years between 20 and 24 turn out to be the most fertile for women, with the peak being reached at the age of 24 years on an average. Additionally, this is the period when the chances of conceiving a perfectly healthy baby are at the max, with 90% of the eggs being chromosomally normal. The probability of pregnancy is as high a 96% in a year for women in this age group, if they take a chance each month. Generally, there is no need to get in touch with a fertility specialist, unless the couple has been trying but failing for more than a year.
Mid to Late Twenties
From the years 25 to 29, the chances of conception in a year come down to 86% while those of going through a miscarriage are 10%, just a little higher than those for a woman in her early twenties. Having regular, unprotected sex during the fertile window is the only thing that a couple needs to do, though a fertility specialist needs to be consulted if they fail to conceive within a year.
When a woman steps into her thirties, the success rate of conception per year remains more or less the same but the chances of miscarriage go up to 20%, which is what has far-reaching impact on her fertility. This happens because of changes in the genetic makeup of her eggs. Though there may not be an immediate need to see a specialist, yet it is recommended that the couple should seek medical assistance if they fail to get results within 6-9 months of trying. If there is a problem, it should better be pinpointed and addressed at the earliest because fertility starts ebbing rapidly as the woman crosses over to the wrong side of mid-thirties.
Mid to Late Thirties
Though the chances of conception go down to 78% a year as a woman reaches the mid-thirties, things are still good to go, particularly up to the age of 37 years. Deterioration of egg quality is the main reason of loss of viability of the eggs, and the chances of chromosomal abnormalities and miscarriage go up. It is advisable not to wait for too long for such women and they should go for medical treatment as soon as they suspect female infertility. While IUI and IVF are seen as feasible reproductive techniques, women can also use frozen or donor eggs to maximize the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
A woman in her forties is not exactly seen as maternal material because the quality as well as quantity of eggs is most likely to be affected with advanced age. In fact, most of the eggs might have become chromosomally abnormal at this age, while the uterine lining may also be inflicted by poor blood supply, causing implantation issues for the egg. This is the age when a woman approaches menopause and her ovulation cycle gets shortened, which can make timing of conception difficult to calculate. In this way, multiple causes are responsible for female infertility for women in their forties. IVF is seen as the best option for those who come across fertility issues and it can be used in conjugation with egg donation for better chances.
Mid Forties and Beyond
When the woman crosses over to her mid-forties, the chances of pregnancy are dwindled to only 3-4% and assisted reproduction is required in nearly every case. IVF happens to be the most successful one in such cases because it can eliminate the probability of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus by using pre-implantation embryo screening. The success rate of IVF with aged eggs, however, is not so encouraging and specialists generally recommend use of eggs donated by younger women for the same.
Seeing these statistics, it becomes evident that age is an important parameter of fertility and women need to be aware of the ticking of their biological clock. Therefore, it is vital to realize that sooner is better because the fertility related problems would aggravate with every passing year and a woman may end up childless once the precious time is gone. Whether a woman should try for natural pregnancy or resort to assisted reproductive techniques to combat female infertility is a question that a fertility specialist can answer for her. Hence, she should look for someone qualified and experienced enough to help her with the same.
Gaudium IVF is the top IVF clinic in India and is renowned for offering advanced treatment for female infertility along with various gynecological problems. It also educates and counsels its patients regarding important pregnancy related facts such as impact of age on fertility.