With advances in IVF and more women in their 40s having babies, you could be forgiven for thinking that age isn’t a barrier to starting a family. However it’s important to know the single most important factor influencing your chance of conceiving is a woman’s age and the reality of having a baby becomes more difficult as women get older.
Women are their most fertile in their early 20s and by the age of 36 the chance of conceiving each month is nearly halved. This decrease continues and by the age of 45 the chance of getting pregnant each month is approximately 1%.
Some studies have also shown that the man’s age can have an impact on a couple’s ability to conceive. Although the decline in fertility is not as marked as it is in women, there is an increase in genetic defects in the sperm of men aged more than 40.
Generally, high ovarian reserve and a high percentage of genetically normal eggs
Strong chance of conceiving each month
Typically, fewer eggs and each egg is less likely to be genetically normal
More difficult to become pregnant
Empowering all women and men to be aware and understand their fertility is important and you have taken the first step.
A discussion with a fertility GP can help to give you a more in-depth awareness of your specific fertility.
Tests can be conducted such as AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) which can give you an insight into the remaining quantity of eggs. However it will not tell you about the quality of those eggs. AMH is a hormone secreted by cells inside your follicles. Remember follicles are the sacs within ovaries that contain eggs. The level of AMH in a woman’s blood generally gives an indicator of the woman’s ovarian reserve.
There can be all sorts of reasons for women being older before they start a family.
The important thing is to be aware, informed and realistic about the age-related decline in fertility. Egg freezing can be an option for women who are not ready to start a family but don’t want to miss the opportunity to have a baby due to age. Egg freezing can help to preserve fertility and give you a greater chance of achieving a successful pregnancy in the future.