Age and Your Fertility
There are a variety of different factors that can affect your fertility. From uterine abnormalities, to poor sperm count, the list of fertility problems is almost endless.
This can often make it quite difficult to determine the root cause of infertility. However, age is one factor that usually comes to mind when a couple faces pregnancy difficulties. This is because age actually plays a highly significant role in determining female fertility.
Pregnancy Rates and Age
Studies of pregnancy rates and age support the idea that female fertility declines with age. If you have not considered age as a factor in your infertility, you may be unaware of these pregnancy trends.
- Pregnancy rates begin to decline slowly, beginning in the early 30s.
- Throughout the late 30s and early 40s there is an even greater decline in pregnancy rates.
- Few pregnancies are recorded after the age of 45.
- By the age of 30, 7% of couples are infertile.
- By the age of 40, 33% of couples are infertile.
But why exactly do women lose their fertility as they age? What factors play a role in this fertility loss?
Factors Involved in Female Fertility Loss
Egg quantity refers to the number of eggs that you have in your ovaries. At birth, each woman has about 1,000,000 eggs available for fertilization. Only a small minority of these eggs will have the proper quality for fertilization.
Egg Quantity as You Age
As you age, the number of eggs in your ovaries begins to decrease. By the time you begin menstruating you have only about 400,000 eggs available for fertilization.
Each month you may produce several eggs for ovulation, but many will die before they are ever fertilized. By the time menopause arrives, most women only have a few hundred eggs left in their ovaries.
Because the number of eggs that you have available for fertilization declines with age, this can make it more difficult to become pregnant as you grow older.
Egg quality refers to how ready and able your eggs are to become fertilized. Every woman carries a certain number of eggs in her ovaries, ready to be released for fertilization.
These eggs need to have the right shape, health, and chromosomes in order to be able to develop into an embryo and, eventually, a baby. They also need to be able to combine with sperm in order to produce a child. These characteristics all contribute to your egg quality.