Every woman desires to become a mother at some point in her life. Given a chance, all of us would wish that everything in life – education, career, home – falls in place at the right time so we can have a baby as early as possible. But then, life never goes as planned. In the race to keep up with family and work commitments, this desire keeps getting pushed to the corner. On other occasions, it might be various health issues that cause a delay.
What’s With Age And Fertility?
At birth, a woman is born with all the eggs that’ll last her a lifetime. However, with age, the quality and quantity of her eggs begin to decline. While leading a healthy lifestyle does help, it cannot be denied that aging does have at least some effect on a woman’s fertility (1). But, as grim as the situation might seem, do not lose heart. For, there are many ways you can still have a baby once you are ready, no matter which age. Here’s what you need to know before you start trying:
A woman is at the peak of her fertility in her early to mid-twenties (2). She has a high chance of getting pregnant as the quality of her eggs is perfect at this age. Even in the late twenties, the quality of a woman’s egg is still considered good to conceive. So, if you start trying to have a baby regularly, there is a 25 – 30% chance every month of you possibly hitting the jackpot.
However, if you do not conceive during this phase despite trying, you might need to get your spouse/partner checked with the doctor too for fertility issues.
While your fertility might be on a slight decline in the early thirties, there is still a high chance of you getting pregnant without any intervention. But if you do not conceive even after trying for a year, consult your gynecologist to help you understand what the real issue might be.
Soon after 35, the fertility decline is rapid. This is primarily due to a decline in the quality of eggs, although it varies for each woman. Yet, there is still a good chance for you to conceive, but not without some risk of miscarriages (3). Leading a no-alcohol, no-smoke, and caffeine-free healthy lifestyle contributes to better fertility too.
The Early Forties
There is nearly a 50% decline in fertility once you step into your forties. There is also a marked increase in the risk of spontaneous abortion and miscarriage. However, women in their forties can still try for a baby. You’ll need to undertake proper counseling regarding potential risks involved and undergo relevant tests to ensure favorable outcomes. If need be, you can also look into IVF or other forms of assisted reproduction to help you achieve your eventual goal (4).
Age 45 And Above
As mentioned earlier, getting pregnant after 45 might be difficult, but not completely impossible either. With the quality of the egg already on the decline, you can opt for IVF, assisted reproduction, or surgical correction of infertility. These are expensive options, yet reliable. However, instead of surgical corrections, older women are generally advised to go for oocyte donation (healthy egg donation) by younger donors. This is because the conception rate is excellent when a young donor’s oocyte is transferred into an older woman looking to conceive (5). So, make sure you have a thorough discussion with your doctor and undergo proper screening to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.
If getting to hold your baby in your arms is your ultimate dream, there is no reason why you should give up on it totally. However, do not constantly stress about it as it has a negative impact on your health and chances to conceive. Just maintain a healthy lifestyle, enjoy your love life with your spouse, and don’t make the whole ‘baby-making’ effort into a monotonous routine. And, of course, with a good doctor by your side and a little bit of insight into understanding your body, you are good to go! Here’s wishing you all the very best in your endeavor!