Women's Reproductive Age And Fertility Health
Age is the single most important factor affecting a woman’s fertility. We believe that women are born with all of the eggs they are going to have in their lifetime and it is a normal part of the female reproductive system to lose hundreds of eggs per menstrual cycle. As women mature through their reproductive life their chance for a healthy pregnancy decreases and the odds of having a miscarriage increases.
When Is A Woman Most Fertile?
At age 25, a woman has a 25% chance of becoming pregnant during unprotected sexual intercourse. This percentage begins to decrease between the ages of 32 and 34. After that, the decline is steady so that the chance for pregnancy is at maximum 5% per menstrual cycle after a woman reaches the age of 40.
Age-related female infertility is actually the result of normal changes occurring in the reproductive hormones that stimulate egg development, trigger ovulation and support pregnancy. Perhaps most important, is depletion of a woman’s ovarian reserve – the eggs she is born with. During her reproductive years, some eggs never mature and others are released during her menstrual cycles. As women age, not only do their ovarian reserve decrease but correspondingly, so does egg quality. This is actually a normal part of the aging process but not what one wants to hear when trying to conceive. When the store of healthy eggs is depleted, menopause occurs.
When To See A Fertility Specialist?
If you are age 35 or older and trying to conceive unsuccessfully for 6 months, ASRM recommends that you see a reproductive specialist to assess your reproductive health.
Often, the safest and most effective fertility treatment option will be IVF but that can be assessed with your IRMS physician.