Fertility and Age
Fertility and Age!
More and more women (and couples) are waiting to begin a family. A woman is most fertile between the ages of 16 and 28.
The viability and quality of her eggs declines over the following twenty years until she reaches menopause.
It is very rare for a woman over 45 to conceive, although there are cases. As a woman ages, there are more risks associated with pregnancy and the health of the fetus.
Additionally, late pregnancy can place considerable strain on an older woman.
Statistically, after the age of 36, the decline in fertility is more rapid. Many women choose to engage a surrogate, buy donor eggs, take fertility drugs, or even freeze their viable eggs at an earlier age.
There is a decline in male fertility over time, but men are able to father a healthy child well into old age. (As an aside, my husband was 59 and 60 when he fathered our two daughters. I was 31 and 32 respectively.)
It is interesting to note that the age of the egg is more critical than the age of the vagina. That is why older women have successful pregnancies and births using eggs donated from younger women.
Birth defects become more of a risk in pregnant women over 40. Everyone knows that Down’s syndrome babies are often born to older women.
Many older women turn to IVF for infertility problems. The success rate declines as the age of the woman increases. After age 44, the only good option is egg donation.
It is interesting to note that many women have a misconception about their ability to conceive relatively later in life.
Maybe our culture and media give the wrong impression. Hollywood movie stars seem to effortlessly get pregnant later and later in life. These are not realistic examples.
Women wanting a family should not wait past the age of about 38—and even then risks and complications are higher.
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