It might seem like you still have plenty of time to think about starting a family, but age and time creeps up on you before you know it. That’s why it’s a good thing to know what to expect from your fertility once you hit your thirties and beyond. Here are 12 things to bear in mind.
Your fertility is dropping all the time.
You might not hear that biological clock ticking, but it’s ticking all right. A generally healthy woman’s fertility will be at its peak during her mid-twenties, but it drops considerably around the age of 37.
You only have a certain number of eggs to work with.
It’s crazy to think that you have all the eggs you’ll ever have from birth. You’re born with approximately one million eggs. As you age, you lose eggs. By the time you go through puberty, you’ll have approximately 300,000 of them left. By the time you hit 37, you’ll have about 25,000, which decreases your chances of conception.
You have a greater miscarriage risk as you age.
Since those eggs are considered old by the time you’re in your mid-thirties, they can result in abnormal chromosomes, which increases your risk of miscarriages. In fact, after 35, you have a 20% chance of miscarrying a baby, while by the age of 45 that risk jumps to 80%.
You can’t just depend on fertility treatments.
You might not want kids now, but maybe you think you’ll have later on in life, like in your late thirties. While fertility treatments might sound like a Plan B, you can’t really expect them to work like a dream all the time. Stats from the Center for Disease Control show that if you’re younger than 35, the percentage of live births from IVF sits at 41.5, while it drops to 31.9 for women between the ages of 35 and 37. After the age of 40, it drops to 22.1%. Nothing’s guaranteed, although not impossible.
You need to take action.
It’s important to be more proactive if you’re over 35 and want to have a baby. You should speak to a fertility specialist if you’re having unprotected sex with your partner and you can’t seem to fall pregnant within six months. If you’re 37 and older, you should give it three months before consulting with a specialist.
Your baby is at greater risk.
One of the biggest concerns about having children later in life is that it does increase your risk of abnormalities, such as genetic or chromosomal problems with your baby. A woman who’s 30 has a one in 400 chance of giving birth to a baby with abnormalities, while the number is one in 100 for a woman who’s 40 years old.
Your smoking habit is making things worse.
It’s said that smoking adds 10 years to your reproductive age. Yikes. However, the good news is that as soon as you quit smoking, your body starts to heal from any damage that was caused, improving your chances of falling pregnant. It’s worth bearing in mind that leading a healthy lifestyle overall is a solid first step when trying to conceive.
You still have a chance to freeze your eggs.
If you’re almost 35 and you want kids but not right now, then you still can freeze your eggs for future use. You can actually freeze your eggs until the age of 40. This is a good option if you’re still on the fence about having kids but don’t want to write off all your opportunities.
You need to keep your health in check.
It makes sense that your fertility decreases with age, not just because of pesky eggs that go AWOL but because of declining health. As you become at greater risk of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, certain STDs, and diabetes, you make it more difficult to get pregnant. That’s why it’s important to get a full health checkup if you want to conceive in the near future so that you improve your chances.
It’s not just your problem.
It’s a total myth that women are the ones who need to worry about fertility—men do too. Around the age of 40, men’s fertility starts to decline. Older men have lower sperm counts and lower amounts of semen. In addition, an older guy’s sperm cells are more likely to have genetic abnormalities when compared to those of a younger man.
Don’t have kids if you’re not ready.
Although some fertility stats can make you panic that you’re running out of time to have kids, the important thing to remember is that you should always prioritize how you feel about having kids. Maybe motherhood hasn’t been the right choice for you until now. In that case, it’s a good thing that you haven’t had kids. Time might be running out as you age, but it doesn’t mean that having kids will necessarily be impossible.
You might live longer if you have kids later.
A study by the Boston University School of Medicine found that women who had their last child at the age of 33 or older lived longer lives than women who stopped conceiving kids at the age of 29. So there’s that.
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