How is Age an Important Factor for Fertility in Women?
Fertility is influenced by many factors. Some of these factors like weight and lifestyle can be controlled while others cannot be controlled. Age is one such uncontrollable factor that affects fertility rates of both men and women. However, age affects female fertility much more than male fertility.
How Age Affects Female Infertility
Women are born with approximately 2 million eggs in their ovaries. Before a girl reaches puberty, about 11,000 eggs die every month. Thus, in her teenage years, a woman has only about 300,000 to 400,000 eggs available. From this point onwards, about 1000 eggs are utilised every month.
This phenomenon cannot be controlled. It is has nothing to do with any form of birth control, pregnancy, hormone production, health, lifestyle or nutritional supplements. Which is why, as a woman grows older, the number of good eggs available reduces. Eventually, a woman reaches menopause when she has no viable eggs left.
Age and Complications
A woman can technically conceive a child any time after her first menstrual cycle. This usually occurs in the early teenage years. A woman is believed to be most fertile in her 20s. However, the impact of age on fertility in women is not uniform. At the age of 30 years, a woman has a 20% chance of conceiving each month. After she reaches 35, the rate at which a womans fertility decreases speeds up. Around the time she turns 40, a woman has only a 5% chance of conceiving each month.
Along with difficulty conceiving, age also increases the chances of a miscarriage, stillbirth and complications related to pregnancy such as placenta praevia, gestational diabetes and placenta abruption. As her age increases, the cells in a womans body also start dividing abnormally. This may distribute genetic material in unequal amounts thus causing an increased risk of genetic abnormalities in the unborn child.
In-vitro Fertilisation could be your saviour
The good news is that there are still ways women can have children in their later 30s. The type of fertility treatment recommended depends on the womans age and other factors that could be influencing her fertility. In-vitro fertilisation is one of the most popular means of treating infertility caused by advancing age.
However, it is important to note that age can influence the results of IVF treatment as well. For this reason, if a woman plans on having children late in her life, it may be a good idea for her to freeze her eggs. Women may also choose to undergo the IVF treatment with donor eggs.