Age & Fertility
When it comes to fertility, age is often the most crucial factor to consider, as it can have a significant impact on your ability to conceive. For women, fertility peaks during their early to mid-20s and begins to gradually decline in their early 30s. After the age of 35, it becomes increasingly challenging for women to get pregnant naturally. There’s also a higher risk of experiencing complications during pregnancy.
Men, on the other hand, are often able to father children well into older ages; however, sperm quantity and quality typically diminish with age, making it more difficult to conceive. Age also increases the risk of causing genetic abnormalities in embryos.
While many factors can affect fertility, age is one of the most critical. Understanding the relationship between age and fertility is crucial for anyone who is considering starting a family or trying to conceive.
Advanced Maternal Age (Over 35 years old)
Ovarian reserve refers to the quality and quantity of eggs present in the ovaries at any given time.
Females are born with a set number of eggs, typically somewhere between one and two million. This number drops to about 300,000 to 400,000 by the time puberty approaches. During each ovulation cycle, the ovaries activate approximately 1,000 egg follicles, but only one egg reaches full maturation and is released. The remaining follicles disintegrate and are reabsorbed by the body. By a woman’s mid to late 30s, the number of remaining eggs decreases to approximately 80,000.
Eggs also diminish in quality as women age, which, in addition to making it more difficult to get pregnant, increases the risk of experiencing complications such as:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weights
- Chromosomal abnormalities
- Birth defects
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
- Gestational diabetes
If a woman chooses to delay having a child because of financial, career, social, or any other reason, one option to preserve fertility is oocyte cryopreservation, also known as egg freezing. Other popular options for individuals and couples over the age of 35 who are trying to conceive include:
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) – the process of creating an embryo in a laboratory using eggs and sperm that have been retrieved from the aspiring parents and/or donors; once created, the embryo is transferred to the recipient’s uterus for implantation
- Egg donation – the process of using donated eggs from a younger donor with healthy eggs to create an embryo
- Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) – a testing procedure in which a small sample of cells are biopsied from the embryo during the blastocyst stage and tested for chromosomal abnormalities
Age & Fertility FAQ
Does age affect a woman’s fertility?
Age is one of the most important factors that can impact a woman’s fertility. Unlike other cells in the body that are capable of regenerating, egg cells do not. As such, women are born with a limited number of eggs, which are lost gradually over time with every monthly ovulation and menstrual cycle.
At what age does a woman’s fertility begin to decline?
Female fertility begins to decline in their early 30s, first gradually then dramatically after the age of 35.
What is the impact of age on male fertility?
Contrary to popular belief, age also has an impact on male fertility. Although many men are able to continue having children at older ages, the quantity and quality of their sperm begin to diminish after the age of 35.
Are there any natural ways to boost fertility in older women?
While no one can stop the aging process, there are a few things you can do to support your fertility after the age of 35. You can’t control the number of eggs you have, but you can potentially improve your ovarian function and egg quality. Some common ways of naturally supporting fertility include:
- Eating a healthy diet (i.e., vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, healthy fats, fish, lean protein, etc.)
- Avoiding heavily processed or foods high in added sugar
- Avoiding alcohol, tobacco usage of any kind (including secondhand smoke), drugs, and other toxins
- Limiting caffeine
- Losing weight (if applicable)
- Engaging in moderate physical activity
- Managing stress
- Tracking ovulation
- Taking supplements, such as folic acid and Vitamin D
While all of these lifestyle adjustments can help support reproductive health, keep in mind that they are not guaranteed to result in a successful pregnancy.
Can a woman freeze her eggs to preserve her fertility as she ages?
In recent years, egg freezing has become increasingly common, as more and more women are delaying their family-building plans to focus on other areas of their lives. Also known as fertility preservation, egg freezing is a great option that makes it possible for women to take control of their fertility journeys.
Fertility Care for Age-Related Infertility in Florida
The Reproductive Medicine Group has many years of experience diagnosing and treating age-related fertility concerns in Florida. With locations in North Tampa, South Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, and Wesley Chapel, our expert team of fertility specialists is ready to answer all your questions and provide personalized fertility care. Don’t wait until it’s too late – take control of your reproductive health today and schedule a consultation with The Reproductive Medicine Group.