Some things get better with age: cheese, wine, your broken-in jeans from high school.
Unfortunately, women’s eggs don’t make the list.
Girls are born with a significant amount of eggs — around 1 million. By the time they hit puberty, they’re down to around 400,000 eggs. From there, 1,000 eggs die off every month until she hits menopause.
Needless to say, as a woman ages, her chances of getting pregnant go down significantly.
Let’s take a closer look at the chance a woman has to get pregnant and what can be done to increase those chances.
Chance of Getting Pregnant by Age
Let’s be honest; the human reproductive process is not very efficient. Women ovulate once a month. This means there’s only a small window of opportunity to fertilize the egg. It may surprise you that even with a healthy egg and sperm, the chance that a woman will get pregnant each month is only 15%.
Besides having to have perfect timing, age must be taken into account. A young, healthy woman in her 20s with no fertility issues has a 75-80% chance of getting pregnant in her first year of unprotected intercourse.
A woman between ages 30 and 35 has a 60% chance of getting pregnant within a year, and a woman 35-40 has a 50% chance of getting pregnant. This rate continues to drastically decline until she reaches menopause, which is typically between ages 45 – 55.
If a woman doesn’t get pregnant after 12 months of trying, the couple most likely has some form of infertility issue.
When to See a Fertility Specialist
Many well-meaning friends and family members will tell you to relax, and that conception will just take time. But when it comes to age and starting a family, time is not on your side. If a woman has been trying for more than a year, she should talk to a reproductive specialist.
If a woman is over the age of 35, we suggest seeking professional help after six months of trying to conceive. That’s because of the rapid rate of decline in the quality and quantity of eggs as she gets older.
In essence, we are saying: don’t wait to get the help you need.
What Fertility Treatment to Seek
There are a lot of different options when it comes to fertility treatments. You and your doctor can discuss what is best for you and your family.
Here are a few options available to you:
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Most couples will try intrauterine insemination before IVF. This is a more basic form of intervention.
Basically, with IUI, the goal is to increase the number of sperm that reaches the fallopian tubes, thus increasing the chances of fertilization.
IUI takes the guesswork out of trying to time intercourse. When the time is right, the sperm will be injected into the woman. IUI helps the sperm by giving them a head start, but they still need to find the egg on their own.
And, if the egg quality is poor, it won’t be effective at all. As a woman gets older, the effectiveness of IUI drops drastically
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In Vitro Fertilization is one of the most widely talked about infertility treatments. It’s much more effective compared to other treatments.
During IVF, the doctor removes the eggs from the ovaries, and then they’re fertilized by sperm in the laboratory. The embryos are given a few days to develop, then they are transferred into the uterus where implantation and pregnancy will occur.
Again, if a woman is older and has poor eggs, a viable embryo will be hard to produce.
You may see a pattern here. As a woman ages, the chances of getting a child with her own eggs disappear. This leads us to egg donation. Egg donation is when an egg from a healthy, younger woman is used.
Egg donors are highly regulated, and only those who pass rigorous testing are allowed to donate their eggs.
The egg donation process is the same as IVF. The egg donor gives her eggs, and they are fertilized by sperm in the laboratory. At this point, the intended mother can carry the embryo, or a surrogate mother can be used.
The bottom line is age matters. As a woman ages, the chances of her getting pregnant on her own are slim to none. This makes it challenging for many women.
We live in a time where women want a career and aren’t ready to be married in their early 20s. The majority of women aren’t prepared to have kids until they’re in their late 30s.
This is where we come in. If you’re having a hard time conceiving, regardless of your age, we can help you get the child you desire. With our expertise and experience, you really can have it all. Contact us today.