Age and fertility: Getting pregnant in your 30s

Age and fertility: Getting pregnant in your 30s

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By Dr. Tripti Raheja, Gynaecology

Most experts would say there’s no one right time to start a family. But there are both advantages and disadvantages to giving birth at different ages: In your 20s, for instance, you’ll have more energy to run after and care for your child but fewer financial resources and less personal life experience on which to draw; in your late 30s and 40s you may be more established financially but have a tougher time getting and staying pregnant and, afterward, keeping up with an active baby and toddler.

What are your odds?

It isn’t difficult to figure out the fact that it is easier to get pregnant when you are still young (within 24-28 years of age). It is because production of eggs in the ovaries lessens as you grow older, thus creating hindrances to pregnancy.

When you are in your 20s, you have 20 per cent of a chance to get pregnant during a single cycle. This declines sharply as you grow older-15 per cent in your 30s, 10 per cent in your 40s and 3 per cent by age 45.

So, you need to work harder and have ample patience to get pregnant. Also, consult an endocrinologist and fertility specialist.

Why does fertility decline so rapidly?

The two most common causes of female infertility are ovulation problems and blockages to the fallopian tubes as a result of infection.

  • Ovulation problems can happen as you get older because:
  • You have fewer good quality eggs left, making it more difficult to conceive. Your number of eggs (ovarian reserve) declines with age. You can buy a kit to test for ovarian reserve. These tests can only tell you about the quantity of eggs, not the quality.
  • A few women (one per cent) go through the menopause earlier than usual, and stop ovulating before they reach the age of 40.
  • Your periods may become irregular. As you approach menopause your periods may become fewer and further between, making ovulation increasingly irregular too.

Blockages to the fallopian tubes may be caused by infection or another condition. So, whatever your age, if you’re trying for a baby you need to take care of yourself. This means looking after your sexual health as well as your general health.

As a woman ages it is more likely that she may have had longer exposure to a condition that has not been treated. An untreated chlamydia infection, for example, can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease, blocking your fallopian tubes. This could prevent fertilisation altogether or increase the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy.

Increase Your Chances of Fertility After 35-

Trying to conceive after 35 may seem overwhelming, but there are many things you can do to make getting pregnant easier…

Here are some things to remember:

  • Schedule a pre-conception appointment.
  • Women over age 35 take longer to conceive.
  • A woman who is physically, mentally and emotionally healthy is more likely to conceive.
  • Observing your fertility signs can tell you a lot about your body.
  • Consider taking an at home fertility screening test.

Visit your healthcare provider if you haven’t conceived after 6 months of purposeful intercourse. If you have not conceived after 6 months, contact your health care provider to discuss the possibility of fertility testing. You may decide to consult a fertility specialist if normal methods fail. Depending on the test results, the specialist will recommend the right treatment.

Timing is of the Essence-

No woman keeps close track of their ovulation (release of egg from the ovaries). But in your 30s, if you want a baby, you need to note your ovulating days. Doctors agree that it is best to have intercourse around the time of ovulation, so that when the egg arrives, the sperm will be able to fertilize them.