How much time do I really have to conceive?

Here at IVF babble, we’re all about education and information. We are passionate about giving you the right information when it comes to your fertility, your health, mind and body, and how we can guide you through the process

We were alarmed some months ago when an Australian survey showed that just over half of students did not know that fertility dramatically declines between the ages of 35 and 39.

So, we’ve strived to set out here what happens to a woman’s fertility as she ages, from 21 to 45, and we are going to start spreading the word on the fertility timeline in a new project for 2019, but more on that another time.

According to the British Fertility Society, girls are born with a certain number of immature eggs, which can be in the millions at birth, but this number soon declines as she gets older.

When she reaches adolescence that number has dropped to about 400,000 and by the time she is 37 that number is about 25,000. Each month a woman produces an immature egg will mature and be released at ovulation, the rest of the eggs not released will die and be re-absorbed by the body.

It is believed the most optimum time for fertility is between the ages of 21 and 31, assuming there are no underlying issues, there is a good chance that a woman will fall pregnant naturally in this time range after one year.

Women aged 31 to 35 will see a decline in their fertility, as the quality of eggs gets poorer as she gets older.

At 35 fertility takes a sharp decline and women trying for a child may need to seek assistance to conceive.

Once a woman reaches the age of 43 she has about a five to ten per cent chance of getting pregnant using her own eggs and may need to consider donor eggs.

The percentage of a woman at this age using donor eggs is much higher as the donor is usually a young woman in her 20s.

A woman aged 45 plus is highly unlikely to get pregnant naturally, this is because her body is preparing for menopause and her egg reserve will be at its lowest levels. The percentage of women getting pregnant at this age is less than two per cent.

There are many reasons why a woman struggles to conceive naturally including conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, blocked fallopian tubes, Asherman’s syndrome, to name just a few.

Other reasons for not being able to conceive can include lifestyle choices, such as smoking and having a high BMI, through poor diet and exercise.

One in six couples suffer with infertility, and it is estimated that there are 48.5 million people across the globe struggling to have a family.

Men can remain fertile for many years longer (think Mick jagger, Rod Stewart) than women, though sperm quality can decline as the man gets older.

Do you feel you were given adequate information as a young women or man on your fertility timeline? Let us know, we need to get the word out that women cannot rely on IVF as a back-up for having a child. Email your thoughts to mystory@ivfbabble.com

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