Age and Fertility
Search

Why Age Matters

Unfortunately, the “biological clock” is not just a myth. In fact, your fertility starts to decline from about age 30, and as you get older the chances that you’ll conceive go down and the likelihood of infertility goes up.

On a positive note, understanding what makes that biological clock “tick” can help you to make important choices: when to start a family, how to enhance your chances of getting pregnant, and what to do if you run into problems.

HOW AGE AFFECTS FERTILITY

whyYour ability to have a healthy baby is not just about the number of eggs you have; it’s also about the quality of those eggs. As you age and your egg supply (ovarian reserve) declines, it becomes harder to conceive. But there are also other factors to consider:

  • For most 30-year old women, 12% of their eggs have the potential to become babies
  • By age 40, only 4% of “good eggs” remain
  • Your chance of miscarriage rises from less than 10% for women in their 20’s to as high as 90% for women over 45
  • Age 25 to 35 is the optimal time for a healthy baby
  • There is a higher occurrence of chromosomal abnormalities with women over 40. This is due to the quality of the remaining eggs in the ovarian reserve. PGD and PGS can identify and eliminate these abnormalities by analyzing your embryos.

EGG QUANTITY & QUALITY

Egg quality can only be determined by Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS.) These procedures are done in vitro, before the embryo is implanted in the uterus.

There are several ways to assess your egg quantity:

  • FSH Testing: Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is released into your blood to recruit an egg for development and ovulation. When you have a plentiful egg supply you need less FSH to get the “job done”. As you age your egg supply declines, so you need more FSH to recruit an egg for ovulation. Thus, high FSH levels indicate a lower ovarian reserve. FSH levels are measured on Day 3 of your menstrual cycle.
  • AMH Testing: Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is produced by cells that support the dormant eggs in the ovary. The higher the AMH level, the greater the ovarian reserve. The test can be done at any time during your cycle.
  • Ultrasound: Used in conjunction with hormone testing, ultrasound gives us a read on your ovarian reserve.

 

FERTILITY OPTIONS 101

Every fertility case is different. Without a doubt, the correct treatment path for one person is often the complete opposite for another (even when both are the same age). From diagnosis to treatment we utilize personalized tests and treatments (as well as many, many others) to help our patients make smart choices and achieve positive outcomes. Here’s just a small sampling of what we do to help:

amh testAMH TESTING

A SUPER important first test, the Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) test is one of the most accurate ways to assess a woman’s ovarian reserve. Via blood work, we analyze AMH levels to determine your remaining egg supply.

chemistryHORMONE TESTING

Hormones control everything in a woman’s cycle: egg development, when you ovulate, and how embryos implant in the uterus. It’s a delicate dance, requiring each step to happen at just the right time. Often, imbalances cause infertility.

SuccessRates2IUI

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is often a first line treatment for women with infertility. Generally, IUI doubles the pregnancy rates that occur with natural intercourse, takes just a few minutes, and requires no anesthesia.

lesbian3IVF

Studies show that moving directly to IVF may help women, especially those who are age 38 and older. It optimizes their chances of conceiving, while also saving money by avoiding a trial-and-error approach.

PGSGENETIC TESTING

Genetic tests like PGS increase success rates and are a valuable option for women of advanced age or those who have experienced unsuccessful IVF cycles. Done in conjunction with IVF, it selects embryos with the best chance of success.

successratesDONOR EGG IVF

Donor egg IVF is a highly successful option for women who have poor-quality eggs or too few eggs. It benefits women who have a healthy uterus and are able to carry a pregnancy to term – but do not have an adequate supply of viable eggs.

WHEN TO SEE A FERTILITY DOCTOR

The sooner we identify what could be causing your difficulty in becoming pregnant, the better the chance of achieving your dream of parenthood.
You should consult a fertility specialist if:

  • You are under age 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year without success.
  • You are age 35+ and have been trying for 6 months
  • You are age 40 or over

Click here to learn more about when to visit a fertility doctor.