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Age and Fertility: A Primer

May 12, 2020

The two most important factors that affect the possibility of pregnancy are age and fertility. These two factors go hand and hand. As one ages, fertility declines. Age correlates with fertility. This knowledge adds to our preparation we need to take in order to have successful attempt in being pregnant.

In a Nutshell

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Fertility on Women

A woman’s reproductive development is at its peak when she reaches her 20s. These are the years that most doctors considered the most fertile years where to become pregnant is quite easy.Her fertile years will then start to decline when she reached her 30s. But it is at the 35th year that the decline will be very eminent. A woman will have a 20% chance of pregnancy for each month. But this possibility will improve if she maintains a healthy lifestyle. When she reached in her 40s, pregnancy will become harder. The possibility is still there. A number of studies have shown that a woman has a 5% chance per cycle. With the advent of technology, even at 40 pregnancy is still a possibility.

Fertility on Men

The fertility rate of a man is way different from that of a woman. The natural decline of fertility happens much later. When a man grows older, the quality of sperm also deteriorates. However this doesn’t pose any problem until he reached in his 60s. These changes are not as evident compared to the changes happening to a woman. As he grows older there would be an anomaly happening to his sexual functioning. An older man is still capable to deliver healthy sperm fit for conception. There is no maximum age that a man cannot father a child.

Ovulation and the Menstrual Cycle

As what we have presented above the fertility of women goes with age. Unlike men, who can continuously produce sperm for a lifetime, a woman only have a certain number of egg-containing follicles in her ovaries. She will only live with that number with her and slowly declines in number as she grows older. Most experts say that at birth a woman has more or less 900,000 to 1,000,000 follicles. After she went through various stresses in her life when she reached her puberty it will drop to almost one-third or more or less 300,000 to 400,000 follicles. From that only 0.1 percent or 300 follicles will be ovulated during her remaining reproductive years.

Fertility Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Egg Donation. This is the go to options for older women who doesn’t have any luck in all other treatments available. What happens in an egg donation is an egg from a woman in her 20s or early 30s is donated. For women in their early 40s, they opt to use their own eggs and takes the risk. However for late 40s, they opt to have an egg donation from a younger, healthier egg. Parties involved in the egg donation must undergo counselling. This is needed so that everyone will understand the legal, emotional, and psychological responsibilities that comes with it.

Assisted Conception. The usual mother that will opt to a varied choice for assisted conception are those who have “unexplained” infertility. Unexplained infertility means that there is no reason and the doctors can’t determine the cause of her fertility problems. As a solution, there are a number of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) that are available. These includes in vitro fertilization (IVF) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT).

Fertility Drugs. Most fertility drugs, according to various studies, can induce up to 80% of pregnancy. There are three common fertility drugs which are used for fertility treatments. These are Clomid, Femara, and gonadotropins.

Clomid is the most famous of all fertility drugs in the market to treat female infertility. When using this drug, up to 45% success rate of reported pregnancies are because of Clomid. Femara is not yet even considered a fertility drug by many. Still, it has reported success in pregnancies. However, there are studies that show the possibility birth defects because of the said drug. Gonadotropins are group of drugs for fertility. These includes luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulation hormone (FSH), and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

Before using any gonadotropins, or any fertility drugs, seek professional help as these drugs have side-effects in it that might put you and your baby’s life in danger. In taking fertility drugs or any drugs in general, we take age into account.

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