Can you be too old for pregnancy?
I have seen so many patients this week of age over 43 wanting to conceive. As a result, I decided it would be useful to write a blog about it. After all, many women want to know how old is too old for pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women and even OB/GYNs are unaware of the profound affect of a woman’s age on fertility.
Too old for pregnancy? The facts about age and fertility
As a woman gets older, not only does the egg quantity decline but so does her egg quality. A woman is born with a set number of eggs in the ovary. This number declines with increasing age. Studies have shown that the rate of decline is more rapid past age 37. Statistics show that the chances of live birth after age 43 are <1%.
A couple of the patients I saw this week had been trying to achieve pregnancy on their own for over 8 years. If only they would have sought care sooner, they would have been able to attempt conception with their own eggs as opposed to needing to use an egg donor.
Similarly I saw another patient who underwent fertility treatments for several years with her OB/GYN. By the time she got to a specialist, her only choice for achieving a successful pregnancy and live birth is using IVF with donor egg.
The final word
Long story short, if there is one message I could put out there, it would be DON’T WAIT TOO LONG. Fertility doesn’t last forever. The ovaries continue to age despite how healthy one is or how young one looks and feels.
Women with no other known causes of infertility, if under age 35 should seek evaluation if not pregnant after one year of trying. Starting at 35, women should seek care if not pregnant after 6 months of trying. It is always okay to get tested. Then, you have all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether proceeding with any treatment is right for you. You can also choose to not do anything, but that would be a conscious, well-informed choice.
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