Fertility and Age
Age is a determining factor in your capacity to conceive due to particularities of the female reproductive system.
Essentially, chances of conceiving decrease with age while the risk of miscarriage increases.
You’re at your maximum fertility between the ages of 19 and 25, along with a sharper decline starting at 35. By 45 years of age, even if menopause hasn’t started yet, the chance of conceiving is extremely low (Dunson, 2002).
The risk of miscarriage, meanwhile, rises from 12% at 25 years of age to 20% at 37 years and 30% at 43 years of age(Leridon, 2007).
As a woman progresses through perimenopause, she will observe more changes in her menstrual cycle along with a decrease in fertility signs.
Age also has an impact on male fertility, mostly on sperm quality.
It’s been shown that the older a man is, the more anomalies will appear in the chromosomes of his sperm (Sloter, 2004 & 2007), while anomalies in their DNA can affect their makeup and mobility (Morris, 2002). All these factors can diminish male fertility.
Rather than waiting a year, it is suggested that couples over 35 who have unprotected sex regularly (2 to 3 times per week) and who have not conceived within six months consult their physician to ensure their reproductive health is in order and to make any lifestyle changes necessary to improve fertility(Gnoth, 2005).
Despite the risks and challenges that accompany conceiving at a more advanced age, most of these pregnancies progress without any problem.
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LERIDON H., «Can ART compensate for the natural decline in fertility with age? A model assessment», Human Reproduction 1, 2007 ,7; 1584-1553.
SLOTER E, J NATH, B ESKENAZI et al. «Effects of male age on the frequencies of germinal and heritable chromosomal abnormalities in humans and rodents», Fertil Steril 2004, 81; 925–943.
SLOTER ED, F MARCHETTI, B ESKENAZI et al. «Frequency of human sperm carrying structural aberrations of chromosome 1 increases with advancing age», Fertil Steril, 2007, 87; 1077–1086.
MORRIS ID, S ILOTT, L DIXON et al. «The spectrum of DNA damage in human sperm assessed by single cell gel electrophoresis (Comet assay) and its relationship to fertilization and embryo development», Hum Reprod, 2002, 17; 990–998
GNOTH, Christian, E. GODEHARDT, Petra FRANK-HERRMANN et al. «Definition and prevalence of subfertility and infertility», Human Reproduction, 2005, 20, 5: 1144-1147.