Age & Fertility

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Age & Fertility
Tue, 02-05-2013 - 11:46am

More than 15% of couples in this country have difficulty conceiving a child. Delayed childbearing has resulted in more women in their late 30s and early 40s attempting conception than ever before. In fact, 20% of women in the United States now have their first child after age 35.

Some women seeking to conceive after age 40 have no difficulty in achieving a pregnancy. For those who do, however, prompt and thorough evaluation and aggressive treatment are crucial. The probability of having a baby decreases 3-5 % per year after the age of 30, and at a faster rate after 40. Unfortunately, as women age they also have a higher chance of miscarrying.

 photo snowsiggy.png

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Tue, 02-05-2013 - 12:13pm

From: Late Motherhood: They Did it, Can You?

But the figures leave much in the dark. How many 40-plus women are still trying, how many are still using contraceptives, how many are already infertile? Looking back can cast some light. In 1938, the number of women having babies in the 30-34 age group was actually smaller than today, even though the birth rate was roughly the same. Madonna and Cherie wouldn't have even made a paragraph then, when 25,000 women in the 40-44 age group gave birth - almost double current levels - and 2,200 babies were born to women over 45. That's almost four times as many as now. Clearly, choice, as well as biology, plays an important part - the really sharp decline in the birth rate for 35-plus women came in the 1970s, when it halved, coinciding with easier access to the Pill and abortion.

So, by when should you have your fertility tested? Unfortunately, exactly at what rate fertility declines is impossible to say. Nobody has measured the number of women trying to get pregnant at 40, say, and studied how successful they are. To state, as one Sunday broadsheet report of the American campaign did, that the rate of conception drops to a mere 2 per cent at 40 is very bleak and misleading.

No one can deny that you may have to wait longer to get pregnant once you are in you mid- to late-thirties, or that you may fail. As someone who did have a baby at the drop of a hat at 40, and another, albeit after three miscarriages, at 46, my advice is this: next time you see a shock-horror headline about older mothers, just turn the page.