Advice on the relationship between age and fertility - how much does your age impact your chances of conceiving when you are trying for a baby?
As a society in general we are leaving it later and later to have children; the fact that the average age for women to have their first baby has risen from 26 to 29.4 in the last ten years is testament to this. Whereas our parents generation would have been happy to start families in their early 20s, times have changed so much that now making the decision to reproduce at what is actually the biologically optimum time is almost looked down upon.
Women are actually born with all the eggs they will ever have in their ovaries and while this is almost a million at birth, due to natural atrophy this number has already reduced to approximately 300,000 by the start of puberty. During each menstrual cycle several eggs are prepared at a time although only 1 tends to be released. This means that unlike men who continue to produce sperm throughout their lives, the period during which women are able to conceive is unfortunately finite.
While there are many benefits to leaving babies til later in life - career advancement, financial stability and more life experience to name a few - many women do not realise that by leaving it til later they may be compromising their ability to have the children they want.
Statistically a 20 year old has approximately a 20 - 25% chance of conceiving during each menstrual cycle, with the vast majority of this age group conceiving within one year of trying. After the age of 25 fertility begins to gradually decline with the chance of conceiving each cycle reducing to 10% by the age of 35. After 35 fertility does begin to decline more rapidly as there are fewer high quality eggs remaining in the ovaries and as hormonal and reproductive conditions become less favourable. However, many women do manage to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy well into their 40s.
Those trying to conceive over the age of 35 are recommended to leave less time before seeking help from their doctor than those under this age as this enables any fertility issues to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Regardless of the statistics the best advice that you can take when you are trying for a baby whether you are 20 or 40 is to relax, have lots of regular sex, eat a well balanced diet, take moderate exercise and avoid cigarettes and alcohol as the healthier you are the more likely you will be to fall pregnant with a healthy baby.
Again, whatever your age it is advisable to visit your doctor for a health check before you start trying for a baby as this will help to ensure your body is in the best of health for baby making.
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