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How Does Age Affect Female Fertility?

By HCRM on December 15, 2015


A mature looking woman holding a babyMore and more women are postponing motherhood. Unfortunately, as a result, some may face fertility issues. This is because the ovaries age along with the rest of the body, making it more difficult for women to get pregnant as they get older. Fertility treatments can help women increase their chance of conceiving. To learn more about female fertility and age, contact our Omaha, NE practice to schedule a consultation with an experienced fertility doctor.  

How Does Age Affect Female Fertility?

Age has one of the biggest effects on female fertility. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have in their lifetime. By the time puberty is reached, the supply has dwindled to about half and will continue to decline each year. Not all of the eggs can support a baby and, even during the most fertile years, as many as half of a woman's eggs will have chromosomal abnormalities. As women age, the remaining eggs become less viable and the amount of eggs with genetic problems increases. About 10 years prior to menopause, a woman's ability to naturally conceive typically ends.

  • Fertility in your 20s: Fertility generally peaks for women in their 20s, gradually declining in their 30s and 40s.  
  • Fertility in your 30s: Fertility begins to decline slightly faster when a woman has reached her 30s. However, once a woman reaches 35, fertility begins to drop much more rapidly. By the age of 39 the average woman has about half the fertility she had at 31, greatly reducing her chances of conceiving.
  • Fertility in your 40s: By the time a woman reaches her 40s, her fertility has greatly diminished. Although it is not impossible for a woman in her early 40s to conceive, she will most likely face challenges in naturally becoming pregnant.

Fertility Treatment Options

Although female fertility decreases with age, even young women may have difficulty conceiving. Fertility treatments can help women who have had difficulty conceiving realize their dreams of growing their families. Some fertility treatments to consider include:

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): In vitro fertilization (IVF) uses a combination of fertility medications and surgery to assist in conception. Treatment begins with taking fertility medications, which stimulate the ovaries to release multiple eggs. Once the eggs release, they are extracted from the body. The eggs are then combined with sperm in a laboratory and once fertilization has occurred, the embryo is placed within the uterus. 
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination that is used to place sperm directly into the female reproductive system.
  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is used in combination with IVF treatment. With ICSI, a single sperm is injected into an egg, increasing the likelihood of fertilization.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about your fertility treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine. We can perform the testing that is necessary, and recommend the treatment options that are most likely to help you conceive.

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Lene - IVF Patient

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