Why does a woman's fertility decline with age?

Many women today choose to delay having their first child in order to focus on their education and careers. It’s a common scenario: women excel at their studies and reach new heights in their careers, so starting a family takes a back seat. However, it is important to note that as women age, their fertility naturally declines. This decline is part of the body’s normal aging process and affects the likelihood of becoming pregnant, whether naturally or with medical assistance.


That is why it is critical for couples to seek counseling and education on how fertility varies with age. They must understand that this decline in fertility is unavoidable, and it is critical to discuss all available options with their physicians.


There are several reasons why fertility declines as women age. One significant factor is a decrease in both the quantity and quality of eggs. Changes in sexual activity patterns, as well as an increased risk of pregnancy complications, can have an additional impact on fertility. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of miscarriage. Changes in ovulation patterns and the overall health of the uterus can also have an impact.


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It’s important to keep in mind that male and female reproductive biology are different. Men keep making sperm, but women are born with a set number of egg cells, which are also called oocytes. Over time, these eggs hatch, and no more are made. When a woman is 20 weeks pregnant, she has the most eggs. After age 32, the number of eggs slowly decreases as she ages. By age 37, a woman’s egg count drops even more quickly, which makes her much less likely to get pregnant.


One of the many variables that affect a healthy pregnancy is the quality of the eggs. In women who are getting older, there is a greater likelihood that their eggs will contain chromosomal abnormalities. This may result in an increased likelihood of developing conditions such as Down syndrome. As a result of this decline in egg quality, older women have a greater risk of experiencing an early miscarriage and having difficulty conceiving themselves.


Sexual activity decreases with age, further reducing the chances of pregnancy. Furthermore, age-related uterine issues, such as fibroids and adenomyosis, can impair fertility and raise the risk of complications.


Proper counseling is critical for improving pregnancy rates in women over 30, whether through natural conception or assisted reproductive technologies. Routine counseling should begin before fertility decline becomes irreversible. Women over the age of 30 who have been trying to conceive naturally for six months without success should consider testing for ovarian reserve. This testing may also be beneficial for women who have a history of ovarian cancer or have had ovarian surgery.


Fortunately, women now have a variety of options for preserving their fertility before it declines, even if they want to delay pregnancy. Freezing eggs or embryos using techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) has become widely available. This enables people to take control of their reproductive futures and relieve the pressure caused by the biological clock. Rather than rushing into parenthood in less-than-ideal circumstances, freezing eggs is a proactive approach that provides flexibility and peace of mind in the future.