Fertility and Aging
In today’s society, there is a remarkable delay of early family formation. Modern-day couples postpone early family formation for many, different reasons (financial, social, medical, religious, etc). Whatever the reason, many couples or individuals find that it’s just not the right time to have a baby.
Many women delay childbearing to pursue a career, achieve financial security, or await the presence of an appropriate partner. However, as the time goes by, a woman’s ability to get pregnant starts to decline. Even though women today are healthier, improved health in later life does not offset the natural age-related decline in fertility. The following reasons explain why fertility declines as women age:
- The number of oocytes decreases (a woman is born with all the eggs she will have in her lifetime),
- The oocyte quality deteriorates (a woman’s eggs age with her),
- The possibility of conceiving a baby decreases,
- The possibility of miscarriage increases,
- The chances of having a child with a genetic abnormality (such as Down syndrome) increases,
- The chances of having health conditions (such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cancer) that can cause fertility problems increase,
- There is a risk of premature ovarian failure (the loss of function of ovaries before the age of 40) or early menopause
While the effects of female aging on fertility are well-known, little is known about male age-related infertility. Recent studies have shown that a man’s age also affects the chances of conceiving a baby for the following reasons:
- Sperm quality declines after the age of 40-45,
- Sperm motility (the ability to move towards an egg) decreases,
- The amount of semen (the fluid that contains sperm) decreases,
- The chances of having health conditions (such as prostate cancer) that can cause fertility problems increase.
There is a trend that assisted reproductive techniques, such as IVF, is the solution for postponing early family formation. Although IVF can be the solution to many infertility problems, the current technology cannot negate the natural decline in fertility that occurs as we age. Thus, it is of paramount importance to enhance public awareness on age-related infertility and help couples evaluate the information available online.
In conclusion, as women and men age, their potential to have children both naturally and with IVF becomes more difficult. At EmbryoClinic, we empathize with your concerns, we are available to answer your questions, discuss about fertility treatments and offer a holistic approach to your fertility problems. Do not hesitate to ask for counseling about age-related fertility decline.