Most people grow up thinking that they will have no difficulty some day becoming a parent. Deciding when to have a baby can be perplexing. More and more women are waiting longer to conceive. Over 20% wait until after age 35 to start their families. Whether it is because of their education, career, marital status, financial situation, or just because they are not yet ready are all valid reasons to delay. Sometimes, however, many women find that after waiting, it is more difficult to get pregnant naturally. For those that have difficulty becoming pregnant, many further delay seeking treatment. The primary reasons for waiting to seek treatment are the hope that pregnancy will occur naturally, they heard that treatments are expensive, or that treatment will be stressful and emotionally trying. Many more just don’t know enough about their options.
The best time to have a baby is when you are ready. Unfortunately, however, there is an ever ticking “biologic clock” giving a finite time line for the best years to become pregnant. The highest probability of a successful pregnancy is in women under age 35 and certainly under age 40 as chances of a successful pregnancy significantly diminish the older a woman becomes. Men too have more difficulty becoming fathers as they age but generally not until after age 50.
So what to do?
For women, egg freezing (oocyte vitrification) should be encouraged to all before age 30 and certainly before age 35. This allows preservation of their fertility potential even after their otherwise natural child bearing years have passed. For those desiring pregnancy care should be sought after 12 months of trying to conceive for women under age 35 and 6 months for women over 35 years of age. For women over age 40 evaluation of their fertility potential should be obtained after only 3 months of trying. Women with irregular menstrual cycles or whose menstrual intervals are over 35 days should seek help a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist without delay.