One myth among many women of advanced reproductive age (40 and above) is that because they look and feel as they did when they were in their early 30s and are still having regular menstrual cycles they are as fertile as they may have once been.
When it comes to fertility, age matters! Fertility begins to decline in your 30s, and declines sharply in your late 30s. At age 30, you have a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant naturally. At age 40, your chance of getting pregnant naturally is only 5 percent.
Not only do you have fewer eggs as you get older, but the quality of your eggs diminishes. In fact, as you get older your remaining eggs are likely to develop chromosomal abnormalities, which reduce the likelihood of pregnancy and increases the risk of miscarriage.
If you are 35 or older and have been trying to have a child for six months, see a fertility doctor – one who is certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility and technically known as a reproductive endocrinologist.
A fertility doctor can assess your individual situation. Blood tests can measure hormone levels, ovarian reserve and whether or not ovulation has occurred. Depending on the outcome of the fertility workup, you will be given a treatment plan.
IVF may help overcome some of the obstacles related to age. However, IVF is not worthwhile for women over age 43. IVF with donor eggs – eggs from a woman in her 20s – is allowing many women who would not otherwise become pregnant, conceive and carry a child.