Age is directly proportional to fertility in women

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

There was a reason why our mothers and grandmothers were married off once they got their educational degrees. The right age to have a child is when you are in your twenties. In today’s world, the age when a girl gets married has been extended under the influence of several factors. Girls today put their careers, financial stability and independence and mental preparedness before they finally decide to have a baby. But time and tide waits for no man, or woman for that matter.

Fertility starts falling after the age of 30. After 35, the fall is steep. Conception and giving birth to a healthy baby is natural till the age of 35. After that, however, the chances of assisted pregnancy and babies with birth defects rise. From a purely biological perspective 35 years is the upper limit for a woman to have her first baby.

The chances of you conceiving quickly also depend a lot on your age. 85% of the couples conceive within one year if they stop using contraception and have sexual intercourse every 2 to 3 days of the cycle. The chances of getting pregnant within a year are high for women in the 20 to 24 age group. As you grow older, you will require more time to conceive naturally.

As you grow older, the number of good eggs in your ovaries decreases slowly. So even if you are menstruating regularly and ovulating on time, because your eggs are not viable, it will take a longer time for you to get pregnant. As you approach menopause, the periods become irregular and so does ovulation, making it even more difficult for you to get pregnant.

Fallopian tube problems are also factors affecting pregnancy. Fallopian tube blockage due to infection is an extreme condition. As you age, it may mean that you have been infected with a condition that hasn’t been treated for a longer time. An infection like Chlamydia may develop into pelvic inflammatory disease and block your fallopian tubes. This may prevent fertilization altogether or increase your chances of ectopic pregnancy. So if you are trying to have a baby, looking after your sexual health is equally important.

Endometriosis and fibroids are common diseases of the uterus that can make pregnancy difficult as you age. Endometriosis can cause scars that block the fallopian tubes and as you age the disease becomes more extensive. Fibroids are muscular growth on the wall of the uterus that make your menstrual cycle painful and also prevent the implantation of fertilized zygote.
PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a disease that is on the rise among young girls. The lifestyle led today is extremely unhealthy leading to obesity. Obesity is the root cause of several health issues, infertility being one of them.

One of the interesting factors regarding age and fertility is that as you age, the chances of multiple pregnancy increase. As you grow older your body has to work more to help you get pregnant. For this the body produces more amount of Follicle Stimulating Hormone or FSH. The job of FSH is to help in the process of ovulation. As you age, the increased FSH causes more than one egg to ovulate. This greatly increases the chance of you conceiving non-identical twins. Having twins can be an exciting prospect but it would also mean double the care and responsibilities.

Age-related infertility is becoming more and more common. Even though health awareness is at its best and women are taking better care of their bodies, it does not offset age-related decrease in fertility.
Nature has a blueprint for all its functions. Things have to happen at the right time. If they don’t, it would means tampering with nature’s plans and the effects will have to be faced.

As the age increases, fertility decreases in both men and women. In men the decline is very gradual and they may remain fertile even at 50 years. In women however the decline is steep and after 35 natural conception becomes a difficult process.