How Does Age Affect Fertility?

May 1, 2024 | Fertility

During your 20s, you might not think much about your age in relation to your fertility. As young as you might feel at heart as you approach your mid-30s and 40s, your reproductive system just doesn’t function as efficiently as it once did. 

Menopause may still be a few years off, but your fertility is in decline. 

Although an increasing number of women are waiting until their 30s or 40s to get pregnant, fertility starts to decline around age 30. That decline accelerates with time, and by age 45, natural conception is unlikely. 

Fortunately, with modern fertility treatments, you might still be able to fulfill your dreams of motherhood. 

Whether you’re still in your fertile prime or the years of decline, our expert team of OBGYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care can help you better understand your reproductive health. 

At our offices in The Loop in Chicago and in Northbrook, Illinois, we provide fertility testing and treatments for infertility. Getting pregnant can take a lot of patience, and we’re here to support you through your attempts.

Aging is one of many factors that can reduce your fertility. Keep reading to learn what’s going on inside your body to cause age-related infertility. 

Aging and your eggs

Your eggs are the gametes you contribute to your pregnancy, coupled with sperm from a partner or donor. Produced by your ovaries, your eggs contain your genetic material. You have a finite number of them, and that number gets smaller with age. 

The quality of these eggs also declines with age. The DNA within your eggs gradually breaks down, which increases their risk of genetic abnormalities. If you get pregnant, your baby has a higher chance of being born with a genetic or chromosomal condition. Chromosomal abnormalities cause up to half of all miscarriages.

Your aging reproductive system

Just like all parts of your body, your reproductive system is generally more likely to encounter health issues as you get older. 

Some of these conditions and changes could make it harder to get pregnant. For example, growths in and around your uterus may block your fallopian tubes and prevent fertilization. 

Both gynecologic and general health issues can have a direct or indirect impact on your ability to get pregnant. Plus, as you approach menopause, menstrual periods and ovulation occur less and less frequently. 

The risks of an older pregnancy

Chromosomal abnormalities and miscarriage are two of many pregnancy complications that grow increasingly likely as you get older. 

Genetic testing at The Association for Women’s Health Care can help you foresee genetic and chromosomal conditions in your baby. Getting pregnant later in life comes with a higher complication rate, though some pregnancy risks arise earlier than others. 

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that can put you and your baby at risk. You’re more likely to experience it if you have a late pregnancy, especially if you have high blood pressure. It causes high blood pressure, organ damage, and possible death for the mother or baby. 

If you get preeclampsia, you’ll probably need to plan an early delivery. 

Consult with our team today

With genetic testing, fertility treatments, and a wealth of educational resources, our experts can give you the best possible chance of a healthy pregnancy, even if you’re late to the game. 

Request an appointment over the phone or online for top-tier fertility care at The Association for Women’s Health Care today.