With more couples waiting to get married, more women are having children later in life and assume they wonâ€™t have any problems getting pregnant. Why should they? Because there are lots of stories about famous women having babies in their late thirties and beyond. But, does that mean you should wait?
If you are over 25 years of age and still thinking you have plenty of time to be a mother, it is time to seriously reconsider.
Here are the facts:
- Your fertility peaks between 18-25 years of age, and 75% will be pregnant within a year
- By your late 30’s, 65% will be pregnant within a year
- By age 40, only 44% will be pregnant with a year
So, what do you need to know about getting pregnant after 35?
Infertility is defined as failure to conceive a pregnancy in a 12 month period for those under 35 years of age. If you are over 35 you are considered infertile after 6 months of trying.
What is another way to look at these statistics?
- 1 out of 4 women under age 35 have fertility problems
- 1 out of 3 women age 35-39 have fertility problems
- 2 out of 3 women over age 40 have fertility problems
About 20 percent of women in the United States now have their first child after age 35. They are waiting for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Also, many do not understand the facts and statistics about their fertility. Women are born with a set number of eggs, and as they age these eggs are less viable. This is a physiological fact that cannot be changed by fertility drugs or lifestyle.
What are other risks if older than 35?
- Difficulty conceiving
- Birth defects
- Pregnancy complications
Birth defects that increase with age are chromosomal abnormalities such as Downâ€™s syndrome. The risk of having a child with chromosomal problems begins to increase over the age of 35, and continue to increase with each passing year.
These basic facts do not change with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as IVF and ICSI. As expected, women under age 35 have the highest pregnancy success rates. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics for success rates on ART for some fertility clinics in 2007 are shown below.
What percent of ART cycles led to a live birth?
- 40% in women less than 35 years of age
- 31% in women 35-37 years of age
- 21% in women 38-40 years of age
- 12% in women 41-42 years of age
- 5% in women 43-44 years of age
ART can be expensive and time-consuming. As you can see from these statistics, the majority of women are not successful in having the baby of their dreams this way. However, it has allowed many couples to have children that otherwise would not have been able to. Taking the chance on success is a personal decision.
Being informed and knowing the facts about your fertility will help empower you so you can make the best decision for your situation.