July 5th, 2018
The fertility crisis that has swept into our media, our minds, and our hearts have left couples concerned and anxious about conceiving a child later in life. However, as medicine advances (especially in the fertility world) it is more common to see first time mothers in their 40s. Over the course of 13 years (2000-2013) babies born to mothers over the age of 50 increased by almost 200%. That is a significant number and not something that should be ignored by couples dealing with reproductive stress.
The notion of an “advanced maternal age” has spread like wildfire across doctor’s offices and friendship circles. Insurance companies have deemed 35 as the “advanced maternal age” for billing structure purposes. Insurance companies use this threshold to determine what tests they will and will not cover. The age of 35, however, is an arbitrary number and was set long ago. In general, women on their 30s, 40s, and even 50s, who are healthy, are physically capable of carrying a child. The concerns of quantity and quality of eggs comes around the age of 40. After 40 things tend to change. After 40, the chance of a women’s eggs being chromosomally abnormal are high. This means, there is a higher potential for birth defects.
David Dunson of Duke University published a study that examined chances of pregnancy among 770 European women. One of the few and credible studies that have been conducted in modern times, Dunson found very little difference of pregnancy rates (4%) between women age 28 and women age 37. Proof that fertility does change with age, however not severe enough that women in their 30s should be discouraged.
Merely going off anecdotes or couple’s recollection of their fertility problems not not help assess fertility. Monitoring and measure cycle viability (the chance of getting pregnant during a woman’s most fertile time) has proven to a successful way to estimate success rates. Dunson’s data from the previously mentioned study found that older couples who time sex one day better (during a woman’s most fertile days) than younger ones almost eliminates the age factor.
A lot of fertility problems are not caused by a woman’s age. For women, blocked tubes and endometriosis are more common to result in fertility problems. In addition, almost half of infertility problems stem from men, especially older men. Research has proven that a man’s fertility decreases gradually with age.
If you are woman over 35 and have had trouble conceiving for 6 months or more, it is advised to see a fertility specialist. It is also paramount for men to seek medical advice as well. With the help of a male fertility specialist, many reproductive issues can be solved. Dr. Elist is a medical professional with over 30 years of experience in men’s infertility. If you are looking for answers, Dr. Elist holds the key to your locked reproductive door.