Fertility reduces with age, and planning a baby as you get older can sometimes be fraught with difficulty. While there’s no ‘right’ age to get pregnant, it’s important to sensitise yourself to your advancing biological clock. If you’ve been putting off having a child, or are experiencing difficulty conceiving, this guide can help shine a light on the realities of age-related fertility.
At 21, 90% of a woman’s eggs are chromosomally normal, indicating a high chance of carrying a healthy pregnancy to term. Women below the age of 25 have a 96% chance of conceiving within a year if they are trying each month.
Between the ages of 25 and 29, you have an 86% chance of conceiving within a year. Your odds of premature delivery are 10%, just a little higher than they were in your mid-20s. It’s recommended that you try to conceive naturally for a year before seeking out fertility intervention.
By the time you’ve hit the big three-oh, your chances of conceiving within a year are still 86%. However, your odds of premature delivery are now elevated, at 20%. Like in your 20s, it may take up to a year to conceive a baby, so be patient and take heart in knowing that sometimes, all it takes is a little extra time. If you do not conceive within a year despite persistent efforts, it’s a good idea to meet a fertility specialist.
At 35, you have a 15-20% chance of getting pregnant in a given month. That translates to a 78% probability of conceiving within a year. Fertility sharply declines after the age of 35, primarily due to reducing egg quality. While you may still harbour many eggs, some of these may have chromosomal abnormalities. At an advanced age, you are also more at risk of a miscarriage, congenital birth defects and prenatal complications.
With advancing age, the quality and quantity of eggs decline. In your early 40s, 90% of your eggs are likely to be chromosomally abnormal. In light of this, you may be advised in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as a first-line treatment to increase your chances of conception. If you are diagnosed with low ovarian reserves, you may also be recommended donor eggs.
If you’re 45 or older, your chances of getting pregnant each month are 3-4%. This doesn’t mean that conception is impossible, but it does mean you may need fertility intervention. In addition, you may be advised to seek donor eggs if your ovarian reserves are low.