In the Department of Unfairness, the length of women’s fertile years compared to men’s surely has a special place.
While men do undergo a sort of andropause as they age, which results in lower sperm counts, some men can produce sperm and conceive a child into their 70s or older. Women, in contrast, have usually depleted all or most of their eggs by age 51.
When you and your partner fit into the infertile category, you deserve to know why and what your options are. Sharon Smith, MD, an expert and caring OB/GYN, conducts fertility tests at OBGYN Care of Houston. Here’s what you and your partner can expect when you’re over 35.
Biological female humans are born with 1-2 million eggs in their tiny baby ovaries. Most of those eggs, though, are reabsorbed into the body pretty quickly. By the time you hit adolescence, you only have about 300,000-500,000 eggs that could potentially become your bouncing baby one day.
But each year, your ovarian reserves (i.e., the number of eggs you have left) further diminish. The decline steepens after age 32, and then speeds up after age 37, when you have about 25,000 eggs. By the time you hit 51, you probably don’t have more than 1,000 eggs.
Even though you might think that 1,000 sounds like a lot of eggs, not all of them are usable. Just like the rest of your body, your eggs age. In fact, if you’re under 35 but know that you’d like to delay pregnancy, you might consider freezing your eggs while you still have a good store of healthy eggs.
Even youthful, fertile women don’t usually get pregnant the first month they try. Women under 35 may go through a full year of unprotected, carefully timed sexual intercourse before they’re considered infertile. But if you’re over 35, it just takes six months of trying to nudge you into the infertile category.
The sooner you make the decision to find out why you’re not getting pregnant, the sooner we can find a solution. At OBGYN Care, we conduct tests that determine your overall health as well as reproductive problems that may impair your ability to get pregnant.
We recommend that both partners get tested for reproductive issues after six months, if the woman is over 35 and hasn’t been able to get pregnant.
Although an individual woman’s fertility declines with age, men’s overall sperm quality and quantity have recently plummeted due to environmental toxins and stressors.
Whether you’re already considered infertile, or you’re just now thinking about getting pregnant, modifying your lifestyle and health could increase your chances of conception. You can:
If you need help losing weight, we may refer you to a medically supervised weight-loss clinic. If you have a substance abuse disorder or are under emotional stress, we refer you to professionals who can help.
Even if you’re determined to get pregnant naturally — without assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) — fertility testing helps you uncover the reasons why you haven’t conceived.
You or your partner may have structural problems, such as abnormal growths that need to be removed. You might also have an imbalance in your hormones that prevents you from releasing eggs or producing them at all.
We conduct the necessary tests to determine why you’re having trouble getting pregnant and then make treatment recommendations that increase your chances.
Find out how to maximize your chance of a healthy conception after age 35 by contacting our Houston, Texas, office about pregnancy and fertility today. You can phone our friendly staff or use our online form to request an appointment.