While we know that fertility naturally declines with age, misinformation about the link between aging and infertility can lead to confusion. Women who are trying to conceive need to know the truth behind these five female aging and infertility myths.
1. Women don’t need to worry about fertility until they’re in their 40s.
In fact, egg supply begins to decline rapidly as early as the 20s, with a steep drop-off after age 35. Not only does a woman have fewer eggs in her 30s, they also begin to decline in quality, increasing the risk for birth defects and other complications. Research published in the journal Human Reproduction found that women have about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant naturally each month at age 30, and just a 5 percent chance at age 40.
2. Most women can get pregnant easily.
When you’re trying unsuccessfully to conceive, it might seem like babies and pregnant women are everywhere. However, about 1 in 10 couples struggle with infertility, and the inability to conceive is more common as fertility declines with age.
3. Age only affects a women’s fertility.
While it’s true that we usually talk about women when it comes to age-related infertility, men also experience an age-related decline in the ability to conceive. Their sperm volume and motility begins to drop at age 40, reducing the chances of conception each month.
4. Women who have already had a baby will have no trouble conceiving after 35.
One successful pregnancy is unfortunately not a predictor of a subsequent successful pregnancy. Age-related decline affects those who have already had children at the same rate it does women who are attempting to conceive a first pregnancy.
5. Regardless of age, women should try to conceive naturally for a year before seeking medical help.
The older you are, the more important it is to seek treatment for infertility sooner rather than later. Most doctors recommend seeing a specialist if you are older than 35 and have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for six or more months, or right away if you’ve had two or more miscarriages at any age.