When Do You Stop Being Fertile?
How to Know When You’re No Longer Capable of Getting Pregnant
Whether or not you’re trying to get pregnant, many women have questions about their fertility. How are you supposed to know when you can no longer get pregnant? It’s never too soon to begin thinking about your fertility.
Fertility and Age
Age is the biggest factor that affects a woman’s fertility. While good health does improve the chances of getting pregnant, it does not override the impacts of aging.
The peak reproductive years for a woman occur between the late teens and late 20s. Fertility begins to decline by age 30, and this decline becomes more rapid once you reach your mid-30s. By age 45, fertility declines to the point that getting pregnant naturally is unlikely for most women.
A woman in her early to mid-20s has a 25-30 percent chance of getting pregnant every month. By age 40, the chance of getting pregnant in any monthly cycle drops to around 5 percent.
Your Ovaries and Eggs
Women begin life with a fixed number of eggs in the ovaries. As you age, this number decreases. The remaining eggs that an older woman has are also more likely to contain abnormal chromosomes. Furthermore, as women age, they are at a higher risk of disorders that can affect fertility, like uterine fibroids and endometriosis.
Currently, there is not a medical technique that will guarantee fertility will be preserved. One option for women who want to have children later in life is in vitro fertilization (IVF). With IVF, sperm is combined with a woman’s eggs in a laboratory, causing embryos to grow.
Testing for Infertility
Doctors use a variety of methods to identify any problems that may cause fertility problems:
- Pap smear – This test is used to detect abnormal cells around the cervix, such as cervical cancer or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Ovulation tests – This is an at-home test that checks your urine for when you are the most likely to be fertile.
- Luteinizing hormone – Your doctor may ask for a urine test to check for this hormone, which shows up in higher levels just before ovulation.
- Progesterone – A blood test will reveal the levels of progesterone in your blood. Increases of progesterone indicate that you are ovulating.
- Thyroid problems – Issues with the thyroid can lead to hormonal problems that affect regular ovulation.
If you are under age 35 and trying to get pregnant, try timing your intercourse with ovulation for at least 12 months. If you are over 35 and have been trying to conceive for six months or more without success, contact us today to discuss your concerns.Tweet