Understanding the Impact of Advanced Maternal Age on Fertility
Over the past decade, more women have put off having children until their late thirties or early forties, believing that they had plenty of time to begin or expand their families. Most women don’t realize, however, that female fertility decreases with age. Dr. James Douglas wants patients to have detailed information about how maternal age can affect their ability to get pregnant.
Female Fertility in Your 20s, 30s and 40s
For women, fertility peaks in their 20s. While men continue to constantly produce sperm, women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. As you age, both the quantity and quality of eggs decrease. At 25, a woman has about a 25 percent chance of conceiving in any given month; by age 40, the odds drop to 5 percent.
Common Infertility Issues Caused by Advanced Maternal Age
The aging process can take a toll on fertility in several ways, including:
Diminished ovarian reserve: With older women, the ovaries actually release fewer eggs, which reduces the odds of conception without intervention. Dr. Douglas can run fertility blood tests to check your ovarian function.
Poor egg quality: Research has shown that up to 90 percent of a woman’s eggs may have chromosomal abnormalities by the time she turns 40.
Physical abnormalities: Some women are born with congenital defects in their reproductive organs, including a uterine septum and tubal defects. In other cases, pelvic infections and medical conditions such as endometriosis can cause damage that makes conception difficult.
Recurrent miscarriage: When pregnancy does occur in patients over 40, the risk of miscarriage is substantially higher because of chromosomal abnormalities in the egg. For women in their early 40s, the rate of pregnancy loss is approximately 42 percent.
Exploring Fertility Treatment Options to Address Maternal Age
After a complete fertility evaluation, Dr. Douglas can work with you to determine the best course of treatment. Depending what the tests reveal, Dr. Douglas may suggest:
- Growth hormone therapy for diminished ovarian reserve This fertility treatment involves combining growth hormone (GH) with ovarian stimulation to assist with oocyte maturation and improve egg quality in older patients.
- In-vitro fertilization with pre-implementation genetic diagnosis (PGD ) With PGD, Dr. Douglas will fertilize your eggs with your partner’s sperm and then evaluate the resulting embryos to look for any chromosomal abnormalities. Only healthy embryos will be used for the transfer.
- Donor eggs Using eggs from a younger donor with your partner’s sperm can increase the odds of a successful pregnancy. Dr. Douglas works with top-rated agencies to ensure patient safety.
- Donor embryos Similar to donor eggs, donor embryos may improve the chances of conception if the female partner is over 40 and the male partner has certain male factor fertility issues.
Bring Your Maternal Age Fertility Concerns to Dr. Douglas
If you are over 40 and want to get pregnant, contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Douglas in our Dallas area Fertility center. We will evaluate your situation and create a detailed plan to help you conceive the child you desire.