Over the years, there have been countless polls conducted on women asking them what their ideal age was to have children. However, many people may not realize that the age that many women feel is their best age to start a family differs from the optimal age to conceive biologically.
Many women today put off having babies for economic reasons as they hope to be financially stable before they even entertain the idea of having a child which will undeniably cost money to feed, raise, send to school and so on. Some also say that they want to enjoy themselves a bit before taking on so much responsibility.
However, being at your financial and social prime is different from being at your physical peak for conception.
The reality is that while you can certainly give your fertility a boost through proper diet and exercise, there’s nothing you can do to protect it from the effects of time. A woman's fertility will, regardless of how physically fit you are, start to decline after 35.
Data from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that eggs become less viable with age in an analysis done on embryo transfers. Here were the findings:
Conception at Every Stage
Here is a brief summary of women’s chances of conceiving naturally at every age:
20 to 24: Women’s fertility is at its peak in their early 20s. If you’re trying to conceive at this age, your success rate is at its highest at a 96% chance within a year.
25 to 29: In your mid-late 20s, your chances drop to 86% with a 10% chance of miscarriage. If you haven’t conceived successfully despite trying actively for a whole year, only then should you consult a doctor.
30 to 34: There is still an 86% success rate for couples in this age group. However, the chances of miscarriage are not 20%.
35 to 39: According to AmericanPregnancy.org, women aged 35-45 have a 20-35 % chance of miscarriage. But chances of conceiving within the year of actively trying is now only 78%.
40 to 44: At this point, not only has the quantity of your eggs gone down but so has the quality. And your chances of conceiving have dropped dramatically to only 20%.
45 and over: By this age, you’re not likely to become pregnant naturally as the chances are about 3 to 4%.
Age coupled with the stresses that professionals experience by trying to “do it all” can really have an adverse effect on fertility. The fact is, it is entirely possible to conceive successfully in your 30s and early 40s. Some pre-existing conditions have been known to be reversed with some lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol, exercising regularly, consuming a healthy diet, and quitting smoking.
So beyond the physical limitations of age, a stressful lifestyle can be the bigger hurdle for couples who are still within the right age bracket to conceive, regardless of the success rates. It becomes easier to blame infertility on age when really, stress brought on by lifestyle and emotional issues is the bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
Remember that whatever age you decide to start trying to have a baby, know that the odds are in your favor the more in tune you are with your body. A healthy lifestyle that involves foods and supplements that promote fertility are your best chance at protecting your fertility.