What is the best age for pregnancy? Does the age affect the chances of getting pregnant? Is it possible to get pregnant after 35 years and what are the chances after 40?
Every woman has 1 to 2 million of follicles with eggs in her ovaries. They are there from birth. With each cycle one or more eggs from this huge stock get mature and become ready for insemination.
By the time of the first cycle the number of oocytes declines to 300 thousand. If we assume that a woman has about 500 aged between her 12 and 52 years, and imagine that not all of these eggs will be healthy, we still have a limited number of viable eggs capable for fertilization. This maturation of eggs varies in different periods of woman's life. Therefore, the fact that the age influences the ability to conceive a child no longer has to be proven.
Many doctors stress that the period from 20 to 24 years is the best age for pregnancy. In 20-25 years, 90% of eggs are genetically normal, which increases the chances of conceiving a healthy baby. With regular sexual life during one year the possibility to conceive a child for women in this age is 96%.
However, young people tend to treat pregnancy and preparation to this process less responsible than older couples, and often they ignore the risk factors that can lead to complications during pregnancy and harm the health of the child. Stress, bad habits, poor nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, delayed examination - all these factors can adversely affect the pregnancy and endanger the life and health of the future child.
In particular, the lack of vitamins and antioxidants significantly increases the risk of pre-eclampsia (a late toxicosis) and leads to a slow development of the child.
At this age the chances of getting pregnant after a year of sexual activity are up to 86%. A possibility that the pregnancy may be aborted is no more than 10%, which is slightly higher than for younger couples.
Of course, you need to carefully prepare for pregnancy, monitor the weight and diet, and avoid stress. However, if you are under 30 years old, there is no need to use reproductive medicine until 12 months from active attempts to conceive a child have passed.
For women whose age is up to 35 chances to conceive a child during one calendar year are still high - they reach 86%. However, the possibility of a miscarriage after 30 years increased to 20%. In addition, after many women who reach the point of 30years are already emerging chronic diseases, which can affect the course of pregnancy.
Therefore, the future mom at the age of 30-34 years should better prepare for pregnancy: to visit the doctor and consult with him on how the chronic diseases can affect the pregnancy, eliminate dental problems (if any), and normalize weight and diet etc. In this age if pregnancy has not occurred after 9 months of stable sexual life it is necessary to consult a doctor who deal with reproduction.
Statistics show that a woman's fertility begins to decline rapidly after the age of 35. So the question is "whether it is possible to get pregnant after 35 years?" Many women are worried about it today. At the same time, many women also give birth to their first child later than doctors recommend it. This is explained by the desire to solve the numerous problems in life (to get an education and make a good career, to get housing, get a stable high income, check the strength of the family), and only then have a child, even if it will make it more difficult than in 20 years.
In fact, the chances of getting pregnant after 35 are not too small. The possibility of getting pregnant within a month for the majority of women in this age group is 15-20%. This in turn means that the chances of pregnancy within one year after 35 years are about to 78%.
By the way, women older than 35 have higher chances to conceive twins. The nature of this phenomenon is not fully understood.
However, after 35 female fertility starts to decline. The main reason for that is an increase of chromosomal defects, which, in turn, affects the viability of the eggs. After 35 years there is a higher risk of miscarriage and complications during pregnancy, a relatively high possibility of having a baby with Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities.
One reason for the existence of chromosomal defects is the increase of free radicals and consequent oxidative stress induced by permanent excess of free radicals in the body.
Very sensitive to oxidative stress are germ cells and genetic material – DNA – that they contain.
The older a woman is, the more free radicals are accumulated in her body, and the higher oxidative stress is. This explains the increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities in children born by women of mature age.
The development of diseases such as endometriosis, polycystic, inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs, breast, etc. is also associated with an excessive activity of free radicals. To counter free radicals and to reduce an oxidative stress in the body can antioxidants. If we talk about the reproductive system, in order to maintain a good health it is particularly important to consume products with such as vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10, rutin and lycopene. All of these antioxidants are contained in the complex called "Sinergin".
Vitamin E is involved in the production of sex hormones and regulates the menstrual cycle. It is proved that the use of vitamin E in treatment of infertility increases the chances of pregnancy. Also, this vitamin promotes a normal pregnancy and prevents the development of mastitis.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) increases the chances of getting pregnant during sexual activity, so it is especially important for the reproductive system. Vitamin C also acts as the protection of the fundamental molecules of the body from free radical damage, stimulates the immune system and the body's resistance to viruses. Beta-carotene is effective in the treatment of infertility and mastitis. Beta-carotene deficiency can lead to fading and miscarriage pregnancies.
Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone (with Lat. - "Ubiquitous") is found in all human organs and tissues. Unlike other antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals Q10 molecule can be used repeatedly oxidized. In addition, Q10 helps to slow the aging process; it is effective in the treatment of polycystic, chronic fatigue syndrome and asthenic syndrome.
Rutin protects and strengthens the capillaries and blood vessels, it has a beneficial effect on sexual function, hormonal balance and normalizes the work of gonads, promotes the growth and maturation of oocytes. The lipophilic antioxidant lycopene is especially important for female reproductive system in preparation for pregnancy. Lycopene helps to prevent damage to the fetus in utero and softens the development of preeclampsia.
As already mentioned, the majority of women at age of 35-39 may become pregnant within a year or more. But doctors do not recommend waiting for the whole year to find out if you are one of them. In this case, you should not lose time, and if you cannot get pregnant for 6 months, you should see a specialist and pass a series of tests. Most cases of infertility are possible to treat. But even if it is hard to conceive naturally you can get help from effective reproductive technologies (IVF, ICSI).
Finally, in this age you can still use the opportunity to freeze a viable egg for future, if you do not want to have a baby right now. A woman can freeze her eggs until her 40 years, and use them to become a mother even after 44 years.
From 40 to 44
The older the woman is the lower her chances of getting pregnant. After 40 years, in women usually has just a few ovulations per year, as life supply of eggs and development of estrogen in the body is reduced. By 40-44 years 90% of the woman's eggs contain abnormal chromosomes. Also, many women after 40 years of struggle of the endometrium exhaustion that lines the uterine wall, which complicates the process of egg implantation. Therefore, the possibility of getting pregnant after 40 is relatively small in the traditional way.
But the concept of "relatively low" does not mean that the conception is not possible at this age. Even if you are 40 and you cannot successfully conceive, carry and give birth to a healthy baby, the most important is to wisely plan the pregnancy.
For women in this it is important to refer to recommendations from "for those who are over 35" section. But do not forget that the birth after 40 years is problematic not only because of women's reproductive health and the quality of her eggs, but also because of the genetic material of the male partner.
The man’s age for conception is no less important. Sperm motility of men of mature age is lower, while the number of sperm with genetic defects is higher than that of young men. Accordingly, the risk of genetic abnormalities of a child as a result of violations of the morphological structure of sperm is higher.
It is the fault of an oxidative stress, which we mentioned above. A destructive activity of free radicals damages the membranes of sperm and their motility and fertility level decreases. In addition, free radicals damage the DNA of the chromosomes. That is the most common reasons of male infertility for half of cases. Even the latest reproductive technologies can do nothing against this form of infertility. After all, if sperm DNA structure is damaged, then even in case of successful fertilization of the egg (due to ICSI protocol) the development of the embryo is damaged and the child dies in the early stages of fetal development, or is born with serious genetic defects.
Generally, it is believed that the possible age for conception for men is 25-40 years. But this does not mean that the men over 40 are contraindicated to have children. If future father stepped into the fifth decade of his life, he just needs to pay more attention to his health and to try as well as women to protect his reproductive cells from oxidative stress.
45 years and older
The possibility for a woman becoming pregnant after 45 is not more than 3-4%. Hypothetically, it is possible, but it is almost always necessary to get assisted by reproductive technologies. The few eggs that you still may have may contain a chromosomal abnormality, so before in vitro fertilization procedure it is very important to be screened and examined. In most hospitals patients who want to become pregnant at the age of 46-50 years old, are recommended to use donor eggs of a young woman.
You should be attentive to your health regardless of age. Do not wait until the possible damages acquire an irreversible character and become an obstacle in your path to motherhood.