January 2024

Understanding Age and Fertility

Misunderstandings about age and fertility can complicate family planning. It’s important to know that as  people age, their fertility decreases. This article aims to look into how age affects fertility and clarify the  relationship between these two critical aspects of reproductive health. 


How Age Affects Fertility 

Fertility is significantly influenced by physiological changes that occur throughout life. For women, there is a  noticeable decline in the quantity and quality of eggs, particularly after the age of 35. And this decline  accelerates after 40. (Source: TopDoctors.co.uk) Research confirms these age-related declines, highlighting  age as a crucial factor in fertility. While men continue to produce sperm throughout their lives, their sperm  quality and quantity may be affected by advanced age, potentially impacting fertility outcomes. 

Despite common beliefs, many women over 35 conceive naturally and have successful pregnancies. Age does  impact fertility, but it’s not the only factor that can lead to infertility. Research shows that women in their 20s  have higher conception rates than those in their 30s and beyond. As maternal age increases, so do the risks  associated with pregnancy and childbirth, further emphasizing the significant role age plays in fertility. (Sources: CleavlandClinic.org) 




Age and Reproductive Technologies  

Age plays a significant role in the success of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), especially In Vitro  Fertilization (IVF). Even with advanced treatments, age remains a critical factor influencing success rates.  Fertility clinics have observed a connection between age-related declines in egg quality/quantity and the  effectiveness of ART procedures. 


Factors Beyond Age That Affect Fertility  

While age is a critical consideration in fertility, it’s not the only determinant. Lifestyle choices, health, medical  conditions, and environmental factors influence fertility substantially. The research underscores the  importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to optimize fertility potential, regardless of age. 

Biological, genetic, and environmental aspects intertwine with age, impacting fertility. Factors like stress, diet,  exercise, and exposure to environmental toxins can overlap with age, amplifying or modifying its effects on  reproductive capabilities. Recognizing this interplay aids in a more holistic understanding of fertility dynamics.  For instance, stress management techniques or dietary adjustments complement age-related considerations  in enhancing fertility potential. 


Evolving Landscape of Reproductive Medicine 

The field of reproductive medicine is constantly changing, introducing innovative technologies that expand the  options for individuals seeking fertility assistance. Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) is a revolutionary  technology that evaluates embryo health before implantation. PGT-M, PGT-A, and PGT-SR serve different  genetic testing purposes, providing a thorough understanding of genetic risks or defects within embryos. While  age is a crucial factor in reproductive choices, PGT broadens the scope, offering a refined evaluation of gene  quality. (Source: UCSF) 

Understanding the complex relationship between age and fertility is essential for comprehensively informing  family planning and addressing fertility concerns. Individuals can make wise fertility decisions by questioning  myths and accepting the complex nature of age-related challenges. Given age’s diverse impact on fertility,  consulting healthcare professionals is a good idea to move further. Consulting healthcare professionals,  integrating various factors, and adopting evolving medical innovations combine to form a more holistic  approach to navigating the complex relationship between age and fertility.  




TopDoctors.co.uk - Fertility after 35: importance of egg quality | Top Doctors 

My.CleavlandClinic.org - Advanced Maternal Age (Geriatric Pregnancy): Definition & Risks (clevelandclinic.org)

UCSF Center for Reproductive Health - Genetic Testing (PGT & PGS) | UCSF Center for Reproductive Health