Scientists say, until the age of 35, most women do not have problems with fertility, but after that age the possibility of getting pregnant starts to decrease rapidly.

It is true that many women over the age of 35 experience difficulty conceiving and are sometimes at greater risk of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth than women aged 20 to 35. However, the decline in the ability to conceive is a very slow process, not a sudden phenomenon, and the process varies from one woman to another.

But Professor Anja Bisgaard Pinborg, head of the obstetrics department at the Rigshospitalet clinic in Copenhagen, says, “many women have problems conceiving after the age of 40, even if they go through menopause at an average age of 51.”

Experts explain mainly the reasons are two; quantity and quality of eggs. At birth, women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. The number of eggs is around two million, but when they reach puberty the number of eggs is only 600,000. And that number decreases with age.

As women age, they have fewer eggs and their quality also decreases. It therefore becomes more difficult to conceive naturally and, even if you do undergo fertility treatment, the overall success rate may be lower than if you were younger. Egg quality is also important. As you age, the number of unfertilized eggs also increases.

Risk of miscarriage

The study found that the risk of miscarriage is around 10% for women aged 20 to 24, but the risk increases sharply as you approach the age of 35, where it exceeds 20%.

By the age of 42, more than half of pregnancies – about 55% – end in miscarriage. Maternal challenges and stillbirths are more common. In a study in Norway, the risk of stillbirth increases from the age of 35-39 and the risk is highest in the 45-49 age group. However, the risk of stillbirth is influenced by other factors as well. Factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity affect egg quality.

March 25, 2024

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