Menopause, Age and Infertility Problems
Women are born with a finite number of eggs, which tend to degenerate in quality and number over time. For this reason, women of advancing age may find that ovulation occurs less predictably ? and less effectively ? with time, often causing less ease in conception.
Women also experience hormonal depletions as they approach menopause. While women can still become pregnant during perimenopause, they may experience lower rates of ovulation. Doctors can test for a hormone, known as Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), released in the brain to stimulate ovulation. As hormonal imbalances become more pronounced, levels of FSH tend to rise, as the brain attempts in vain to stimulate egg release. Ovulation and conception can still occur, however, until menopause has been fully reached, indicated by the cessation of periods for 12 consecutive months.
Miscarriage and Age of Pregnancy
The risk of miscarriage also increases with age. In fact, women over 35 and under 39 experience a 1 in 4 risk of miscarriage with pregnancy, while women 40 to 44 experience a 3 in 4 risk of the miscarriage. However, many women are still able to carry a child to term without issue ? and once the first trimester has passed, the risk of miscarriage quickly descends.
Birth Defect Risk With Aging Mothers
Many women fear that conceiving into their 30s and 40s will cause certain birth defects to occur in children they carry. However, chromosomal and genetic abnormalities have a relatively low occurrence in general. Down Syndrome ? one of the most familiar chromosomal conditions associated with advanced age pregnancy ? occurs in far less than one-third of one percent of pregnancies carried by women age 35. The chance of any birth defect occurring with a mother in her mid-30s is less than half a percent on the whole. While the risk of birth defects increases with age, their incidence still remains relatively low.
The Bottom Line on Age and Pregnancy
So long as hormones remain balanced, fertility can persist well into midlife for many women. Loss of hormones that occurs with age can be corrected by safe and natural scientific therapies during pre-menopause and perimenopause. Some therapies, such as ammonium succinate, can also prolong fertility during menopause. Although women do experience a loss of fertility with age, there is truly no cutoff age for women who want to ? and can ? experience the joy of motherhood during midlife.