Experts reveal the age when getting pregnant actually starts becoming harder
Much has been said about women and the tick-tock-ing of their so-called biological clock.
Not a week goes by without there being reports on just how many couples are struggling with infertility these days and how women really need to start thinking about starting a family younger than they are currently doing. But while there may very well be some truth to that statement, let's just all agree that that is often much easier said than done for so many of us.
The cost of living, long years spent getting an education and then climbing the ladder in work, as well as maybe not having found the one you actually want to start a family with can all delay us getting around to making babies.
But as the years go by, more and more women suffer the dreaded "baby panic", fearing they might be missing out on motherhood altogether because of declining fertility as they age.
Men, the lucky ducks, don't go through an abrupt or noticeable change in their fertility when they age like women do, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Women, however, will experience that fertility declines gradually from their 30s, with a healthy, fertile 30-year-old woman having a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant every month, while for a woman of 40, the chances have dropped to less than 5 percent per cycle.
The long-standing advice has been that our fertility starts declining sharply from the age of 35 and onwards, but new studies show that this age might, in fact, be a little exaggerated.
According to The Atlantic, the study in which the age of 35 was made such a watershed moment for fertility was based on French birth records from 1670 to 1830. Here is what the article stated:
"The widely cited statistic that one in three women ages 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, for instance, is based on an article published in 2004 in the journal Human Reproduction. Rarely mentioned is the source of the data: French birth records from 1670 to 1830. The chance of remaining childless — 30 percent — was also calculated based on historical populations."
In fact, a 2004 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that as many as 82 percent of 35-to-39-year-old women conceive within a year, compared with 86 percent of 27-to-34-year-olds (with sex at least once a week). Meaning, the fertility of women in their late 20s and early 30s was almost identical.
These numbers were backed up by a 2013 study in Fertility and Sterility found that stated that: "Among women having sex during their fertile times, 78 percent of 35-to-40-year-olds got pregnant within a year, compared with 84 percent of 20-to-34-year-olds."
What scientist are saying now, is that 40 is the age when getting pregnant naturally starts getting that much harder.
According to a study by Anne Steiner, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, statistics show that among 38 and 39 year-olds who had been pregnant before, as many as 80 percent of white women of normal weight got pregnant naturally within six months. "In our data, we're not seeing huge drops until age 40," Steiner told The Atlantic.