What is age related infertility?

A woman’s fertility declines as she ages.  This is known as age related infertility. Age-related infertility is more common among women over the age of 30 where a decrease in the number of eggs that remain in a woman’s ovaries, as well as diminished egg quality, make becoming pregnant more difficult.

Causes of age related infertility

Women younger than 30 have a 30% chance of achieving pregnancy during their menstrual cycle. This drops to 20% for women between the ages of 31 and 35, and to less than 10% for women ages 35 and older. By 40, women typically only have a 5% chance of becoming pregnant without fertility treatments.

Fertility declines as egg quality decreases, and women more likely to have miscarriages when they are over 35 years old. This is often due to genetic abnormalities, called aneuploidy, in which a fertilized egg (embryo) does not develop the correct number of chromosomes. Most embryos with an improper number of chromosomes either do not implant in the uterus or result in a miscarriage. By age 35, only 30% of embryos are normal.  By age forty, it's less than 10%.

Symptoms of age related infertility

A woman may have age-related infertility if she has not become pregnant after trying for six months and is older than 35. Frequent miscarriages at that age could also be an indication of diminished ovarian reserve or egg quality that will not support carrying a pregnancy to term.

Treatment for age related infertility

Once diagnosed, treatments include such assisted reproductive methods as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and egg donation. A woman in her mid-30s and older should consult a reproductive specialist if she cannot get pregnant after trying for six months.