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Aging and Infertility

Although a woman’s fertile years are defined as those between puberty and menopause, her ability to conceive during that time is also variable with age.

A woman’s peak fertility is during her teens and twenties. By the time she reaches her mid to late thirties, her ability to conceive has usually dropped significantly. Doctors believe the eggs released at this time are of a lower quality and may contain more chromosomal abnormalities because of age. This can lead to increased likelihood of miscarriage, infertility, and birth defects.

Women are born with all of the eggs they will ever produce, unlike men who continue to produce sperm throughout their life. However, studies now show that age can also play a part in male fertility. Although older men can still produce sperm, it is more likely to have less mobility and contain more abnormalities. Lifestyle patterns, such as excessive drinking, smoking, and obesity will also take their toll over time, and reduce fertility.

Despite the part aging plays in reducing fertility, modern treatments offer a number of ways to deal with the problem. Some women choose to freeze their eggs in their twenties for implantation at a later date. In-Vitro Fertilization and other forms of insemination offer a chance at becoming pregnant. Likewise, hormonal treatments are available for both men and women, along with donor eggs and sperm. Alternatively, some couples pursue surrogacy, adoption, or they opt to remain childless.

In the meantime, sensible diet and exercise, even flossing, may all be connected to helping to maintain a healthy fertility. And, if any health issues crop up, be sure to check them out sooner rather than later.

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