Understanding the Connection between Egg Age and Infertility
Dr. Jane Miller encourages women to enter their reproductive years with realistic goals for timing conception and starting a family. Knowing your family history and the facts surrounding age and infertility will help you make proactive decisions to optimize your fertility. Today’s advanced reproductive technologies and newer egg freezing techniques provide an effective safety net for women concerned with the proverbial biological clock.
The Female Egg Bank
In the womb, a female has approximately 1 million eggs. That number decreases by two-thirds by the onset of puberty. Women of reproductive age average 300,000 eggs, and a pool of a few hundred of these will mature to become the dominant egg during monthly ovulation. Unlike men who continue to produce sperm over their lifetimes, the female reproductive system withdraws these valuable resources each month, but never makes a deposit.
We see a connection between age and infertility because egg health is tied to maternal age. Dr. Miller treats women of all ages, and takes a more proactive approach to fertility treatment when maternal age becomes a factor. She explains how the passing of time affects ovarian reserve and hormonal function:
In her 20s: A woman has a greater store of eggs in her most fertile years, and a greater likelihood of producing genetically sound eggs.
In her 30s: The number of eggs in the ovaries declines by age 35, so experts recommend partnering with a fertility specialist if conception doesn’t occur after 6 months of pregnancy attempts.
In her 40s: A woman has a slim 5 percent chance for conceiving a baby in any given month, and 90 percent of eggs can have chromosomal abnormalities that increase the chances for miscarriage.
How Age and Infertility Decrease the Odds for Getting Pregnant
We know that maternal age negatively impacts your reproductive health, affecting egg quality and egg quantity, but each woman has mitigating factors that further complicate matters.
- Do you have a family history of early menopause?
- Do you have endometriosis or painful, heavy periods?
- Are your periods sporadic or unpredictable?
- Do you have PCOS?
Diminished ovarian reserve testing, AMH testing and other fertility blood work, can help Dr. Miller assess your reproductive health and make recommendations for preserving fertility. Our New Jersey fertility center is fortunate to have a sought-after IVF lab director and renowned reproductive endocrinologist leading effective fertility treatment cycles to help women overcome age and infertility.
Treating Age-Related Infertility
To overcome barriers to pregnancy caused by maternal age and diminished ovarian reserve, Dr. Miller will offer the following treatment options:
- Fertility medications alone may stimulate egg production.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) can increase the likelihood for producing and transferring good quality embryos.
- An IVF lab technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) tests embryos for genetic abnormalities prior to IVF transfer.
- Dr. Miller may also speak with you about donor egg cycles with fresh or frozen eggs from a young woman. Egg donors fill a gap for the most severe issues caused by age and infertility.
- Fertility preservation, egg freezing while you are in your 20s and 30s, enables women to delay pregnancy until later in life.
Your decision to consult with a fertility specialist sooner rather than later will give you peace of mind and more options for fertility treatment. Contact us at our New Jersey fertility center to learn more about positive steps you can take to address age and infertility.