How old is too old? – Does age interfere with Infertility?
Dr. Aruna Ashok
The discussions on the topic of age and infertility never ends. Is it ever too late to get pregnant? Does age interfere with infertility? Should I stick to a certain age for to beget a healthy child? There are no fixed answers to all these questions but let’s look into the issue in depth. .
Maternal age and Fertility
With all the modernisation and high literacy rate, childbirth is being postponed fitting to one’s convenience. A major point to be noted is that the age of marriage for women by itself, is pushed from an average 22 to 30 years. There is nothing wrong with it as such, but the best age for a woman to have a heathy child with ease is from the age 22 to 27, or at least before 30. However, in today’s time, most are trying to conceive only after 30 years of age and there are various valid reasons for that, which are understandable. But looking at the bigger picture, there are drawbacks to delaying childbirths.
Major drawbacks of advanced maternal age
· Difficulty in conception due to low egg counts
· Increased risk of miscarriage > 35 years
· Increased risk of anomalies > 35 years
· Increased risk of morbidities like DM, HT and Cholesterol levels
The physical ageing in women is postponed by good dietary habits, workouts, yoga and with a healthy lifestyle but ovarian ageing cannot always be postponed by these methods. Well, there might be exceptions, there always are. On an average, 12 years before menopause, i.e., at 38 years of age, the ovarian reserve of eggs drop drastically. Women of Asian origin age 5 years earlier than women of western origin, as per evidence. Hence, women trying to conceive, if not conceived after 32 years of age, should seek medical advice.
There are good indicators for predicting the number/quantity of eggs in-store – Blood test – AMH. Unfortunately, not many indicators are present to check the quality of eggs. So, sometimes even with IVF, the success rate is a little low for women who are more than 35 years of age.
For instance, consider a scenario where 15 eggs are retrieved from two patients, one from a 29-year-old and another from a 39-year-old. The younger patient will have at least 6 blastocyst embryos of good quality, whereas the older patient might have only 3 to 4 average quality embryos. But in reality the older women will get only 6 to 7 oocytes/eggs in one cycle and hence she may need 2 IVF cycles to get 15 oocytes. This is the reason why sooner the better is a phrase that fits well. Balancing health, work, finance and family – all of this is important, that is why everyone deserves the happiness of motherhood, if that is something you’re looking forward to.