Every woman’s fertility timeline is different, but the short answer, according to experts, is that the ability for a woman to become pregnant decreases quite dramatically after the age of 35 – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a baby later in life.
The truth is that pregnancy at any age has pros and cons, but it’s generally agreed by fertility specialists that women in their early 30s fall within the pregnancy “sweet spot”.
The reason offered by experts for this statement is that by this stage of your life, you and your partner are likely to be set career-wise, be more financially stable and therefore have a solid foundation on which you can safely start a family.
However, it’s not only career and lifestyle that determines the ‘ideal’ age during which you decide to become pregnant. As mentioned above, after the age of 35, there is a considerable decrease in fertility; even at 30 years of age, doctors will tell you not to wait too much longer before becoming pregnant, especially if you’re thinking of having more than one child.
An alternative option
Another critical factor to take into account is that, as you get older, there is a higher risk of having a miscarriage. The chance of the child being more prone to genetic problems also increases. If you’re in your mid-thirties, it is recommended that certain screenings such as cell-free foetal DNA blood testing, amniocentesis and chronic villus sampling – among others – are conducted.
At 35 years of age and older, there is also a higher risk of women having an ectopic pregnancy, which happens when the fertilised egg implants outside of the uterus, instead of inside. If this occurs, the only option is to terminate the pregnancy.
If you’re not willing to take this chance, there is another option: in vitro fertilisation (IVF). According to the Mayo Clinic, ‘IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. The procedure can be done using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm.’
However, there are still many factors to consider that need to be discussed with a doctor before you opt for IVF.
How Marie Stopes South Africa can help you
At MSSA, we offer a pregnancy care service. We can determine:
- If you are pregnant
- How far along you are in your pregnancy (gestation)
We also offer pregnancy scans for various trimesters within your pregnancy. Please don’t hesitate to book an appointment and find out whether you’re pregnant, or have any questions that you would like answered.
Established in 1993 Marie Stopes South Africa is the country’s largest non-profit provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare services. In South Africa, we operate 17 centres across 7 provinces and are a Section 21 non-profit organisation recognised for the quality of our clinical services and our non-judgmental, client-friendly approach.
In summary, it cannot be said that it’s ever too late to have a baby. However, medical professionals agree that beyond the age of 35, a woman’s fertility decreases and there are increased risks that need to be taken into consideration.
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