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Frequently Asked Questions

What does age have to do with fertility?

As a woman ages, the number of eggs remaining in her ovaries decline. This process actually begins before a woman is even born. No more than 250,000 to 500,000 eggs are present in a woman’s ovaries at the time of her first period. By menopause, when her periods stop, no eggs are left. Women achieve their peak fertility by their mid-20’s and maintain their fertility until about age thirty. At this point it starts to decline gradually picking up after age 35 and plummeting beyond age forty. By her fortieth birthday, a woman’s fertility is down by about 50% of its peak.

The age related decline in fertility is partly due to the fact that human eggs remain in a state of suspended animation from fetal life until ovulation. That means that they can exist in an arrested state for decades and it is at this stage that they can experience damage from environmental insults and waste products that the body naturally produces. Such exposure translates to egg damage and a reduced likelihood of the egg to yield a baby. At the same time, the potential for a miscarriage or chromosomally abnormal pregnancy increases.

If you would like to learn more about the effect of age on your chances of getting pregnant, please call (202) 741-2520 to set up a consultation with one of our doctors.

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