Exploring the relationship between age and fertility
As men and women age, their fertility declines. While a woman’s biological clock seems to tick faster than a man’s, men also experience an age-related decline in fertility. It’s a normal part of the aging process, and something that everyone goes through at some point in their lives. Our Southern California fertility specialists are breaking down what patients should know about age and fertility.
How does age affect a woman’s reproductive potential?
A woman is born with all the eggs she will have for her entire life. As part of the natural aging process, women lose eggs each month from puberty through menopause. In a woman’s mid-30s, her ability to get pregnant rapidly declines, because she has fewer eggs.
Older women are also more likely to have eggs with chromosomal abnormalities. If sperm fertilizes such an egg, it could lead to miscarriage or birth defects. Through the advancement of technology, we can test IVF embryos for abnormalities to prevent these issues.
Despite the relationship between age and fertility in women, a woman can often still conceive and welcome a healthy baby. She may just need assistance from our Southern California fertility specialists.
How does age affect a man’s fertility?
Men continue to produce sperm throughout their lives. However, a man can experience certain barriers to reproduction as he ages.
- Sperm movement (motility) may weaken, making it harder for sperm to reach an egg
- The amount of semen may decline
- Erectile dysfunction may occur more frequently
- The risk of genetic defects in sperm increases, leading to miscarriage and birth defects
As you can see, men do experience a decline in their reproductive potential as they get older. All men are different though, so some may experience these issues earlier than others.
Considerations about age and fertility
Even as you age, you may still be able to have a healthy child. If you need assistance, we offer other options like using donor eggs and in vitro fertilization. Also, some younger women choose to preserve their fertility by freezing their eggs for later use.