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Female age and the chances to conceive

Mr Amit Shah , Mr Anil Gudi and Prof Roy homburg

Advancing female age is probably the single most important factor influencing fertility potential. From the age of about 35 years onwards, there is a steady downward trend in fertility capacity and this is probably a reflection of the declining number of eggs remaining and biological aging. In addition to the persistently decreasing number of eggs available, it is also assumed that the best quality eggs are preferentially recruited in the earlier stages of the reproductive period. As a result, from the mid-thirties onwards, fertility potential decreases considerably and following the age of 42, a spontaneous pregnancy becomes quite a rare event. Advancing female age not only affects natural conception but also the results of fertility treatments. Many women, in this modern day and age of career women, delayed wish for conception, aspiring single mothers and increasing divorce rates and second marriages, do not comprehend the profound effect of advancing female age on fertility potential. An awareness of the declining pregnancy rates with age at least allows an informed consideration of the timing of attempted conception when this is flexible and when it is not, the possibility of freezing eggs. In order to fully inform couples of their chances to conceive, especially if the female partner is in the more advanced age group, data on the state of ovarian function is attainable through a number of tests. This information should be utilized not only to forecast the chances on conception but, not infrequently, to decide whether treatment should be embarked upon at all.

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