Age is one of the biggest factors that predicts a woman’s ability to conceive. Women have their peak fertility years in their 20s and by the time they reach 35, their fertility begins to steadily decline. That being said, it is certainly possible to conceive after age 35. Women just need to be aware of their fertility potential and consider getting a fertility evaluation if they are 35 years or older and have not conceived after 6 months of trying.
When women are in their 20s, their chance of conceiving is about 20-25 percent per cycle. By the time the reach 40, the chance of getting pregnant declines to about 5-10 percent per cycle and by the time they are 43, it is less than 5 percent per cycle. At the same time, as women get older, their chance of having a miscarriage increases. By 40 years old, the chance of miscarriage is about 40 percent. The miscarriage risk for a women in her 20s is less than 15 percent.
Fertility declines with age for multiple reasons, but the largest contributor is the decline in egg quality that occurs with age. As women get older, their eggs are more likely to have abnormal chromosomes. That makes those eggs more difficult to fertilize and if they do fertilize, they have a higher chance of miscarriage.
For women who are older than 35 and have not conceived after 6 months of trying, it is a good idea to get a fertility evaluation. Based on the results, your doctor might recommend fertility treatment, such a medications that help promote egg growth or in vitro fertilization.
If you are not ready to conceive, but know you want children in the future, one option to consider is egg freezing. Freezing eggs is not a guarantee for a future pregnancy, but it gives many women who want to delay child bearing a much higher chance of conceiving in the future.