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Yes, Age Affects Fertility

A new report in Fertility and Sterility says that too many women don't understand the consequences of delaying motherhood until their 40s, and they are surprised when told that even with assistance such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), their chances of pregnancy are still low.

So we thought we'd give you the lowdown on your chances of getting pregnant at certain ages and clear up any misconceptions.

  • If a woman is having unprotected sexual intercourse, her chances of getting pregnant each month during her 20s are approximately 20 to 25 percent, and the spontaneous miscarriage rate is 5 to 10 percent. Seek help from a fertility doctor if you have not become pregnant after 12 months of unprotected intercourse.
  • Women in their early 30s may experience a decline in fertility, and the chance of becoming pregnant each month can range from 15 percent to 20 percent. The risk of miscarriage is approximately 20 percent. Seek help if you have not become pregnant after 12 months of unprotected intercourse.
  • Women age 35 and older experience a sharp decline in fertility, and the chance of becoming pregnant each month is about 10 percent. At 35, the miscarriage rate is approximately 25 percent. Seek help from a fertility doctor if you have not become pregnant after six months of unprotected intercourse.
  • At age 40, there is a significant decrease in a woman's ability to become pregnant, and the chance of becoming pregnant each month is approximately 5 percent. The miscarriage rate is approximately 33 percent. Definitely seek help if you have not become pregnant after six months of unprotected intercourse — some fertility doctors actually recommend coming in after three months.
  • Women over age 45 have less than a 1 percent chance of getting pregnant using their own eggs. The miscarriage rate is approximately 50 percent. The majority of women who get pregnant after age 45 with the help of IVF also use donor eggs.

For more information, read: Women's Perceptions about Age and Fertility 'Alarming,' Says Report.

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