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35 is the Best-Before Date for Women, Ottawa Expert Says
While growing numbers of Canadian women are choosing to have their first child after the age of 35, an Ottawa fertility expert warns that this number is the fertility "best-before" date for women.
And Dr. Arthur Leader points out that media reports of mid-life pregnancies for celebrities suggest, wrongly, that it's easy to conceive later in life.
"By age 25, women have lost 80 per cent of the eggs they were born with," says Leader, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ottawa and one of the founding physicians of the Ottawa Fertility Centre. By 35, that has dropped to a 95 per cent loss.
Women put off child-bearing without understanding the consequences, he says. A survey of 360 Canadian undergraduate women published last year in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility, for example, found that while young women know fertility declines with age, they had no idea just how steeply it declines, says Leader.
A 30-year-old woman who wants to get pregnant, for example, stands a 22 per cent chance of being successful during any given month. By 35, it has dropped to 18 per cent. By 40, it's five per cent. By 45, there's only a slight one per cent chance.