The single most important factor influencing your chance of conceiving is your age. Once you turn 36, your chance of conceiving naturally is halved compared to your chance at 20 years of age.
The reason for this is that the number of healthy (chromosomally normal) eggs you produce declines as you get older, especially after the age of 36. The number of eggs available to go through the maturing process may be even lower if you have a family history of premature menopause, or need to undertake chemotherapy or radiotherapy. As you get older, chromosomal errors occur more frequently in your eggs, resulting in more abnormal embryos that may not implant, or that result in early pregnancy loss.
Women can help protect their fertility from the natural ageing process by leading a healthy lifestyle. It is important to not smoke, to moderate alcohol and caffeine intake, to perform regular exercise, and maintain a healthy weight range. However, due to the ageing process, there is only so much that can be done, and the most important factor is to have a baby at an early stage whenever possible. Predict your chance of falling pregnant, based on your age…
Age is the most important factor in a woman's fertility, and an AMH test can assess your current fertility.
As you get older, your egg nucleus often divides abnormally, distributing unequal amounts of genetic material – causing an increased chance of genetic abnormality. Unfortunately, this means that for older women it’s not just more difficult to fall pregnant, there is also a greater risk of miscarriage, and of giving birth to a baby with a genetic variation such as Down Syndrome.
If you use in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or other assisted reproductive technology, you can increase your chances of falling pregnant. If you are aged 36 to 40, your chance of conceiving in an IVF cycle is 25% to 45%, compared with 5% to 8% in a month if you’ve been trying to conceive naturally for more than six months. Many factors may influence your individual chance of success.
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a method of testing embryos for specific genetic and chromosomal variations before implantation. We can also select the embryo with the greatest chance of pregnancy success.