Many females are born with all the immature egg follicles they’ll ever have — about 1 to 2 million. Only about 400,000 of those eggs remain at the start of menstruation, which occurs around age 12.

With each period, several hundred eggs are lost. Only the healthiest follicles will become mature eggs. The body breaks down and absorbs the rest. Males, on the opposite hand, still create new sperm for many of their adult lives.

As the body ages, it has fewer follicles. That means the follicles have fewer opportunities to make healthy, strong eggs for fertilization. 

Let’s take a glance at how the choice to attend can affect your fertility.

Ages 18 to 24

If ever there was a “best” age to procreate purely from a physical standpoint, this would be it.

Your body’s strongest ovarian follicles are the first to mature into eggs for ovulation, so the eggs you produce in your younger years are more likely to be high quality.

Having a toddler at this age will cut the danger for:

  • birth defects
  • chromosomal problems
  • some fertility issues

Of course, while it’s less risky to have children when you’re 18 to 24, it’s not without risk.

This fertility chance also referred to as fecundity rate, will wax and wane through your life. It’s at its strongest in this younger age period. Between ages 20 and 30, the natural fertility rate each month is about 25 percent. That dips to below 10 percent after age 35.

Birth rates are dropping for females ages 18 to 24. Many are foregoing families for careers until they’re in their 30s.


Ages 25 to 30

With each passing year, your chance of naturally conceiving a toddler falls. But in your late 20s, your chance of getting pregnant without intervention remains fairly steady.

In fact, couples under age 30 who are otherwise healthy are ready to conceive in their first three months of trying 40 to 60 percent of the time. After age 30, the probabilities of getting pregnant begin to decrease per annum.

If you haven’t started a family yet, don’t worry! Your body still has a generous supply of eggs to provide when the time is right.

But if you’re trying to conceive and have been unsuccessful for at least three months, talk with your doctor. While most couples at this age are going to be ready to have a baby without intervention, some guidance could also be helpful.


Ages 31 to 35

You still have a lot of high-quality eggs to offer, but your odds will start to decline steadily at this age. Your fecundity rate decreases gradually until age 32. At 37, it drops dramatically. In your 30s, you’re about half as fertile as you are in your early 20s.

In fact, 1 in 5 females nationwide have their first child after age 35, notes the National Institutes of Health. However, 1 in 3 couples in their 30s will experience some type of infertility issue.


Ages 35 to 40

The greatest reduction in fertility is in the late 30s and early 40s. The chances a female in their late 30s will be able to conceive spontaneously is about half that of a female in their early 20s.

However, at this age, the risks of chromosomal issues with eggs are higher. The risks increase with every additional year. That means the risks of miscarriage or abnormal pregnancy are higher.

This fall in fertility rates happens to coincide with the last decade of life when more people than ever try to urge pregnant.


Ages 41 to 45+

According to the CDC, birth rates for ages 40 to 44 increased 2 percent between 2016 and 2017. The number of births for females 45 to 49 rose 3 percent in the same time frame. In fact, the fastest-growing rates of childbearing are in females 40 and older.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that while more individuals are giving birth at these ages, the overall percentage of births to older parents is still much lower than in younger ones. That’s due, in part, because it’s tougher to get pregnant if you’re over 40.

By this age, your body is preparing for menopause. Your ovaries have likely exhausted their follicles or are nearing the end of their supply. With each passing cycle, more will disappear. By the time you reach your early 50s, you’ll have almost no follicles remaining.

Babies born from people in this age range are also at greater risk for a number of birth defects and pregnancy complications. Miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities increase significantly during this period of life.

Older age also increases the risk of complications for the parent, including:

  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • preeclampsia


Today, people are waiting longer to start families. Because of advancements in infertility treatments, like in vitro fertilization, these individuals often do succeed at getting pregnant at this later stage.

While your natural window gradually closes together with your age, fertility treatments could also be ready to extend your window and even make your chances of successful conception higher.

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