I wish I knew...

You are never more fertile than you are today—fertility declines as a woman ages, and this decline may take place much sooner than most women expect. Here is additional information to consider:

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1. Your egg supply

Women are born with a limited number of eggs, and that number declines steadily with age—during prime reproductive years, a woman may have up to 400,000 eggs, but by age 40, that number can decrease to fewer than 50,000, and by menopause it’s almost zero.a

aData from ASRM.org

2. Your egg quality

The quality of a woman’s eggs affects the chances for a successful IVF cycle. Egg quality is reduced as women age, which may impact implantation and pregnancy. In a study, women between the ages of 26 and 30 experienced the lowest incidence of genetic abnormalities in the embryo. However, the prevalence of genetic abnormalities rose steadily between the ages of 31 and 43 and then plateaued at approximately 85%.b

bData from Fertstert.org

3. Age affects IVF outcomes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the chances for a successful IVF cycle that results in a live birth decline as women agec:

Age (years) Percentage of IVF cycles that result in a live birth
<35 41.5%
35-37 31.9%
38-40 22.1%
41-42 12.4%
43-44 5%
> 44 1%

cData from ASRM.org

4. Advancing age = advancing costs of IVF

Because the odds of success decline the longer a woman waits before starting an IVF cycle, there may be cost implications. Cost may be a factor for older women because they may require more IVF cycles before having a successful outcome.

5. IVF opens up a world of possibilities

IVF can open up the possibility of having a baby to almost anyone who has had a difficult time conceiving, regardless of familial status or sexual orientation. IVF addresses fertility issues. Many men and women with both known and unexplained fertility issues have benefited from IVF. IVF increases chances of conception whether fertility is an issue or not. Some couples choose IVF because it helps them conceive more quickly at a time that’s right for them. IVF allows for genetic testing and the screening of embryos for genetic disorders. With IVF, frozen eggs and/or sperm can be used, giving people the ability to preserve their fertility for future use.