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What to Know About Infertility in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s

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In Your 20s

Odds of Getting Pregnant

Biologically, this is the prime time to get pregnant. In fact, the odds that a woman in her 20s will get pregnant each month are around 20 to 25 percent, the highest they'll ever be. While women in their 20s generally have good egg quality, all the other causes of infertility can still be present, such as tubal issues and low sperm count in the male partner.

Your Health

Not only do you have higher odds of getting pregnant in your 20s, you also have lower chances of experiencing complications such as miscarriages and chromosomally abnormal pregnancies, as well as health issues that include gestational diabetes.

The Risks

The risk of developing preeclampsia -- when a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and protein in her urine -- is highest among first pregnancies, when most women in their 20s are likely expecting for the first time.

There's also the emotional factor of having kids at a young age, especially when women veer off their professional path, which they might regret down the road.

Risks to the Baby

All pregnancies come with risks, but many risks increase with age. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is 1/1600 at age 20 and 1/1300 at age 25. Risks of any chromosomal abnormality are 1/526 and 1/476, respectively. But keep in mind that these are the risks at birth.

Ways to Boost Fertility

The good news is that women in their 20s can still take steps to optimize their odds of getting pregnant. For instance, weight plays an important role in conception, but many young women tend to be very underweight or overweight. Maintaining a normal BMI and adopting a pre-conception plan of eating a nutrient-dense diet, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and avoiding cigarettes helps a woman achieve her most optimal health prior to conception.

When to Seek Help

Traditionally, women in their 20s have been advised to seek help from a fertility specialist after trying to get pregnant for a full year. In fact, if you aren't getting your period at all or if your cycles are longer than every 35 days, seek help immediately. Talk to your doctor if you have a family history of early menopause or a known history of pelvic abnormalities, sexual dysfunction, or any other medical conditions that might affect fertility, including your partner's medical problems, which may affect his sperm count.

In Your 30s

Odds of Getting Pregnant

On average, a woman in her 30s has a 15 to 20% chance of getting pregnant each month. Fertility gradually declines throughout the decade, especially after age 35.

The Risks

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, as a woman reaches her mid- to late 30s, she's less likely to become pregnant and more like to have miscarriages because the quality and quantity of her eggs are dwindling.

Women at this age might feel tremendous anxiety when it comes to having children.

Risks to the Baby

The risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is 1/1000 for mothers who give birth at 30 and 1/365 for those who give birth at 35. Risks of any chromosomal abnormality are 1/384 and 1/197, respectively.

Ways to Boost Fertility

Along with making sure their weight falls in a normal BMI range and that they are following a preconception plan, women in their 30s should consider the birth control they've been using.

When to Seek Help

Women in their early 30s should get help after trying for six months to a year; those between 35 and 39 should definitely seek assistance after six months.

In Your 40s

Odds of Getting Pregnant

By age 40, a woman's odds of getting pregnant is less than 5 percent each month. For women ages 45 to 49, those odds dip as low as 1 percent.

The Risks

But all obstetrical risks (such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, miscarriage, delivery complications, the need for a Cesarean, prolonged labor, and giving birth to a child with a genetic disorder) increase as a woman gets older. And the quantity and quality of a woman's eggs -- the key to fertility -- are both rapidly declining.

Risks to the Baby

The risk of Down syndrome is 1/90 at age 40 and 1/30 at age 45. Risks of any chromosomal abnormality is 1/66 and 1/21, respectively.

Ways to Boost Fertility

Along with the healthy lifestyle changes that women in their 20s and 30s should adopt, it helps greatly to put things in perspective.  For women trying to conceive - are trying to conceive is to have faith in your body, treat it like the palace that it is, and do what you can to achieve emotional peace. Some experts recommend yoga, acupuncture, exercise, or meditation accomplish that, but always talk to your doctor about what's right for you.

When to Seek Help

The jury's out on when women in their 40s should seek help from a fertility specialist: some say after three months of trying to get pregnant naturally; others say six.

Source: http://www.parents.com

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