Age and

Pregnancy

More women are investing in their careers, yet they want to ensure their ability to have a family. It can be hard to separate fact from fiction. Here are the facts.

Age & Infertility*

Menken, et al. Science 1986

Leridon Human Reproduction 2004

*There are different methods for measuring infertility. For this chart, infertility was defined as not conceiving within 12 months among married couples not using contraception. Research methods vary between studies and result in different rates, represented here with ranges.

  • Women are born with all their eggs.

  • As eggs age, problems arise with the chromosomes, the packages of DNA inside the egg.

  • As women age, they have lower chances to conceive and a higher chance for one type of birth defect called a chromosome problem.

  • Age-related infertility starts to drop more quickly at about age 32.**

  • Egg freezing and IVF are options for women to have families later, but don't make up completely for the drop in fertility.**

  • DNA testing and IVF and screening during pregnancy are offered to look for chromosome problems.

  • Other factors can affect the risk for birth defects. Our Family Screen provide a personalized risk estimate.

**SOGC Committee Opinion 2012

Age-related risk for a live born child with a chromosome problem

  1. Hook EB Rates of Chromosome abnormalities at different maternal ages. Obstet Gynecol. 1981 Sep;58(3):282-5.

  2. Hook EB, Cross PK & Schreinemachers DM. (1983). Chromosomal abnormality rates at amniocentesis and in live-born infants. JAMA , 249, 2034-8. PMID: 6220164

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