When I broke up with a boyfriend in my early 30s, I was devastated—not because he was the perfect guy who I was meant to marry but because I feared I might never have a baby.
Every woman’s fertility is biologically unique, but it is a fact that our egg quality declines and pregnancy becomes both riskier and harder to achieve as we age. According to Health Canada, a 30-year-old woman has a 90 percent chance of getting pregnant. That declines to 77 percent by age 35, and the chances decrease sharply after that. It’s also true that we have a harder time getting pregnant as we age.
So what’s a girl to do?
If you want kids, it’s to your advantage to think about these issues early on and get tested. We’re used to being in control of our lives, professionally and financially. The fact that we don’t have control over the duration of our fertility can be incredibly frightening and something that many of us would like to ignore for as long as possible. But I’ve learned that, no matter how
I love the advice of Aimee Eyvazzadeh, a California-based fertility specialist who is otherwise known as “the Egg Whisperer”: “Most OB/GYNs are busy delivering babies and doing hysterectomies and Pap smears and aren’t focused on fertility,” she tells me, “so patients aren’t getting the proper care or advice about what fertility means for women. My goal is for them to say to their patients, ‘Hey, let’s talk about fertility risk factors,’ and offer them the option to check their fertility the way they might check their cholesterol.”
It is much, much harder to change your fertility in your 40s, but there are many things you can do in your 20s and 30s to ensure
Getting pregnant in your 20s
While you’re young and the world is your oyster, you should consider talking to your OB/GYN about testing your fertility. There are home tests available that involve peeing on a stick on day three of your period to measure your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which can be an indicator of the quality of your eggs. However, many doctors say that FSH and antral follicle counts performed in a doctor’s office are a better bet. “It’s not that they’re bad tests,” says Todd Deutch of the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, “but they shouldn’t be used in isolation without proper interpretation from a doctor because they give a lot of false positives and false negatives.”
Recent studies have found that it’s best to test Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). In March 2015, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) practice committee published a paper in the journal of Fertility and Sterility that stated that “there is mounting
Fertility test options
- Antral follicle count (AFC)
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol on Cycle Day 2 or 3
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
- Age is best predictor
- Comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS) + in vitro fertilization (IVF)
Try a home test, but make sure to share the results with your doctor so that he or she can follow up with some additional blood tests to get the best overall sense of your fertility. If you really want an insurance policy, consider freezing your eggs.
Getting pregnant in your 30s
Let’s face it: Your 30s are exhilarating and hard. You’re building your career and trying to balance a lot. Maybe you’re married and have kids, or maybe you’re single and trying to figure that part out. Just know that the mad rush to have it all shouldn’t make you crazy. Everything will look different in your 40s.
Getting pregnant in your 40s
Trust me, everything will get better when you turn 40. You’re more confident, you know what you want, work and relationships actually get easier and there’s less second-guessing. If you haven’t married and had kids, then you may be thinking about whether you