Aging is one of the top factors in waning fertility. The ability to become pregnant and or impregnate someone else naturally declines as people get older for a variety of reasons. Below, we discuss how aging impacts male and female fertility along with reproductive therapies that may be used to increase the chances of pregnancy.
Aging & Female Fertility
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, aging is the single most influential factor in female infertility. The organization states that peak fertility occurs during the late teens and mid-20s, after which it begins to decrease over time until menopause occurs.
Healthy couples generally experience a fertility rate of about 25%, meaning that 1 in 4 couples will become pregnant with unprotected sex. Menstruating individuals who are sexually active in their 20s and 30s have about a 15% chance of becoming pregnant during each menstrual cycle.
Menopause is the natural decline of female reproductive hormones beginning around the age of 40. Eggs are no longer released and menstruation stops. The closer a person is to their 40s, the less likely they are to become pregnant with each passing month and year. Pregnancies later in life are also riskier and these individuals and their babies experience a higher rate of prenatal and postnatal complications.
Female Reproductive Therapies
There are several female reproductive therapies available for individuals who wish to conceive without the need for an egg donor or surrogate mother.
Acupuncture is an extremely minimally invasive, relaxing procedure that can help stimulate blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. It is commonly used in conjunction with other female reproductive therapies but can also be used alone for gentle, natural reproductive stimulation.
Female Fertility Drugs
There are numerous female fertility drugs currently on the market, most of which work to promote ovulation and a hospitable uterine environment. Common brands used by fertility specialists include Letrozole, Clomid, and Gonadotropins.
Aging & Male Fertility
Although aging also impacts male fertility, the rate of reduction is significantly less predictable than female fertility. Female reproductive systems are developed in-utero with as many eggs as they will have throughout their lifetime; no new eggs are generated after this. Male sperm, on the other hand, continue to be produced even as a person ages. Millions of sperm are produced daily until the individual’s end of life.
Aging does play a role in the reduction of sperm quality though, making it more difficult for sperm to locate and implant themselves into an egg if one is present. Sperm become less mobile and do not travel as fast or as far as they once did. There may also be far fewer sperm per semen sample, and a reduction in overall semen volume output may occur.
Advanced paternal age is also associated with developmental delays and neurocognitive conditions. The Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology states that a recent groundbreaking study may have shown that gene mutations increase by two every year, further increasing the chances of developmental disorders with paternal age.
Male Reproductive Therapies
The following male reproductive therapies can be used the help achieve pregnancy when male infertility is a contributing issue:
The process of intrauterine insemination involves administration of a high-quality semen sample into the uterus during ovulation. This can be done with either a live semen sample or a frozen one. There is no need for sedation during this procedure as it’s minimally invasive and painless.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection often occurs alongside other procedures that require in-vitro fertilization. During this process, a single sperm will be injected directly into one egg at the microscopic level. Then, this egg is implanted into the uterus of the mother, who may be either biological or a surrogate.
Schedule a Consultation
Viera Fertility offers artificial insemination, along with many other male and female reproductive treatments and services. If you’re looking for IVF clinics in Melbourne, contact Viera Fertility today to schedule your initial consultation. Our team will book your appointment and answer any questions you may have about insurance, co-pays, available treatments, and what to expect during your consultation.