As soon as a woman begins producing eggs (ovulation), pregnancy can occur. Most girls between the ages of 11 and 13 start ovulating within six months to a year after they have had their first period. Although rare, it is possible for a girl to get pregnant before she has her first period. It is also possible for an adult woman to get pregnant without having a period.
Fertile women in their late teens, 20s, and early 30s release one egg about two weeks before an expected period. This means they could get pregnant and still miss having a period. Additionally, women who menstruate irregularly or not at all due to medical conditions or perimenopause can begin ovulating at any time and be at risk for pregnancy.
At What Age Are Women Most Fertile?
During early adulthood until their early 30s, the majority of women have the best chance of getting pregnant. Declining fertility rates due to aging have a biological basis involving depletion of “ovarian reserve” (number of eggs women have at birth). Quality of existing eggs also diminishes as women approach 30, which is one reason why older women tend to miscarry more frequently than younger women.
Ovarian aging refers to the progressive loss of viable eggs. When only a few eggs are left in a women’s ovaries, she may enter perimenopause and eventually, menopause. Research studies have found that approximately 95 percent of women around age 30 have only 12 percent of the amount of eggs she had at birth. By age 40, most women will have about three percent of the amount
Testing a Woman’s Ovarian Reserve
Measuring serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is the most common method of checking a woman’s ovarian reserve. This blood test is given on the third day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Another blood test measuring serum anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) or a transvaginal ultrasound can also be used to determine number of eggs left in the ovaries.
Ovarian reserve tests are recommended for women over 35 who have failed to get pregnant after trying for six months and women with a history of undergoing cancer treatments. However, poor test results do not mean a woman cannot get pregnant. Fertility treatments and a variety of assisted reproductive technologies are available at our Viera Fertility Clinic in Melbourne.
What Causes Infertility in Reproductive-aged Women?
Infertility is defined as attempting to get pregnant through sexual intercourse for 12 months without success. Common conditions preventing pregnancy in women between 18 and 35 years of age include:
- Endometriosis – when tissue similar in composition to uterine lining tissue grows on a woman’s ovaries, bowels, and pelvic tissue, these tissues cause scarring and development of adhesions that prevent conception.
- Anovulation – it is not uncommon for a woman to occasionally experience anovulation or lack of an egg being released during a cycle. Women with consistent anovulation problems not due to a serious medical disorder can usually restore normal ovulation by taking medication that stimulates the release of an egg.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – a hormone disorder preventing the maturation and release of an egg into the fallopian tubes, PCOS is almost always a reversible condition. Making certain lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising, eating healthier foods, and taking fertility medications can help women with PCOS become pregnant.
- Uterine Fibroids – benign tumors growing on the interior or exterior of the uterus may cause abnormal bleeding, bleeding in between periods, and infertility. Surgical removal of uterine fibroids is typically an outpatient procedure that can eliminate infertility.
- Blocked Fallopian Tubes – approximately 20 percent of female infertility is caused by blocked or scarred fallopian tubes. Minimal blockage of fallopian tubes can be repaired with reconstructive surgery. If damaged fallopian tubes cannot be repaired, women may opt for in vitro fertilization to achieve pregnancy.
Call Viera Fertility Today to Schedule a Fertility Appointment
Fertility testing and fertility treatment in Melbourne are available at Viera Fertility Clinic. If you are having problems getting pregnant, please contact our clinic today to make a consultation appointment with our fertility doctor.