When is the right time to conceive?

According to tradition and physical fitness, the 20's age range has been considered the most optimal time for a woman to conceive. However, obesity and a lack of exercise among the young are recognised factors in countries like the United States and United Kingdom. Women over the age of 35 are paying attention to their physical wellbeing and are often considered more psychologically and emotionally prepared for pregnancy and birth than their younger counterparts.

The “right time” for women to conceive over the age of 35 differs from woman to woman according to their motivations, general health, their career and financial outlook. Physical conception or “fertilisation” in women over the age of 35 occurs similarly to conception in all women where the sperm and ovum fuse to form the embryo. There are conditions that make fertilisation more likely at certain times and women can select the “right time” for fertilisation through In vitro fertilisation where the egg is fused with the sperm outside of the womb.

How does being over 35 affect fertility?

Age over 35 affects conception or fertility for both men and women. One of the reasons that female libido is thought to decline after age 35 is because of decline in fertility starting from age 30 decreasing gradually with age. Challenges with conceiving or becoming fertile emerge because it starts to take a woman longer to be fertile and the most fertile period, usually fourteen days from the period start, starts to shorten. The longer fertilisation period occurs because a woman's body starts to produce less eggs after the age of 35 and chromosomal abnormalities may therefore also increase. Some women have early onset of menopause that contributes to infertility or sub-fertility.

In vitro fertilisation for conception

With the availability and affordability of fertility treatments, many women over the age of 35 whether in heterogeneous or homosexual relationships are choosing to have fertility treatment, like In vitro fertilisation. The possibility of such fertility treatments reduces age as a factor preventing women from pregnancy. For those trying naturally to conceive over the age of 35, the experience can be more difficult but possible with time.

The role of uterine functions for the developing embryo

Conception is therefore treatable, but even if In vitro fertilisation is successful when the fertilised embryo is implanted in the woman over age 35, the woman's body may be unable to sustain the developing embryo due to aging uterine functions. The health of the woman's entire reproductive system is a consideration. If uterine irregularities occur, a woman can still miscarry or experience stillbirth. There is therefore a correlation between age, fertility, and pregnancy.

Seeing medical advice

For this reason, women wanting to conceive over the age of 35 are advised to see a healthcare professional for tests and recommendations. If conception does not occur after regular sexual intercourse for six months, seeing a doctor will not only help the woman understand her challenges but also options for treatment. Many women over age 35 can take up to three years to conceive. Information on fertility and treatments is available from The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Having a baby after 35:

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