How Age Affects The Safety Of Having Children

If you’re thinking of having your first child later in life, you’re not alone. Over 20 percent of women in the United States are waiting till their mid 30’s to have their first child.
This is an exciting decision and most women don’t consider aspects regarding fertility. Unfortunately though, deciding on conceiving later in life can bring on a few extra hurdles to overcome.

However, this does not mean that you will be unable to conceive or even conceive naturally.

How Age Affects Pregnancy

There are many reasons you may have heard as to why it is more difficult for women to conceive as they get older: fertility drops after the age of 35; the chances of a pregnancy resulting chromosomal abnormalities are slightly higher; as well as risks in miscarriages are slightly higher.

There is also another reason that may not be as well known: reasons concerning your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The follicles are stimulated to produce a mature egg, which in turn will be released during ovulation.

FSH levels increase as you get older, which actually sounds like a good thing. But FSH levels typically increase because the reserve of eggs a woman has is actually depleting. Thus, a high FSH level can actually decrease the likelihood of conceiving.

Using Assisted Reproductive Technology

Since in vitro fertilization (IVF) was introduced many decades ago, there has been an increase in the number of births via Assisted Reproductive Technology (also known as ART).

The reason for this increase is that this method is often prescribed as a first line of defense, resulting in ART methods becoming grossly overprescribed.

Dr. Sami David explains in his book, Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, Dr Sami David, that in his experience, more than half of women who receive IVF treatments could have successfully conceived with minimal intervention or even naturally.

It’s important to understand that if you’re at first having difficultly conceiving, immediately turning to IVF treatments could do more harm than good, as these treatments come with risks.

Risks with IVF treatment

One of the major risks is multiple births – IVF treatment will increase the chances of  having multiple births, including early labor, complications and lower birth rates than if you were pregnant with a singleton. Both the mother and baby could face both short- and longterm health issues. Other risks:

    • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome – Using fertility drugs to induce ovulation can cause your ovaries to swell and become painful. This condition is known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Pregnancy may prolong the symptoms of this condition.
    • Birth Defects – As discussed previously, becoming pregnant after 35 years of age can increase the likelihood of a baby being born with chromosomal abnormalities. In addition, if you receive IVF treatments in this age range, can increase the risk of putting the woman into early menopause and even cancer.
    • Stress – The financial costs as well as the physical and emotional toll that IVF can have on the couple may cause chronic stress, making it harder to become pregnant even with the assistance of IVF.

Despite these risks, however, there is still hope. Dr. Sami David also explains that before committing to IVF treatments, natural remedies could be all that you need to conceive, no matter your age.

Simple changes like lowering bath temperature of the father-to-be by 4 degrees, cutting out alcohol, or even gaining a few pounds can all lead to a successful, natural pregnancy.

Featured image License: Creative Commons image source

Haley has been writing for more than five years in many industries. She has a varied background and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.


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