As societal norms evolve and life trajectories become more diverse, the age at which people choose to start a family is shifting. Increasing numbers of individuals and couples are opting to have children after the age of 35. While this choice is empowering and reflective of personal circumstances, it's important to understand the unique challenges and opportunities associated with trying to conceive after 35.
Myth: Fertility drastically declines after 35
Reality: Fertility does decline with age, but the extent varies. While there is a decline in the quantity and quality of eggs, this does not mean that conception is impossible. Many individuals in their late 30s and early 40s conceive naturally and have healthy pregnancies.
Myth: It's impossible to conceive naturally after 35
Reality: Natural conception is less predictable after 35, but it is far from impossible. The key lies in understanding your own reproductive health, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking medical advice if conception takes longer than expected.
Myth: IVF is the only option for conception after 35
Reality: In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an effective option, but it's not the only one. Fertility treatments like ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination can also be successful for couples over 35. Consulting a fertility specialist can provide insights into the most suitable path for each individual.
Factors Affecting Fertility
- Age: Age-related changes in egg quality and quantity are the primary factors influencing fertility after 35. However, individual variation exists, and some women may have better ovarian reserve and egg quality.
- Lifestyle Choices: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes increasingly important. Factors such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol can positively impact fertility.
- Underlying Health Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, can affect fertility. Proper management and treatment in collaboration with healthcare providers are crucial.
- Partner's Health: Fertility isn't solely a female concern. The male partner's age and reproductive health can also influence the chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy.
Reality: Available Support Options for fertility Over 35 Years
- Egg Freezing: Technological advancements allow women to freeze their eggs at a younger age, preserving their reproductive potential. This can provide a sense of security for those choosing to delay parenthood.
- Fertility Monitoring Apps: Mobile apps and wearable devices can help track menstrual cycles, ovulation, and overall reproductive health. This information empowers individuals by enabling them to make informed decisions about their fertility journey.
- Fertility Education: Increasing awareness about age-related fertility changes and family planning options is essential. Educational campaigns and resources can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.
- Nutritional Support: One of the biggest challenges for those trying to conceive over 35 is egg quality, which can be affected by nutritional and antioxidant status. For example, as we age, NAD+ production slows but NAD+ utilization and demand increases. This is thought to be one of the key mechanisms of aging. This discovery prompted scientists to explore the benefits of NAD+ supplementation. Replenishing the NAD+ levels has been shown to treat a number of diseases including cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, metabolic disorders (2) and restore the quality of the eggs and enhance ovulation rate and fertility in females (1). Additionally, studies have shown that supplementation with CoQ10 can improve ovarian function (3) and egg quality in women 30+ years (4).
Choosing to start a family after 35 is a personal decision that reflects the evolving landscape of family planning. While age does introduce new considerations, fertility after 35 is not an insurmountable challenge. Armed with knowledge, medical and nutraceutical advancements, and a proactive approach to reproductive health, individuals and couples can confidently navigate the path to parenthood, embracing both the joys and challenges that come with it.
- Bertoldo, Michael J., Dave R. Listijono, Wing-Hong Jonathan Ho, Angelique H. Riepsamen, Dale M. Goss, Dulama Richani, Xing L. Jin et al. "NAD+ repletion rescues female fertility during reproductive aging." Cell reports 30, no. 6 (2020): 1670-1681.
- Mehmel, Mario, Nina Jovanović, and Urs Spitz. "Nicotinamide riboside—the current state of research and therapeutic uses." Nutrients 12, no. 6 (2020): 1616.
- Xu, Yangying, Victoria Nisenblat, Cuiling Lu, Rong Li, Jie Qiao, Xiumei Zhen, and Shuyu Wang. "Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial." Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 16, no. 1 (2018): 1-11.
- Yang, Liuqing, Heng Wang, SuJie Song, Hongbin Xu, Yun Chen, Saisai Tian, Yiqun Zhang, and Qin Zhang. "Systematic Understanding of Anti-Aging Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Oocyte Through a Network Pharmacology Approach." Frontiers in Endocrinology 13 (2022): 2.