No matter what your age, TRIO understands that fertility is complex and different for everyone. In this article, we outline what our patients may typically experience in their fertility journey at different decades of life.
It’s no secret that fertility levels naturally decline as time passes. While the choice to delay parenthood is an individual one, it’s important to understand the potential biological limitations this can bring. By being mindful of how your fertility changes as you age, you can make informed decisions about your family planning options.
Below, we discuss the chances of conceiving in your 20s, 30s, and 40s.
Your Fertility Levels in Your 20s
Your 20s are typically a decade of exploration. During this time, it’s common to try out different things, and take time to figure out your dreams and goals. The good news is that if you decide to start your family in your 20s, your chances of conceiving are usually pretty good (1). This is because in general, those in their 20s have a high number of quality eggs in their ovaries.
If you’re in your 20s and don’t want kids now but might in the future, egg freezing may be a good option for you. Freezing your eggs while you’re young preserves their quality and gives you a better chance of conceiving later on. If you would like to learn more about this option, check out our sister clinic EVOLVE, the first and only clinic in Canada that is devoted solely to egg freezing.
Although many people have good fertility levels in their 20s, there are plenty that struggles to conceive. If you are finding it difficult to become pregnant, please know that you are not alone. It is estimated that around 8% of people in their 20s have fertility challenges, which equates to over 400,000 people in Canada alone (5, 6). If you’re in your 20s and have been trying to conceive for a year or more, you can speak to your physician about a referral to a fertility specialist.
If you would like more information about fertility testing at TRIO, please get in touch. We will be happy to talk you through the fertility assessment process and help you on your path to parenthood.
Your Fertility Levels in Your 30s
Many people decide that they would like to have kids when they’re in their 30s. You’ve probably heard that 35 is a reproductive ‘tipping point’ for people with ovaries, and once you hit this milestone, you may find it more challenging to conceive.
While it’s true that it can be harder to become pregnant in your late 30s compared to your early 30s, there isn’t a sudden universal drop-off in fertility potential once you hit 35. As you can see in the graph below, this decline is more gradual, and even in your late 30s, you might still have a good chance of becoming pregnant (1).
As the table below shows, the number of quality eggs available in your ovaries decreases as you go through your 30s (2, 4). Note: since we don’t have a direct test available for checking egg quality, we are using miscarriage here as a proxy for genetic health.
As the quality and quantity of eggs declines, the number of people that struggle to conceive increases as they move from their early to late 30s (5). Therefore, if you are over the age of 35, guidelines recommend that you have a fertility check-up after 6 months of trying to conceive instead of a full year (7).
|Age Group (Years)||Average AMH score (ng/mL)||Risk of Miscarriage|
|30 – 34||2.4||11%|
|35 – 37||2.0||15%|
|38 – 40||1.5||21%|
Your Fertility in Your 40s
As you enter your 40s, your odds of achieving a healthy pregnancy are lower than when you were in your 20s and 30s. However, being in your 40s does not automatically exclude you from becoming a parent. In fact, research suggests that you still have a 56% chance of becoming pregnant naturally in your early 40s after trying for a year (1). Though these odds are lower than when you were younger, they are far from zero.
AMH (anti-Mullerian Hormone) is a blood test that can estimate your ovarian reserve. The average AMH score between the ages of 41 and 42 is 0.9 ng/mL, and this drops to around 0.6 ng/mL once you become 43 or older (2). According to the ASRM, once your AMH levels are lower than 1.0 ng/mL you may find it more difficult to become pregnant (7). So, it might be a good idea to get your AMH levels tested before you try to conceive to let you know what your odds of achieving a natural pregnancy are.
As you progress through your 40s, the chances of experiencing a miscarriage increase (4). This is most likely because of a decline in the number of genetically normal eggs available in the ovaries. If this is something that concerns you, it may be worth exploring fertility treatment with preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). PGT allows you to check the quality of your embryos (fertilized eggs), so only the genetically normal ones are placed into your uterus. If you would like more information about PGT, please get in touch.
Unfortunately, becoming pregnant naturally in your mid-to-late 40s is significantly more difficult (8). If you fall into this age bracket, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a fertility specialist before trying to conceive.
What Does This Mean for You?
This article has included a lot of numbers and statistics. These are all intended to demonstrate how your fertility might change as you get older, but they don’t tell us about your personal chances of conceiving.
For a personalized assessment, we recommend scheduling a fertility check-up with TRIO. These tests will give you key information about your reproductive health and help you start your family planning journey.
- (1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28917614/
- (2) http://extendfertility.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/AMH-Ages-ACOG-2019-Poster.pdf
- (3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6087828/
- (4) https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l869
- (5) https://www.asrm.org/resources/patient-resources/google-adwords-landing-pages/waiting-to-have-a-baby/
- (6) https://www.statista.com/statistics/444868/canada-resident-population-by-age-group/
- (7) https://www.asrm.org/globalassets/asrm/asrm-content/news-and-publications/practice-guidelines/for-non-members/infertility_workup_for_the_womens_health_specialist.pdf
- (8) https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(04)00029-9/fulltext