Fertility after 30
Since when is 30 considered old? I had our first child just before I turned 30; he was our little uninvited wedding guest. I knew I wanted children at some point but I never, not once, considered my fertility status. Since we accidentally got pregnant I figured that when the time was right and we wanted a second it would be just as easy. We welcomed our second child about 6 months after my 33rd birthday. To be honest I don't even remember trying. I do remember yanking my IUD out and never getting a period before that positive test. Needless to say, OBVIOUSLY I have the fertility of rabbit, right?
Wrong. I am now 37 and we just spent the last 8 months trying to get pregnant. I went from wistful ignorance about my fertility status to knowing the exact length of my cycle, my precise ovulation day, basal body temperature trends, and hormone levels.
What they don't tell you...
“ It’s hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; It’s even harder to give up when you know it’s everything you want.” - Unknown
Women are born with all their eggs, and over time, as we age, both the quality and the quantity of the eggs declines. This explains why starting around the age of 30 and increasing after 35, women may experience more difficulty trying to conceive.
What you need to do...
When you decide to start trying, book a preconception physical with your OB/Midwife. Once you know your labs and depending on your timeline, you can decide how much early intervention you want to pursue. See, I was working off the, "If after 6 months of active trying you are not pregnant, you need to schedule fertility workup/testing." This is what we tell most of our patients 35 and older. Fortunately, 4 months into trying, Dr. Danielle Lane encouraged me to get a work up just to see. I am glad I did. Turns out I had the fertility of a 45 year old and would definitely need help to conceive.
If you have a personal or strong close family history of premature ovarian failure or a personal history of endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, have had multiple STDs, thyroid disorder, irregular periods or diabetes, then you want to consider getting a work up much, much earlier.
If you are 40+ you should consult your doctor as soon as you decide you would like to get pregnant. By 40, a woman may only have a 5% chance of getting pregnant during any given month, compared to 15-20% at age 35. That chance drops to 3% by age 45.
“ There is purpose in your season of waiting." - Megan Smalley
They say when you know better, you do better. If you are under 30 and reading this and you're not sure if you want kids, ever, or you are busy changing the world, consider freezing your eggs. If you are in your early 30's, just remember time waits for no (wo)man. If you are like me in your late 30's, take charge and be proactive about your fertility journey. That is the best advice I have ever been given and I hope it serves you well too. Gook luck!