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When is it “too late” to get pregnant?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Reproductive Law

Broadly speaking, men are capable of fathering children all of their adult lives. However, there’s no escaping the fact that a woman’s age can be limiting when it comes to her fertility options.

However, new research challenges the conventional wisdom that “35 is the limit,” and that women over that age face an uphill battle for conception.

What’s true about female fertility – and what is not

First, 35 is just a number. Every woman’s situation is different. Some women experience health issues and see a fertility decline in their 20s and early 30s. Other women remain blessedly fertile well into their 40s.

However, the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs do start to decline around that age – but that doesn’t mean pregnancy is impossible. While a younger woman might be considered to have fertility issues after a year of unprotected sex without conception, studies indicate that half of women in their late 30s will still conceive naturally within two years of trying.

But what about the rest? Well, there’s a lot of good news there. In 2020, the available data says that slightly over 40% of egg retrievals as part of assisted reproduction involving women 35-37 led to successful pregnancies. 

That number does drop off significantly, to just 26.9% success rates for women 38-40, and 9.3% success rates for women over 40. Yet, even that’s not the whole story – because those numbers reflect the odds of success per cycle. Women under 40 generally see a successful pregnancy 68% of the time within six attempts. 

What does that mean? Well, while every year may count when it comes to female fertility, assisted reproduction has broadened the possibilities for many. If you are considering this route in a response to your own fertility issues, legal guidance can make the process much easier.