Age and Female Fertility

The single most important factor influencing your chance of conceiving is a woman’s age.

Once you turn 36, your chance of conceiving naturally is halved compared to your chance at 20 years of age. At the age of 41, this chance falls to just 4%. That’s the success rate for couples per month of trying when the female is aged 41 to 42.

Get the facts on fertility

The decline of fertility overtime

The reason that women in their late 30's and 40's have a lower chance of conceiving is that the number of healthy eggs you produce rapidly declines as you get older, especially after the age of 36. The number of eggs available to go through the maturing process will be lower still if you experience premature menopause, or need to undertake chemotherapy treatment.

Risk of miscarriage increases with age

As you get older, your cells start to divide abnormally and may distribute unequal amounts of genetic material – causing an increased chance of genetic abnormality. Unfortunately, this means that for older women it’s not just more difficult to fall pregnant, there is also a greater risk of miscarriage, and of giving birth to a baby with a genetic abnormality such as Down’s Syndrome.

Assisted conception can help

The good news is that with advances in reproductive technology, including IVF and other forms of assisted conception, you can improve your chances of conceiving and carrying a child. Here are a few examples – visit our Fertility Services pages to find out more.

IVF

If you use IVF or other assisted reproductive technology, you can increase your chances of falling pregnant. If you are aged 36 to 40, your chance of falling pregnant with IVF is 35%, compared with 10% if trying to conceive naturally.

Genetic testing

Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) is a method of testing embryos for specific genetic and chromosomal abnormalities before implantation. We can also select the embryo with the greatest chance of pregnancy success.

Fertility preservation

A woman’s most fertile years are when she is in her 20s and early 30s. It is now possible to store unfertilised eggs for use in the future, using egg freezing. For women who are not in a position to become pregnant, or whose fertility is at risk due to serious illness, this relatively new technique offers the potential to have a family later in life.