Desire To Have Children - Age Plays A Role

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Desire To Have Children - Age Plays A Role
Desire To Have Children - Age Plays A Role

Video: Desire To Have Children - Age Plays A Role

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Desire for children: age plays a role

In the western world there is an increasing trend towards late first motherhood. One in seven babies is currently born to a woman over 35 years of age. However, fertility begins to decline slowly in young women from around the age of 26 - regardless of physical fitness and despite increasing life expectancy. So as you get older, it becomes more difficult to have a baby, both naturally and through artificial insemination. The main cause of the decline in fertility is because the number of egg cells is continuously decreasing. This fact should be taken into account when planning a family.

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The average age of first-time mothers is increasing rapidly - by one year every three years. It is currently 30 years. A main reason for this development is to be found in a strongly changed image of women. Important arguments why women are increasingly postponing their birth planning to later years include longer training periods and greater professional commitment. An essential reason, however, is an overestimation of one's own fertility. It is wrongly assumed that physical fitness correlates with fertility and that the fertile phase increases in parallel with increasing life expectancy. Cases of successful late pregnancies also contribute to this misjudgment. It is usually not questioned whether it is natural or artificial,with own or donor eggs.

What are the causes of falling fertility?

In fact, fertility begins to decline in early adulthood - from around 26 years of age. For example, the chances of pregnancy per year for women under 25 years of age are 90 percent, for 24 to 35 year olds 70 percent and for 35 to 40 year olds only 20 percent.

In principle, egg-dependent and egg-independent factors are held responsible for the decreasing fertility.

Egg-independent factors: fertility can generally be impaired by the general state of health and various diseases. These include, for example, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic and abdominal diseases and tumors. Surgery, radiation or chemotherapy can also have negative effects on fertility.

Egg-dependent factors: The destruction of egg cells is a continuous process that begins in the female fetus in the womb. There are around a million egg cells at birth, and only around half of them by the first menstruation. Over the years, the egg reserve is gradually emptied. A woman around 35 years old only has around 25,000 egg follicles; with the onset of menopause this pool has shrunk to around 1,000. Age not only affects the number but also the quality of egg cells. With increasing years, both chromosome changes and spontaneous abortions increase. The rate of live births is also falling in artificially fertilized women - from the age of 45 onwards it is only in the one percent range on average.

For more information, see Causes of Unfulfilled Desire for Children.

Measurement of the egg reserve

One possibility for women to have their personal egg reserve determined is to measure the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH). In sexually mature women, this hormone is produced in the growing egg cells in the ovary. There is a direct relationship between the AMH level in the blood and the number of egg cells that can mature:

Decreased blood levels indicate impaired functional reserve and poor response to ovarian stimulation prior to planned in vitro fertilization. Increased values ​​can be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS syndrome). This is one of the most common causes of an unfulfilled desire to have children. With this disease, many small cysts, called follicles, form. However, these do not mature, but rather wither, and male hormones appear in the woman's body.

Thanks to a special interpretation method, the informative value is not limited to the current time of the AMH test. It can also be used to predict how the chances of spontaneous pregnancy will develop in the future. The test can be a helpful instrument for family planning in a natural, but also artificial way, in conjunction with individual circumstances such as the presence of illnesses, family history, private and professional situation, age of both partners, etc. Further information can also be found under Causes of an unfulfilled desire to have children.

Whom can I ask?

If you have an unfulfilled desire to have children or for individual family planning, you can contact the following institutions:

  • Specialist in gynecology and obstetrics,
  • Fertility Institute.

How are the costs covered?

Gynecological examinations are taken over by the social security agencies. You have to pay for the AMH level test yourself.

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