Whether you have a baby on your 5 year plan or on your 15 year plan, you likely have questions about your fertility. When does the window close? How old is “too old” to have a baby?
Nothing in life likes to follow a set plan. When it comes to fertility, there is no magical date to set a reminder on your phone. However, there are some pointers and guidelines that provide general information about how long a pregnancy is possible for you.
When does fertility begin?
Once you start menstruating and ovulating, technically you can have babies even if you are mentally and physically a decade away from parenting. And despite everything our paranoia might tell us, our “fertile window” is not open every day.
Our monthly fertile window is the time during one Menstrual cycle when sexual intercourse can lead to pregnancy. Technically, this window is within the week before ovulation and on the day of ovulation each month. However, your fertile window is not predicted at exactly the same time every month.
A recent study concluded that more than 70% of women are in their fertile window before day 10 and after day 17 of their menstrual cycle.
This means that only about 30% of people were fertile between the 10th and 17th day of their cycle. Even if you think your periods are going like clockwork, your fertile window can be very different.
When does fertility end?
As mentioned earlier, there is no specific age when fertility ends for everyone. In fact, you can imagine that your fertility occurs primarily on a spectrum from less fertile to more fertile, with your peak period starting in your late teens and gradually ending in your thirties. Age is the biggest impact on your fertility when you hit the road Perimenopauseand when this happens depends heavily on hereditary factors. If you have diseases such as diabetes, these can also affect your ability to conceive.
Here are some other factors that can affect the age at which you reach menopause:
The age at which your mother reached menopause
The most important factor is when your mother’s age began menopause – you will likely experience it around the same age.
Your ethnic origin
It’s not known why, but American studies have shown that those of African American and Hispanic ancestry tend to reach menopause earlier than Caucasian women, while those of Asian (especially Japanese and Chinese) backgrounds tend to reach menopause later To reach old age.
Depending on the type and location of the cancer, some chemotherapy treatments lead to transient menopause in women. If your cycles return, you may reach menopause a few years before you otherwise have it, but you have options to discuss with your doctor.
Surgery to treat ovarian diseases like cancer can affect the age of menopause. The removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy) leads to an immediate “surgical menopause”. Of course, if your doctor presents this as an option for you, fertility is definitely a topic of conversation.
Smoking causes a variety of breathing problems, but did you know? Smoking also affects your intimate health? There is also research that suggests earlier menopause may happen – and it’s the only fertility factor you can control.
Smoking is believed to have anti-estrogenic effects on your body. If you smoked and she didn’t, you will likely reach menopause sooner than your mother. Former smokers are only slightly earlier during natural menopause than those who have never smoked. The longer the period of time since quitting, the less effective it is.
Does menopause mean the end?
Not quite! Menopause can mark the end of your period, but unfortunately you can have trouble conceiving a lot beforehand. It has to do with both the quality and the quantity of eggs.
You are born with all the eggs you will ever have – roughly a million – and that number is estimated at 25,000 to 37. And as you get older, egg quality can decrease, meaning higher rates of genetic abnormalities. Some will make you more vulnerable Miscarriage, but also occur in pregnancies that you carry through to the end.
This can all sound pretty grim, especially if people decide to wait longer to get married and become parents. Although these statistics vary widely, it is important to be prepared for the reality of our body.
Talk to your doctor about your plans early on so that you are well prepared for the future of your fertility!
We’ve covered some of the basic guidelines and indicators of your fertility window, but remember: there are always outliers. Your fertility window may of course be shorter or longer, and there are tests your doctor can use to give a rough estimate of your fertile age. But that doesn’t mean anything about your other pregnancy options, such as: IVF.
And of course there are many other avenues to parenting, such as adoption, foster care, or surrogacy.
Lane Baumeister is an international Canadian writer with years of experience creating educational and entertaining articles dealing with intimate health and sexual wellbeing. When she’s not into menstruation, she devotes herself to extremely good food and equally bad movies.