Egg quality and female age
Do not wait too long to have children!
The woman's fertility and ability to have children depends largely on the quality of the eggs she has in her ovaries. The woman's age has a crucial importance for egg quality. This fact cannot be emphasized enough. Studies have shown that the ability to have children for women aged 36 are only half as good as in women who are 20 years of age. For women of 39 years of age, chances are further halved compared to the 36-year-old. In some cases, egg quality is better than expected from the woman's age, but in some cases unfortunately worse.
We know this:
- A 20-year-old has twice as good eggs as the 36-year-old
- A 36-year-old has twice as good eggs as the 39-year-old
- A 39-year-old has twice as good eggs as the 41-year-old
After 41 years the egg quality declines rapidly.
When the woman is over 37 years old, reduced egg quality is often a contributing factor, when it is difficult to become pregnant. Therefore, it is likely that for some couples infertility is solely due to the quality of the woman's egg. In these women, the treatment results unfortunately are not as good as the results in woman with good egg quality.
Using a blood test, we examine two hormones, FSH and AMH, which can provide important information about egg quality.
Read more about FSH and AMH.
By ultrasound, the number of small follicles, "antral follicles" can be examined. The number of small follicles (AFC) gives an estimate of the number of follicles that can be stimulated to mature with hormone stimulation. If the AFC is low, it means that the woman's egg reserve is reduced. If the AFC is very high, the woman may have PCOS.
A final way to assess ovarian capacity is to stimulate the ovaries with FSH hormone and then observe how they react and how many follicles that develop at a given dose.
Want to know more?
If you want to understand more about the impact of age on fertility call us or book a consultation.