By: Chris Barry
The desire to reproduce is innate to human nature. The intense drive to mate and make babies keeps the human race flourishing; however, our biological clocks may tick too fast for some who prefer to be as prepared as possible before having children.
Starting a family once their education and careers are in place provides parents with a better starting point for raising healthy, well-adjusted children. That being said, there are a few drawbacks to consider when deciding how long to delay parenthood.
Factors To Consider When Starting A Family
What You Need to Know About Fertility in Your 20s
Biologically, the prime time for pregnancy and childbirth is once a woman reaches her twenties. Every month a sexually active woman this age has a 20-25% chance of becoming pregnant. These odds are higher than at any other time in her life.
Some advantages to a woman of becoming a mother in her twenties are:
- Good egg quality, making fertilization more likely
- Lower chances of miscarriage
- Lower chances of chromosomal anomalies and birth defects
- Less risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia
- Younger bodies handle the demands of pregnancy better
- Better able to keep up with the energy of toddlers
- Ample time to space out the number of children in her family
What You Need to Know About Fertility in Your Thirties
The likelihood of a woman getting pregnant in her early thirties is estimated to be 15-20%. This figure decreases throughout this decade and the risk of such complications as chromosomal abnormalities, increase.
Conversely, her career may be on track, bringing more financial freedom. She may also have a larger network of friends (i.e. support system) in place. Thirty-somethings still have the strength and stamina to endure sleepless nights with a newborn and the relentlessness demands of infant care.
Babies born to mothers in their thirties are at greater risk for abnormalities. There is a 1/1000 risk of having a Down syndrome baby at age 30. By age 35, the risk changes to 1/365. The risk of having some type of chromosomal abnormality is 1/384 at age 30 and as much as 1/197 by age 35.
Conception Facts For Women in their Forties.
By age 40, experts say a woman’s chance of conceiving each month is roughly 5%. During the second half of the decade, that likelihood will drop to approximately 1%.
These women may be well-prepared psychologically and financially for the challenges of pregnancy and parenting, but must also be aware of the increased health risks of conceiving in their forties.
The risks to her baby are also higher due to the tapering quality and quantity of her eggs. Women in their forties often reach out to assisted reproductive technology to help them achieve their goal of having a healthy baby.
What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology?
For many couples who have known the heartbreak of not being able to conceive, technology such as fertility tests and treatments can level the playing field and increase their chances of having a healthy baby.
Reproductive endocrinologists specialize in evaluating the health and sexual habits of potential parents, running comprehensive tests to discover the cause of infertility while offering medical procedures that enhance the chances of conception.
Although many couples seek help after failing to conceive over a long period of time, it can be wise for people in their twenties to seek testing before they choose to have children.
If any of the following conditions exist, which often indicate infertility, fertility tests should be considered.
- Irregular or absent periods
- Heavy or painful periods
- Vision problems and clumsiness
- Excess, unwanted hair
- Loss of libido and sexual function
- Weight gain or loss (Overweight or underweight status)
- Painful sex
- Thinning hair or hair loss
- Vitamin D deficiency
One of the major techniques with assisted reproductive technologyis in-vitro fertilization. A number of healthy eggs are extracted from the woman and fertilized by sperm from the man. After three to five days in the lab dish, the resulting embryos are implanted into the uterus.
Often several embryos are implanted but only one will attach to the uterine wall and develop into a fetus. Other times twins or multiple pregnancies result. A reproductive specialist can assist couples in ways to limit the risks of this occuring.
For example, implanting two embryos may allow for a single birth or twins, but it can also decrease the chances of a pregnancy resulting at all. Medical and psychological guidance is crucial for patients seeking reproductive assistance in their quest to bring a child into the world.