Dr. Shayne Plosker, who sees patients in SGF’s Brandon, FL office, joined ABC’s The Morning Blend to answer questions related to age and how it can impact a woman’s fertility. Watch the full clip below.
Host: This is something we talk about a lot on our show behind the scenes. My co-host, Carly, is out on maternity leave and I was in my mid-thirties when I had a child. I have friends who are in their forties now. As you get older, it seems like unless you’re there, you don’t know how hard it can be to get pregnant.
Dr. Plosker: I think a lot of folks are planning their careers, getting ahead, maybe haven’t met their partner just yet. All of a sudden, they are in their mid-thirties, late-thirties, even early forties and decide, “I would like to have my family now.”
Host: And women start realizing that getting pregnant is more difficult than they thought.
Dr. Plosker: Absolutely. It’s important to be aware or understand that there are plenty of women who get pregnant without any difficulties, even in their mid-thirties and early forties. But it’s a little bit like roulette. It’s a difficult fact of life to wrap your arms around, but as we get older, our biology starts to decline. A lot of people feel great in their mid-to-late thirties and early forties, but don’t realize that the biological clock is still ticking away.
Host: When does advanced maternal age begin and when do women have to start worrying about it?
Dr. Plosker: The clock starts around age 33 or so. If you look at the likelihood of getting pregnant at age 25 right through to age 33, probably not different. And then around that time is when things start to decline. I think that decline is much more meaningful beyond age 35 and starts to accelerate from there.
Host: If people out there are trying to get pregnant and it isn’t happening, where can they go for help?
Dr. Plosker: The type of physician is called a reproductive endocrinologist. We are physicians who are trained initially as obstetrician-gynecologists and had additional training to specialize in infertility treatments including in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Host: Is age the only factor or are there multiple other factors that contribute to infertility?
Dr. Plosker: Every woman is different, but age is the most significant factor. The number of eggs decline with age. A woman is born with as many eggs as she’s ever going to have and from birth until menopause, there’s an ongoing loss of eggs. The other issue that comes up is the quality of the eggs decline.
Interestingly enough, the rest of the reproductive system very often seems to function perfectly well. For example, a lot of women in their forties are able to get pregnant using eggs from an egg donor because the uterus and rest of the reproductive system is able to function just fine.
Host: Can complications arise from carrying a child at advanced maternal age?
Dr. Plosker: There are concerns. As women get older, there’s a higher risk of having children with genetic abnormalities. I think the common one that people are most aware of is Down syndrome. From a genetic perspective, Down syndrome is having an additional 21st chromosome. That becomes more common or a greater risk as women get older, but just to keep some perspective, if you’re 40, your chance of having a baby with Down syndrome might be 1 in 80. If you’re 25, it’s maybe 1 in 1,300. It’s higher but shouldn’t scare people from trying to have a family. It’s about a 1 percent risk, so it’s not high.
If You’re Ready to Start or Grow Your Family
Use your age to empower you to take proactive steps in your family building. Women under the age of 35 who have been trying for a year (or over 35 who have been trying for 6 months), should talk with a reproductive endocrinologist. Starting earlier will leave more treatment options available to pursue and give you the best chances of success.
Shady Grove Fertility’s team of highly renowned reproductive endocrinologists are available for consultations to review medical history and advise if you need a fertility evaluation. Talking with a fertility specialist can provide you with the answers you need and help you understand why getting pregnant is taking longer than expected.
If You’re Not Ready and Want to Pause the “Biological Clock”
The best time to have a baby is an incredibly personal decision and one that takes significant thought and consideration.
Since fertility is known to decline with age, freezing your eggs now will maintain your current level of fertility. By freezing eggs at an earlier age and before there is evidence of declining ovarian reserve (quantity of eggs) or declining ovarian function (one’s ability to produce one healthy egg each month), a woman extends her fertility potential, creating a back-up option.
Looking for more information? Watch our Egg Freezing On-Demand Webinar, available for viewing at your convenience.
During our on-demand event, hosted by Shruti Malik, M.D., from SGF’s Fair Oaks, VA and Arlington, VA offices, you’ll learn about Shady Grove Fertility’s Egg Freezing Program and hear first-hand experience from Dr. Malik herself. Dr. Malik will review SGF’s simplified program, explain how we determine who makes a good candidate for egg freezing, and discuss what to expect during the egg freezing process, the success rates associated with egg freezing, and the unique SGF financial programs.
Register today to participate in this informative, free, on-demand webinar and watch now or at your own convenience.