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Getting Pregnant in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s

Eric A. Widra, M.D., Medical Director of SGF
Eric A. Widra, M.D., Medical Director of SGF

Medical contribution by Eric A. Widra, M.D.,
of Shady Grove Fertility’s K Street office in Washington, D.C.

Featured in their June 2015 issue, Parents magazine interviewed Dr. Widra, medical director of Shady Grove Fertility, for the comprehensive “What to Know about Infertility in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s” examining fertility in your 20s, 30s, and 40s—including potential obstacles and ways to boost your fertility.

Getting Pregnant in Your 20s

From a biological perspective, your 20s getting pregnant in your 20srepresent the decade in which you have the greatest fertility potential. You have the highest chance of getting pregnant naturally each month: 20 to 25 percent. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities is low, as is the chance of miscarriage. That being said, women in their 20s can still experience infertility. While egg quality is not usually an issue for women of this age, it is possible that a woman could have a decreased ovarian reserve (egg supply), issues with the fallopian tubes, or a male partner with a low sperm count.

  • Pregnancy Risks in Your 20s
    Women having their first pregnancies have a higher risk of developing preeclampsia, which is when a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and protein in her urine. While manageable, this can sometimes lead to serious complications. The Parents article also discusses how many women in their 20s may not feel ready for children yet from a social or financial viewpoint.
  • Ways to Boost Fertility
    Younger women may still have bad habits from their high school or college days. It’s important to maintain a normal BMI, intake the proper nutrients, and limit alcohol and caffeine if you are trying to become pregnant. Smoking is a definite no-no for anyone trying to conceive. Prepare Your Body for a Healthy Pregnancy
  • When to Seek Treatment
    For women in their 20s, Shady Grove Fertility recommends women try to conceive for 1 year before seeking the help of a fertility specialist. However, if there are known fertility factors present, a fertility specialist should be consulted sooner. “In fact, if you aren’t getting your period at all or if your cycles are longer than every 35 days, seek help immediately,” says Dr. Widra. “Talk to your doctor if you have a family history of early menopause or a known history of pelvic abnormalities, sexual dysfunction, or any other medical conditions that might affect fertility, including your partner’s medical problems, which may affect his sperm count.”

Getting Pregnant in Your 30s

getting pregnant in your 30s

A woman in her 30s has an approximately 15 to 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month. Fertility will gradually decline throughout the 30s, with the greatest decline coming after the age of 35.

  • Pregnancy Risks in Your 30s
    According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, women in their 30s have an increased risk of miscarriage because the quality and quantity of the egg supply will decrease. Women in this age range also often have greater emotional stressors because they feel an added pressure to become pregnant, often because they are afraid of having trouble conceiving.
  • Ways to Boost Fertility
    As with women in their 20s, women in their 30s should maintain a normal BMI when trying to conceive. If a woman has been on a birth control pill for over 5 years, she should also plan to stop it before trying to conceive. “The vast majority of women will revert to their historical cycle pattern and fertility as soon as they stop,” says Dr. Widra. Thus, you shouldn’t have to stop taking birth control too far in advance before trying to conceive, but you should consult with your gynecologist.
  • When to Seek Treatment
    For women between the ages of 30 and 34, they should try to conceive on their own for 1 year before coming to see a fertility specialist; women 35 and 39 should try to conceive on their own for about 6 months. If you have any of the aforementioned risk factors though (lack of menstruation, low sperm count, tubal disease), you should see a specialist sooner. Time can be more important for women in their 30s due to aging. “The real issue with aging is that the opportunity to help couples declines rapidly with age, and time becomes a more valuable commodity [for women to use their own eggs],” says Dr. Widra.

Getting Pregnant in Your 40sgetting pregnant in your 40s

A woman in her 40s has a less than 5 percent chance of becoming pregnant on her own each month. For a woman age 45 to 49, the chance of pregnancy with her own eggs becomes as low as 1 percent. But hope can exist in the form of donor egg treatment or if a woman froze her eggs at a younger age.

  •  Pregnancy Risks in Your 40s
    Due to the decline in quality and quantity of eggs, obstetrical risks increase with age, such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, chromosomal abnormalities, etc.
  • Ways to Boost Fertility
    While factors relating to age cannot be changed, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important for women in their 40s. Having a normal BMI, getting plenty of sleep each night, and limiting stress are important. Many women have found that yoga, acupuncture, exercise, and other holistic health therapies can help reduce stress and keep them healthy: mentally, physically, and spiritually. Pulling Down the Moon offers many of these holistic therapies for SGF patients and has office locations in several of our SGF offices.
  • When to Seek Treatment
    Women in their 40s have the same treatment options available to them as women in their 20s and 30s (intrauterine insemination [IUI] and in vitro fertilization [IVF] to name a few), but the chances of success go down when using their own eggs, unless they froze them at a younger age. While pregnancy with your own eggs can be possible in your early 40s, donor egg treatment may become a more important option. You will carry the child, but the egg will come from a woman in her 20s or early 30s, greatly increasing your chances of pregnancy by circumventing the biological clock. Donor Egg Treatment FAQ

For women in their 40s, Shady Grove Fertility recommends seeing a fertility specialist after 3 months of trying to conceive, or sooner, to have diagnostic testing performed.

group of womenNo matter your age, it is always important to maintain a healthy lifestyle when trying to conceive. It is also important to know when to seek help. If you are under the age of 35, you should try to conceive on your own for 1 year before seeing a specialist; for women ages 35 to 39, you should try to conceive for 6 months on your own; and for women over 40, you should see a fertility specialist after 3 months of trying to conceive or even sooner. There are treatment types available for every woman, and your Shady Grove Fertility physician will take your personal factors into consideration—age, hormone levels, medical history, and diagnostic testing results—in order to provide you with the greatest chance of pregnancy.

If you are having trouble getting pregnant, or to schedule an appointment, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.

1 Comment

  1. Holly

    October 12, 2017 - 11:34 pm

    I had problems getting pregnant due to infections, two tubes were blocked and i did series of surgeries with no positive result till a colleague gave me the contact to a Pregnancy Spell Caster whose name is Dr Philip. I did all he asked and within the space of two months I found out I was already six weeks pregnant. My advice to everyone out there is do not give up despite the doctors report. Dr Philip Spell Temple has the power to reverse the case. You can contact him on email drphilipspelltemple@gmail. com

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