Many people think planning for a baby should start after you’ve learned you’re expecting, but really the planning should begin before you’re even expecting.
“We always want women to think about their age when it comes to fertility,” says Dr. McCarthy-Keith. “For men, if the testicles are functioning properly, they will produce brand new sperm every 72 days, usually into their 50s, 60s and 70s sometimes. But for women, we’re born with all the eggs we’ll ever have. From birth on, egg count starts to decline. Once we get into the 30s, mid-30s, that process really accelerates.”
One reason fertility declines as maternal age increases is because women are less likely to ovulate regularly as they age. In addition, they are more likely to have medical problems that can cause infertility. However, the most important reason relates to the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs. As the eggs age, they become more resistant to fertilization, resulting in lower pregnancy rates. Also, more of the eggs also tend to have chromosomal abnormalities, making miscarriage more likely.
“While age is the biggest factor of fertility, infertility can affect both men and women at any age, which is why we encourage people to find other ways to boost their fertility naturally by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, eliminating smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption,” adds Dr. McCarthy-Keith
If you are trying to conceive without success, it’s important not to wait to see a fertility specialist. “A lot of people think coming to a fertility office means you’re committed to big, invasive and expensive treatment, and that’s not always the case,” Dr. McCarthy-Keith said. At SGF, we take a stepped approach care to treatment, starting with the basic, most affordable options first, before moving on to more high-tech treatment.
The recommended guidelines for when to see a fertility specialist are to try on your own to get pregnant for a year if you are 35 or younger, 6 months if you are between the ages of 35 and 39, and 3 months if you are 40 and over. There are also some warning signs that signal the need to see a fertility specialist sooner that you should be aware of. A fertility specialist will provide you with an individualized treatment approach based on simple diagnostic testing that will allow him/her to determine the cause of your infertility.
To learn more about your fertility or to schedule an appointment with Dr. McCarthy-Keith or another physician at one of Shady Grove Fertility Atlanta’s three locations in Atlanta-Northside, Alpharetta, or Buckhead-Piedmont, please contact our New Patient Center at 1-877-971-7755 or click here to complete this brief online form.