Even though in many schools there’s sexual education, the level of these classes is often not enough. There are things about women’s fertility which you will most probably not learn at sex education. Here are the 5 most important things you should know.
1. There is a natural decline of the ovarian reserve within time
We all know that the biological clock is ticking. In the case of ovarian reserve (number of eggs), it is important to know that we are born with all the eggs that we will have for our whole life. Therefore, the clock ticks a bit faster than any other. At birth, a baby girl has between 1-2 million immature eggs. When a girl reaches puberty, the amount comes down to about 400,000 and when a woman is 50 years old, she has lost most of them. So, a woman has the best chances of getting pregnant successfully before she is 35 years old.
2. Maternal age and egg quality: the age of your eggs matters
The more advanced maternal age is, higher are the chances that there are chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo, which often lead to birth defects and miscarriages. Women at the age of 23 have about one in two healthy eggs. At 35, the number is already decreased to one in five and at the age of 40 it’s one in ten.
That is why older women have higher chances of giving birth to babies with Down syndrome or other diseases, or experience miscarriage or biochemical pregnancies. If you’re considering freezing your eggs, we would recommend you to do it before you are 35 years old, as it is known that the likelihood of having a successful outcome (baby born) out of the eggs frozen will be much higher if you do it when your eggs are still young and have good quality.
3. Egg freezing is not as straightforward as it might seem
The main problem with egg freezing is that there is a lack of awareness in the young female population about the natural fertility decline. On the other hand, there is a global social tendency to pospone motherhood, and therefore, most women who consider fertility preservation do it around the age of 35-37 or later.
The likelihood of success of a fertility preservation treatment will mainly depend on the number of eggs collected and the quality of those eggs, which mainly will also depend on the age of the female.
The most important thing about egg freezing to remember is the fact that it doesn’t guarantee you a pregnancy. Even if you are 20 years old and you freeze your eggs you do not have the certainty that you will become pregnant and have a baby.
4. Ovarian reserves
The ovarian reserve is the main tool that fertility doctors use to determine your prognosis with the treatment, and decide what protocol and dose of medication would be the best to use in your case. This evaluation includes a blood test (AMH) and a vaginal ultrasound (Antral Follicular Count).
The best moment to do the ultrasound is during your period. If you are taking oral contraceptive pills, it might be more difficult to make an accurate count and the antral folliclular count might be underestimated.
Remember that this evaluation will only help in revealing the quantity of your eggs not their quality. Furthermore a low ovarian reserve result does not mean that you won’t get pregnant.
5. Don’t postpone on fertility
If you are not ready to consider motherhood at that moment in your life, but you consider the possibility of having kids in the future, the best thing you can do is check your ovarian reserve and discuss your fertility options with your gynecologist.