Couples and individuals trying to get pregnant are often caught off-guard when fertility issues arise. Infertility is defined as unsuccessfully “trying for one year” to get pregnant for women under 35 but six months of trying for those over 35.
Infertility is highly stressful. It also makes many turn to assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) (retrieval and fertilization of a woman’s eggs outside the womb). However, concerns over affordability usually compound their stress along with IVF success rates that don’t necessarily guarantee a pregnancy.
Age is a crucial factor
Fertility experts say the best chance for IVF success is for women 24 to 34 years old, as that range is considered to be when women are most fertile. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) says IVF success rates decline rapidly after a woman turns 35. According to SART, the percentages look like this:
- 35 or younger: 51%
- 35 to 37: 38.3%
- 38 to 40: 25.1%
- 41 to 42: 12.7%
- Over 42: 4.1%
However, fertility doctors say each person is different, and while age is a major factor, it’s not the only one.
Symptoms of infertility
The Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota cites several conditions and circumstances that can affect fertility regardless of age. Many problems stem from underlying issues, such as:
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Physical abnormalities of the uterus
- Conditions that affect ovulation
- Problems with sperm quality
- Environmental factors, such as smoking, drinking or exposure to toxic substances
Reproductive endocrinologists can address many of these issues through IVF, intrauterine insemination or medications that boost ovulation.
Seeking expert advice for assessing IVF
The data above can be discouraging. But the truth is that each situation differs when it comes to diagnosing infertility and how to proceed. On the medical side, the best way to prepare is to take good care of yourself, eat right, avoid alcohol and tobacco and get proper sleep.
Stress is believed to be a major factor in IVF outcomes, so getting all the facts from those trained in assisted reproductive technology (ART) on the medical side is crucial. It’s also advisable to get experienced legal guidance since laws involving future rights to stored embryos and parentage in cases in which a donor or surrogate is used are vague regarding ART. Lawyers specializing in this field can help alleviate this added source of stress allowing you to focus on your physical and medical needs.