How Age Affects A Man and a Woman’s Fertility

Ineh Olisah

You’ve often heard, “my biological clock is ticking,” but in Tina Turner’s voice, you wonder, “what’s age got to do…got to do with it? Keep on reading to find out how age affect a man and a woman’s fertility.

Which Came First: Woman or Egg
The answer is neither. They both arrived at the same time. According to the experts at, women are born with all their eggs. They don’t produce new eggs as time unfolds. These eggs don’t age like wine, they age like flesh. This means that they reduce in quality and quantity as the woman gets older.

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Time And Chance
According to experts, women are more likely to get pregnant in their early to mid 20s. This is the age their fertility is at its peak. As they approach their late 20s and early 30s, chances of conceiving starts to drop slowly. It was believed that the rate at which the woman’s eggs age and decrease in number and virility increases at 35 but more recent study shows this happens in their late 30s.
From 40 years and on, the chances of getting a baby bump is very low. In fact, fertility levels are about 50 percent less than what it was at the early 20s.

The Devil and the Details
The reason why it gets more difficult to conceive as the woman gets older has been established. Their bodies are obeying the natural law that whatever goes up must come down and time. As women age, they start to experience irregular menstrual cycles. Coupled with the decreasing number and strength of the eggs, the chances of getting pregnant per cycle obviously reduces.
Even chances of successful in vitro fertilisation using the women’s egg drops as the woman passes 35 years. As a result, we see women who are above 37 years old asking for donation of eggs from younger women.

The Effect
They will have to try conceiving for longer periods before succeeding. Sadly, though, it turns out that there is an increase in the chances of having miscarriages or still births with older women. If they go ahead and get pregnant, they may have babies with developmental problems and these might come with assisted child delivery like Cesarean operations.

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Gender Equality Issues
We’ve been going on like it’s only the female folk that should worry about if and how age affects their chances of getting babies but experts say the men are also affected. The difference is that for men, it comes a lot later in life. While women have little or nothing to worry about until they are in their mid to late 30s, men can still rock on till they are in their 50s before issues with their fertility starts to set in.
Nevertheless, “paternal age effect” on the health of the baby increases as men enter their late 30s. This, according to experts is because, spermatogenesis increases as men get older and this causes mutations in the sperm. These mutations, according to research, cause babies to come out with disorders like autism, schizophrenia and other impaired developments or worse, as stillbirths.

The But? Older Women are More Likely to Conceive Twins
You know there’s always going to be a “but”. It’s interesting to note that as women age past 35, there is an increase in the hormone that causes the release of the egg for conception. This increase in the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is as a result in the decrease of the number of eggs. The implication of this is that the follicles get high on FSH and may release more than one egg causing the woman to conceive a set of (unidentical) twins.
Isn’t it interesting that though it may take longer to get pregnant as you get older, when you conceive, you are also more likely to conceive twins? This may put to rest your worries of getting more babies, right?

READ ALSO:5 Things To Do When You Are Trying To Conceive

The Conclusion
So while women worry about how long it takes and their chances of getting pregnant with healthy babies as they age, men should worry about passing on those mutations to their children or complications during child birth. It should be understood that with women, they might have to have frequent unprotected sex for a longer time (between 6 months and 3 years) before getting pregnant; “might” being the operative word. It takes longer periods as they age. Total infertility only comes with menopause.
Men on the other hand can get women pregnant throughout their lives as long as they have the energy to have sex. While some women arrive at menopause earlier than others, not all men have those mutant sperms.



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