As a woman ages, her eggs are more prone to genetic chromosomal abnormalities. These abnormalities may sometimes lead to increased age-related infertility, miscarriages and birth defects. The most common cause is age. When a woman is over 4o these chances are increased and it may be healthier for the child, and the mother, to use […]
At Santa Monica Fertility Clinic, we see thousands of patients each year who come in worried and stressed because parenthood hasn’t come as easily as they’d hoped. In the end, almost all of them achieve a healthy pregnancy and have a baby in their arms, thanks to the many fertility treatments that are available. However, during […]
If you are what you eat, then what you eat can definitely affect a growing fetus. Eating well before you conceive is important for keeping your body healthy and strong. Including a variety of whole foods including plenty of vegetables and fruits is one of the best ways to prepare your body. In addition, there […]
If you’re planning to become pregnant in the next few years, or are currently trying to conceive, there are several lifestyle changes you can make now that will help you create a healthier lifestyle long term. Making these changes now may also make pregnancy a much smoother transition. 7 Lifestyle changes to make before you conceive Stop […]
Do you live an ideal healthy lifestyle that you would want to see your future child or grandchild follow someday? Are you making the lifestyle choices today that you want to be making when you have a child? When couples first start to see a doctor about their plans to have a child, health and lifestyle […]
Fertility treatments have vastly improved over the past few years, which are allowing women to conceive and have healthy children, some into their 50’s.
The human egg has two main compartments; the nucleus, which contains a person’s DNA (genome – repository of hereditary information) organized into 46 chromosomes of which 23 are inherited from the mother and 23 from the father; and the cytoplasm, which surrounds the nucleus and contains all of the components needed to maintain egg viability and support reproduction. One can visualize the nucleus as the yolk of a sunny-side up egg and the cytoplasm as the egg white. To prepare for fertilization by sperm, the egg discards one member of each of its 23 chromosome pairs (23 discarded) in order to present the correct number to the sperm, which carries 23 chromosomes, the result being a fertilized egg (embryo) containing the normal human complement of 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. Discarding one member of each of the 23 chromosome pairs requires a lot of energy
A recent study published in the journal, Menopause, found that women, who had children later in life, were twice as likely to live longer lives (up to age 95). The group of older mothers was compared to a cohort who stopped having children by age 29. The average age of motherhood is increasing as more women delay family building in order to complete educational and professional goals. Egg freezing and egg donation are now allowing women to conceive and carry pregnancies safely into their mid-fifties. Since modern women in industrialized countries are living well into their 80’s, it is reassuring to know that later-in-life pregnancies do not foreshorten longevity.
Today I would like to talk to you about Ovarian Reserve. The term ovarian reserve means egg inventory, how many eggs are left in the ovary. When a woman starts menstruating as a teenager she has about 500,000 eggs in her ovaries, and over time batches of these eggs will be released every month. So by the age of 30 a woman only has 10% of her eggs left, and at age 40 she only has 3% of her eggs left. That sounds rather alarming, but the good news is fertility is still quite good when a woman is in her thirties.
Egg quality decline is the most important cause of age-related infertility. Egg quality refers to the ability of the egg to create a chromosomally normal embryo. Each egg has 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. In order for the egg to prepare for fertilization, it must discard 23 chromosomes in order to make room for the 23 chromosomes brought by the sperm. Failure to correctly discard 23 chromosomes leads to a an embryo with the wrong number of chromosomes, medically referred to as aneuploidy.
There is no test for egg quality, but we know it to be closely correlated to age. For example women in their 20’s have a 20% chance of having a live birth with each month of timed intercourse, a rate that drops