What is advanced maternal age?
Many women ask our Dallas fertility specialists what advanced maternal age means. This term refers to a woman who is 35 or older. It might seem surprising because 35 isn’t old at all. However, a woman’s eggs age much faster than the rest of her body. This fact means that it may be more difficult for a woman to conceive in her late-30s and 40s. Thankfully, our Dallas fertility specialists offer treatments to help dreams of motherhood come true.
Understanding advanced maternal age
A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have, which is one to two million. This number gradually decreases until a woman reaches the age of 32. At this point, the decline is more rapid. Then, at the age of 37, the woman tends to experience an even faster decline in egg quality and quantity. However, each woman is different, so one may experience this decline earlier and another may experience it later in life.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends that women of advanced maternal age (35 and over) visit a fertility specialist after six months of trying to conceive without success. Because time is of the essence, our Dallas fertility specialists follow this recommendation and work hard to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and develop a highly effective individualized treatment plan.
Treatments for advanced maternal age
Although the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs decrease over time, the other parts of her body, including her uterus, age much slower. This means that most women of advanced maternal age are perfectly capable of carrying a pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby.
Our Dallas fertility specialists work with each patient to diagnose the exact cause of her infertility. In addition to taking a medical and family history, the physician will order ovarian reserve testing to determine approximately how many eggs a woman has in her ovaries. This test provides valuable information about a woman’s fertility potential and helps her physician develop the best fertility treatment plan for her.
In most cases, our Dallas fertility specialists recommend in vitro fertilization (IVF) for women of advanced maternal age. This process requires the woman to take medications for ovarian stimulation and undergo an outpatient egg retrieval procedure. In the lab, the embryologist will combine the eggs with sperm from the woman’s partner or her selected sperm donor and monitor them for fertilization and proper embryo growth. The physician will then transfer one healthy embryo to the woman’s uterus and monitor her for pregnancy.
In some cases, a woman of advanced maternal age may not have enough high-quality eggs to achieve pregnancy without help from IVF with donor eggs. In this case, the woman will visit our Dallas fertility specialists and they will perform an IVF cycle using eggs from a healthy donor. The donor can be anonymous or someone the patient knows. This procedure has high pregnancy success rates for women.
Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our Dallas fertility specialists and learn more about treatments for advanced maternal age. Don’t give up on becoming a mother.