Reproductive Age

The general reproductive age for women spans the years between puberty and menopause. But the best reproductive age for a woman to conceive depends on several factors. Learn about ideal reproductive age and age-related considerations for pregnancy.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT

Reproductive Age
Reproductive Age
When does a woman become fertile?

Strange as it may sound, a girl baby is born with all the eggs she will have in her entire life, which is close to about two million. Around 12-13 years, a girl attains puberty which marks her first menstruation. With puberty, the first mature egg is released from her ovary into her reproductive tract in a process called ovulation. In each of her subsequent menstrual cycles which are usually 28-32 days apart, one egg is released. The menstrual cycles continue month after month until menopause, that is, the stopping of ovulation which happens around 50 years of age. Hence, physiologically, the fertile age of women is the years between menstruation and menopause, that is, approximately between 12 to 50 years.

What is the ideal reproductive age?

Studies suggest that the ideal reproductive age for women is between 25 – 35 years. Young girls who have not reached 20 may not be emotionally and physically stronger to bear the challenges of raising a baby. It is not a strict no to get pregnant for women between 20-25 years except for factors like ability to handle relationships, financial independence and career. In fact, the chances of getting pregnant are the most high between ages 20-24. Holistically, 25-35 years spans the ideal childbearing ages. Post 35 years, the risks of conception and pregnancy begins to increase.

What are the age-related factors to be considered when planning for pregnancy?

Fertility: Even though fertility differs from woman to woman, the reproductive ability in general decreases with age. The chance of conception at 20 is certainly higher than at 40.

Family history: If you have a genetic history of late conception or reproductive issues, it is a better idea to plan for pregnancy in the 20s than in the 30s.

Financial security: Childrearing comes along with its share of financial responsibilities. If you are in your early 20s and may need a few years to financially stabilize or save up for the child, you must spend some planning in it.

Emotional maturity: Raising a family demands a certain level of patience and emotional maturity. As these are characteristics which come with age and experience, it should be given a thought too.

What are the fertility risks associated with increasing age?

·         The number of eggs in a woman’s ovaries keeps decreasing with age. On an average, a 37-year old woman will have only 25000 eggs which by age 50 will come down to 1000. Hence, the rate of conception goes down with age.

·         Likewise, the quality of eggs is said to deteriorate with age. The best genetic pool of genes in the egg cells is present within the ideal reproductive ages. Older the woman after 35 years, higher is the chance for chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.

·         Hormones play an important role in the reproductive health of a woman. With increase in age and nearing of menopause, hormonal abnormalities begin to show up which may cause conception and pregnancy-related risks.

What are the pregnancy complications associated with increasing age?

Pregnancy in women above 35 years of age may carry the following risks:

·         Miscarriage

·         Premature birth

·         Stillbirth

·         High blood pressure

·         Gestational diabetes

·         Placenta previa

·         Preeclampsia

 

Each of our lives is unique. We cannot plan for a baby solely based on our reproductive age. While it is important to take into account a multitude of life situations, it is also important not to be in too much hurry or too much delay to get pregnant. 

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