According the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, infertility affects near 12% of reproductive-age women in the United States. Part of this number is due to a cultural trend of women delaying childbearing. In fact, one in five women in the United States now has her first child after age 35. This is an eightfold increase over the number a generation ago. Although it is very well documented that a woman’s fertility does decline with age, a recent study showed that many women had misconceptions about their own fertility.
In the study, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco interviewed women from 61 families who conceived and delivered children via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), after age 40. Nearly half of the women interviewed reported that they were shocked to discover that they needed fertility treatments to become pregnant. The study was published online November 30 in The Journal Of Human Reproduction and reported that many of the women in the study did not have a clear understanding about at what age fertility begins to decline. Very few participants in the study had ever considered the possibility that they would need IVF. The study also probed into why the study participants held mistaken beliefs about fertility. Twenty-eight percent of participants said that incorrect information from friends, family members and the media had reinforced the idea that older women could easily become pregnant. It is easy to understand as you look at the number of famous actresses and celebrities who are having babies after the age of forty. However, we are not always aware of the steps that had to be taken in order for these women to become pregnant.
If you are over the age of 35 and are struggling from infertility, there are many things you can do to increase your chances of becoming pregnant. However, before initiating any type of fertility treatment, it is important to visit your OBGYN for a complete examination and medical and family history. This can help to pinpoint the cause of your infertility and to rule out any other, more serious medical conditions.