If you’re looking to start a family, you’ve probably wondered about fertility. If you’re not ready now, but you wonder if you’ll be able to conceive in the future, you’ve probably at least heard a thing or two about it through the grapevine. But are our common beliefs really true? We decided to take those burning questions– the things we’ve read, the things we’ve heard– to the expert. Dr Angie Beltsos of Fertility Centers of Illinois shares her insights below:
LHC: True or false: Fertility is preserved into our late 30s & 40s?
Dr B: As women age, their eggs actually age twice as fast as they do, and as we hit our mid-thirties, a lot of the eggs aren’t as strong. So age really has an incredible negative effect particularly as women hit about thirty five to forty is when the floor starts to really drop and forty there’s a significant drop.
LHC: As long as you’re mostly healthy, a few unhealthy habits won’t hurt your fertility, right?
Dr. B: Some of these lifestyle choices that we have can negatively affect our ability to get pregnant because what smoking can do is really shatter the eggs that you do have and create the aging process to occur much more rapidly. Another lifestyle choice is diet and exercise because women who are overweight or underweight can have trouble with their hormone balance. If it’s off, even by a little bit, sometimes the rythym of ovulation can get off enough and if you don’t ovulate and release an egg.
LHC: Infertility is uncommon, correct?
Dr. B: About 10 to 20 percent of couples will struggle with fertility and one in three couples as they age can experience infertility as they get closer to 40.
LHC: If there are infertility issues, it’s a woman’s fault.
Dr. B: It does take two to tango. So about half of the time, it can actually involve the male.
For Dr. Beltsos’ full answers, see video below: