There is no doubt that one would be able to raise a family after 30.
Unfortunately, age does matter, especially, in the domain of fertility for both women and men alike, though, on varying contexts.
Women experience a decline in fertility 30 onwards after a peak fertility period in their 20s and the decline is quite sharp at around 35
The chances of bearing a child diminish further in the 40s
The major difference between the decline in fertility amongst men and women is that in men the decline is gradual and in women, the decline is sharper in comparison
Moreover, the scope for a natural conception is pretty high in women before 35 years of age
An intricate problem that crops up in women planning a family over 35 is the chance of having a multiple pregnancy
Further, the probability of suffering a miscarriage, going into the zone of infertility and having babies with disorders increases after 35
- Research evidence has shown that there is a recent rise in the average number of women going for an in vitro fertilization.
- Studies have but shown that the success rate of in vitro fertilization using their own eggs is also low in women as they age.
Further, there are some women who go into an early menopause at 40s losing their fertility and there are others with irregular menorrhea due to problems like polycystic ovarian disease, cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancer whose chances of producing a viable egg diminish with age.
In men, while spermatogenesis (the process of sperm production in the testicles) occurs even through the 50s, there is a definite decline in both the number and quality of the sperms produced with age.
- The structure and function of the sperms in terms of motility, their capacity to effectively penetrate an egg, thus, drops down with age.
- Further, there is also a risk of simultaneous decline in the levels of testosterone with age that leads to a reduced libido (desire for sexual activity), ejaculative and erectile dysfunctions.
- Thus, while planning a family, the chance of the conception getting delayed beyond a period of twelve months rises from eight percent in the early 20s to about twelve percent in the early 30s, seventeen percent over 35 and nineteen percent in men over 40.
- Though not on absolute and definite terms, research evidence has established that the risk of a man having a baby with disorders like Down’s syndrome is more after 40 especially if the spouse is also 35+.
- Other disorders, risks include those of Schizophrenia, Autism spectrum disorders and Type 1 diabetes.
To summarize, it is earlier the better, when it comes to the question of raising a family. Thus, it is not about your biological ability but all about your biological efficiency as you age.
Source: Dunson, D.B., et al., 2001, Human Reproduction
- Beemsterboer SN, Homburg R, Gorter NA, et al. 2006. The paradox of declining fertility but increasing twinning rates with advancing maternal age. Hum Reprod 21(6):1531-2 humrep.oxfordjournals.org [pdf file, accessed April 2011]
- Carrell DT. 2013. Paternal influences on human reproductive success. Cambridge University Press
- Ford WCL, North K, Taylor H, et al. 2000. Increasing paternal age is associated with delayed conception in a large population of fertile couples: evidence for declining fecundity in older men. Hum Reprod. 15(8): 1703-8.
- Sartorius GA, Nieschlag E. 2010. Paternal age and reproduction. Hum Reprod Update. 16(1): 65-79.
- Utting D and Bewley S. 2011. Family planning and age-related reproductive risk. TOG 13:35-41.