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For the Woman Trying to Conceive After 35

It's becoming more and more common for older women to want to have a baby.  Maybe this is because women are getting married at a later age. Or maybe it's because more women have decided they don't like the "empty nest syndrome."  Or it could be a couple of these factors. Whichever is true, a woman who wants to conceive after age 35 should understand that there are some challenges involved in conceiving later in life.

Some of the Challenges:
Medically speaking, the reason there is a decline in fertility after the 30s is because ovulation is not as frequent.  Women who are in their mid thirties and older often have cycles where no egg is ever released.  Also, the quality of those eggs that are released tends to decline when a woman reaches her 30s and especially her 40s.  These are a few more factors that make conception after age 35 a bit more difficult:

  • Fibroids / disorders of the uterus
  • Infection
  • Scar tissue forms around the cervix or fallopian tubes as a result of surgery
  • Decline in the amount of cervical fluid
  • Recurring / regular health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension

Also keep in mind that women from their mid thirties to mid forties have a higher chance of miscarriage--sometimes as much as a 35% higher chance.

With the odds seemingly stacked against her, how can a woman hope to conceive after age 35?  There are some things she can do to improve her odds. These include:

  • Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to discuss the  matter. A competent physician can go over your medical history with you, examine your current prescriptions and evaluate your current lifestyle.  Doing so, he / she will help you address issues that might be relevant in trying to conceive. 
  • Make sure you have completely given up smoking, alcohol and caffeine, as these will adversely affect an older woman's ability to conceive.
  • Take one of those self-tests that will screen you for fertility. These tests, available at many drug stores, will screen for important factors in both male and female fertility.
  • Remind the male partner that he's involved in this process too. The man should be counseled that, to improve the chances of conception, he should eliminate all tobacco from his life and cut back substantially on the amount of alcohol he drinks, lest he decrease his sperm count. The man should also wear loose clothing, since tight clothes could hamper the sperm.   He should also avoid hot tubs, as they've been found to hinder the effectiveness of the sperm. And finally, the male partner should also be told that he can keep his sperm counts high by limiting sexual intercourse to once every two days.
  • Stay positive.  Remember that it takes longer for women above age 35 to conceive.

    If after six months of intercourse, you still have not conceived, visit your doctor.  He / she may want to conduct a fertility test, or suggest a visit to a fertility specialist. 
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