Despite more women choosing to start a family later in life, unfortunately, biology hasn’t caught up with the times. In fact, Dr Joe says there’s a decline from around the age of 30.
“Below 30 the chance of conception is around 20-25 per cent per month. By 35, that it is around 17 per cent per month and by 40, around 8-10 per cent per month,” he says.
Another blow is that becoming a mum over 35 means more risks, though it ultimately depends on any underlying medical conditions the woman has.
“Mothers over the age of 35 have an increased chance of pregnancy related diabetes and high blood pressure. This can sometimes lead to babies smaller and larger than average.”
But it’s not all bad news – babies born to mothers over the age of 35 have better neurodevelopment outcomes. So we can expect a brainy royal baby!
Generally speaking, no fertility treatment is required once a woman hits 35. But if you and your partner have been trying for six months, that’s when you should go to your GP and be referred to a fertility specialist.
So what does an expert like Dr Joe think about the conception of the royal baby, natural or was there some medical help?
“It would be too difficult to speculate on this – her pregnancy should be celebrated and the journey to get there not scrutinised,” he says.
“That said, assuming as a newly married couple they were having timed sexual intercourse around ovulation and that the sperm met the egg, then natural conception would have been the likely result.”
Of course, it’s important to be physically, financially and emotionally ready, should you want to conceive a child. But Dr Joe also says that things do start to slow down with age, with the chances of natural conception dropping rapidly after 40. That’s why many women resort to IVF.
Depending on health, women can become mums older than you may think.
“If a woman had no medical conditions that might impact on her own health or that of a developing baby then accessing donor eggs up until the age of 52 is reasonable – remembering the child will have older parents and the impacts that may have on them later in life,” says Dr Joe.
Many couples who struggle to fall pregnant assume it’s out of their hands. What they may not know is that sometimes a strategic change in diet, lifestyle and outlook can make all the difference.
In fact, according to the Fertility Society of Australia, one third of people aged 30-39 have lifestyle habits which may be impacting on their fertility, including excessive drinking, smoking and weight problems.
“Our bodies reproduce when we’re in a prime state of health,” explains Reine Du Bois, a naturopath based in Byron Bay, “so that’s why when we’re younger we’re more likely to get pregnant because our livers are younger, our kidneys are younger, our blood is cleaner. It’s not just about the ovaries, it’s about our overall health and as we get older we also take on more and become more stressed and nutrient depleted.”
It’s fantastic that we’ve got the IVF option but women should try correcting their nutrient status before they go down that path. What’s more, your chances of pregnancy with IVF are far greater than if you go in smoking and drinking, with a toxic liver, acidic blood and hostile mucus. It makes good sense to invest that time and money, whether you go IVF or naturally.
(Text: Alex Lilly, bauersybdication.com.au / Additional reporting: Natalya Molok)