Conceiving children or reproductive health are subjects we don’t usually put much thought into when we step into our twenties. Building a career, finishing up studies, chasing exciting dreams are the top priorities for most twenty-year-olds. But more and more women now are struggling with fertility challenges in their later life. So, it’s important to know that your future fertility also depends on your early lifestyle choices, your awareness, and measures you take to avoid or prevent prohibitive fertility factors.
Age can play a vital role in your reproductive health. So here are 8 fertility facts that you should know in your 20s:
- There is a gradual decline in fertility with age, particularly for women. Most women experience peak fertility between 23-26 years of age.
The eggs released during the 20s are also relatively young and less exposed to environmental factors. However, this doesn’t mean that women become infertile once they reach thirty. You can still enjoy a complication-free pregnancy post-thirty if you look after your reproductive health.
- Lifestyle choices have an impact on both male and female fertility.
Two lifestyle factors that have been proven to damage fertility over time are obesity and smoking. Nicotine can be toxic to our cells and affect both sperm and egg health. Chronic stress can also contribute significantly to poor fertility in later life.
- Contraception is not the solution to hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, and acne.
Hormonal balance and healthy menstrual cycles are important if you wish to get pregnant. While contraceptive pills may produce temporary results, they don’t address or treat the underlying problem causing the imbalance. Additionally, it makes you dependent on the drugs to keep your hormonal issues under control.
- The chances of failed pregnancies, infertility, and miscarriages rise significantly in your late 30s and 40s.
Though women don’t usually stop ovulating after 35, the eggs that are produced are of poorer quality. So, such eggs implant less easily and carry a much greater risk of miscarriages and abnormalities. If you are planning on a late pregnancy, prepare yourself for the complications and challenges that you might face.
- Fertility issues are not to be taken lightly. Women with PCOS, endometriosis or premature ovarian failure should try conceiving early.
If you experience hormonal imbalances or symptoms of an endocrine disorder like PCOS, you should start addressing it as soon as possible. If your female family members have a history of undergoing early menopause, you may also be at risk of suffering from premature ovarian failure. It’s optimal to start trying from your 20s in such cases or to look at egg preservation options.
- Getting pregnant is a tricky business and might take more time than you expect. Don’t panic or rush to fertility clinics if you don’t conceive right away.
On an average, it takes around 5-6 months of trying to get pregnant if you are in your 20s. But it’s not unnatural to have to try for 10 months to one year. The chances of a healthy couple to conceive naturally in a year are 80%. Older women with fertility issue may consult a doctor after trying for 6-8 months.
- Missing a period or two does not immediately mean that you are pregnant or suffering from infertility.
Irregular periods are more common than you think, and they might be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, obesity, weight loss, poor diet or new medications. Only if you start missing periods regularly or for long durations do you need to consult a doctor.
- IVF is neither a foolproof solution to infertility nor is it always necessary.
Currently, there are some serious misconceptions about IVF treatment. IVF might be the most popular ART procedure right now, but it doesn’t guarantee results. So, you shouldn’t put off a pregnancy in your 20s and early 30s simply relying on IVF.
IVF is also at times unnecessarily suggested by clinics to couples who don’t need it and who can be better treated by other options.