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Fit & Proper: Is the biological clock in women a myth or reality?

These days as women are delaying pregnancy and are opting for fertility treatments because chances of natural conception decrease with age

Ritu Sethi 

Ritu Sethi
Ritu Sethi, consultant obstetrics
and gynaecology,
Columbia Asia Hospital

India is estimated to overtake China and become the youngest country by 2030. In this era of increasing urbanisation, and focusing on careers, family planning has taken a backseat.

Just as in an early age is considered risky, so is at an advanced age (above 35 years) and can lead to complications for both the mother and the child.

The is actually a reality and it is essential that all know it. A woman is born with a certain number of eggs that will last her entire reproductive life. As she grows older, so do the eggs. Older eggs have increased chances of malformation. Thus the chances of delivering malformed babies increase with the woman's age. If the risk at 25 years is 1:1500, it will increase to 1:400 at 35 years of age.

Chances of miscarriages also increase as the age increases, because the hardened arteries carrying blood to the unborn child are unable to do so effectively. The rate of losing a in the initial stages also climbs - from a 9 per cent miscarriage rate among 22-year-olds to approximately 30 per cent in in their 30's.

There is an increased risk of stillbirth in pregnant people as they age.

However, even if the lady were to get pregnant, there are increased chances of her having lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure or thyroid problems, which may be present beforehand or develop due to stress caused by the These days, lifestyle-related hormonal problems, such as polycystic ovarian disease, have also taken centre-stage and are creating more problems in older wanting to start a family.

These days as are delaying and are opting for fertility treatments because chances of natural conception decrease with age. But this process is more cumbersome and complicated, compared to natural reproduction.

Another trend is to freeze their eggs. The eggs are frozen at a young age and can be thawed later. This prevents age affecting the quality of the eggs. But the flipside is that the treatment is costly and the patient can conceive only through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which has low success rates.

At the end of the day, the right to give birth or postpone a is entirely an individual's choice. A woman's fertility begins to decline beginning in her 30s, with a more significant decline after the age of 35. Each month, there's only a 20 percent chance of for a woman in her 30s, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Thus, for a healthy a woman should start thinking about her reproductive goals in her late 20s and plan a in her early 30s.

First Published: Sat, January 13 2018. 21:36 IST