Doctors are telling us women at younger and younger ages that we are too old to have children. This is interesting, considering over 450,000 babies were born to women 35-39 and almost 95,000 were born to women over 40 years of age. What do the actual facts–and not the statistics generated through fertility clinics–have to say about our fertility as we age? It is not that we aren’t as fertile as we are when we’re twenty, there are strong statistics to support the fact that women in their late 30’s, as well as in their 40’s can be very fertile. First of all we would certainly guess that the highest frequency for abortion would be 19-25 year olds. Guess what the second highest age range is? Over 40! (National Center for Health and Statistics)
The idea that women above the age of 35 are “too old” is undermining the confidence of millions of women concerning their fertility. It also places tremendous fear and pressure on these women to do multiple cycles of fertility procedures without taking time to renew themselves between cycles.
For generations, scientists have believed that every female mammal is born with all the eggs she will ever have. This is the basis for the argument that “old eggs” cause the decline in fertility as women age.
But a recent study at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital discovered that female mice have germ-line stem cells in their ovaries that can make new eggs throughout the female’s fertile life.
This would parallel the function of germ-line stem cells in males, which make new sperm throughout the male’s fertile life.
Though more study is needed, this is a very hopeful breakthrough for women struggling to conceive.