Fertility: What's Age Got To Do With It?

(Purchase, NY)  We live in a world that is endlessly in pursuit of the fountain of youth. While skin creams and certain ‘procedures’ promise to erase visible signs of aging and exercise fads and diets promise to keep us vibrant well into our golden years, there isn’t a product, food or yoga class women can take to keep their internal biological clocks from keeping track of time.

In a recent educational video by The American Fertility Association (http://theafa.org/), titled The (Slightly) Older Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant  Sandy Goodman, M.D., of The Reproductive Medicine Group, Tampa, discusses issues that women in their late thirties and beyond need to know about their pregnancy potential. The video, funded by Attain Fertility® Centers, is part of a series that addresses a wide range of fertility issues and options for people hoping to achieve a successful pregnancy. The Reproductive Medicine Group is part of the Attain Fertility Network.

In the video, Dr. Goodman stresses the importance of educating women about their fertility potential from a fairly young age. She explains that most woman don’t fully understand the fact that they are born with all of the eggs they will ever have and that each month those eggs begin to die off.  And even among those women who do understand, too often many believe that if they use birth control pills, stopping ovulation, they are protecting their eggs. This, however, is not true.  Nor is it true that a woman only loses one egg every month. The biological fact is that by the age of 35 a significant portion of a woman’s eggs are gone and along with an increase in the number of dying eggs, with age the quality of those remaining diminishes.

“Women should be knowledgeable about their biological clocks,” says Dr. Goodman. “They should understand that once they are in the position to become pregnant, they should be proactive. Make sure they are as healthy as possible; that they maintain a healthy weight. And they should be diagnosed and treated for health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.”

She also encourages women to:

  • See their OB-Gyn regularly, and
  • See a fertility specialist if they are over the age of 35, off of contraception and have been trying, unsuccessfully, to become pregnant for six months or more

“Women should be educated so that they can be proactive and make choices instead of having choices made for them,” she explains.

While all of this may sound alarming, Dr. Goodman is encouraged that for those struggling to have a baby later in life, new technologies and techniques are making their chances better than ever before.  Three of the most successful treatments are in vitro fertilization, cryopreservation of eggs and the use of donor eggs and embryos.

“If a woman knows she’s not ready to get pregnant or recognizes that there will be a time after the age of 35 when she can’t get pregnant, she can elect to have her eggs removed and cryopreserved so that in the future those eggs can be utilized,” Dr. Goodman explains. She adds that when eggs are frozen, they are literally frozen in time at the age at which they were removed. “It is a very exciting technology,” she adds.

According to the video, pregnancy rates through in vitro fertilization (IVF) have increased significantly. “The chance of us helping people over 35 become parents is better than ever before,” Dr. Goodman says.

And finally, for those who no longer have viable eggs, donor egg and embryo are available and viable options.

The (Slightly) Older Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant concludes on a hopeful note with Dr. Goodman stating that she believes that through a combination of knowledge, proactive choices, good health and advanced techniques and treatments, the vast majority all couples trying to achieve a pregnancy will be successful.

About IntegraMed America, Inc.

IntegraMed is a leader in developing, marketing and managing specialty outpatient healthcare facilities, with a current focus on the fertility and vein care markets.  IntegraMed supports its provider networks with clinical and business information systems, marketing and sales, facilities and operations management, finance and accounting, human resources, legal, risk management, quality assurance, and fertility treatment financing programs. 

Attain Fertility Centers, an IntegraMed Specialty, is the nation’s largest fertility center network, with 14 company-managed partner centers and 28 affiliate centers, comprising over 130 locations across 34 states and the District of Columbia.  Nearly one of every four IVF procedures in the U.S. is performed in an Attain Fertility Centers network practice.

Vein Clinics of America, an IntegraMed Specialty, is the leading provider of specialty vein care services in the U.S.. The IntegraMed Vein Clinic network operates 41 centers across 14 states, principally in the Midwest and Southeast.

For more information about IntegraMed please visit: www.integramed.com for investor background, www.attainfertility.com for fertility, or www.veinclinics.com for vein care.

About The American Fertility Association

The American Fertility Association is committed to preventing infertility whenever possible and to helping people build families of choice, particularly when faced with infertility.  AFA services and materials are provided free of charge to consumers and available to everyone without reservation. Contact The American Fertility Association at info@theafa.org, visit www.theafa.org or call 888.917.3777.