Causes - Age - Symptoms

Several key changes occur when a woman enters her 30s that may affect fertility. Ovulation, when an egg is released from the ovary, tends to slow down and occurs less frequently as women age. This is a natural occurrence in preparation for menopause. However, it can make fertility over 35 more challenging.

Health issues after 35
Certain reproductive health issues are more common in women over 35 that can interfere with pregnancy, including:

  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Uterine cysts

As women age, the chances are greater that eggs with chromosomal abnormalities are fertilized. Giving birth to babies with Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities becomes more common.

Age and miscarriage
There is also a greater chance for women over 35 to miscarry. This is due in part to the fact that women over 35 have more eggs with chromosomal abnormalities. About 20 percent of pregnancies to women ages 35 to 39 end in miscarriage. For comparison, only 10 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage for women in their 20s.

Seek fertility advice
If you are over 35 and want to get pregnant, talk to your OB/GYN. He or she may refer you to a fertility specialist for further testing or treatment.