If watching your pregnant BFF makes you think about having kids of your own, you’re probably not alone. Depending on how old you are, you might be closer to coming up with celeb-inspired baby names or skipping grandkids for grandpuppies. No matter where you’re at when it comes to having kids, Trish McMorrow — a clinical educator at Progyny with a master of science in nursing — encourages women to be proactive about their reproductive health.
When talking about fertility, women usually mention 35 as the “magic number” — the alleged time to pump the brakes on getting pregnant. This idea has been part of women’s lore for years, and we reached out to McMorrow to see if it’s actually true. Turns out, the old (young?) wives’ tale may have something to it! “The reason why 35 is an important age for having kids is really due to your biological clock,” shares McMorrow. “As you get older, your egg quality and quantity will get older too.”
While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, McMorrow explains that at 30, the average woman’s ability to conceive naturally each month is 20 percent. Those odds drop down to five percent around age 40. “Because of this decline, 35 is considered an advanced maternal age and is termed a ‘geriatric pregnancy,’” McMorrow reveals. “This means if you’re getting pregnant at 35 or older, you’ll be monitored by your doctor more frequently and closely to ensure the baby is carried to full term.”
The key here is that pregnancies are possible past age 35 — they simply become more difficult past that point. Although this fact might be scary, there’s some empowerment in knowing the limits of your fertility, especially when it comes to your reproductive health.
Here’s the good news of confirming the “magic number” myth: Since you can predict your reproductive future, you can work proactively to take full advantage of it. McMorrow encourages women to think realistically about how many kids they want and when. Knowing the timeline you need to stick to, you can have serious conversations with your partner about what having kids will look like for your lifestyle and relationship. Plus, freezing eggs and surrogacy can help extend the timeline for having biological kids of your own — and adoption remains an option at any age.
Is there an age you want to have a baby by? Let us know @BritandCo!
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