Waiting To Have A Baby?

Waiting to have a babyAdvancing age decreases your ability to have children.

While women and their partners must be the ones to decide the best time when (and if) to have children, women in their twenties and early thirties are most likely to conceive. Stories in the media may lead you to believe you can delay getting pregnant and then use assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to get pregnant when you're ready, however, age affects the success rates of infertility treatments as well as your natural ability to get pregnant.

A healthy 30-year-old woman has about a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month.  But by age 40, her chance drops to only a 5% chance of getting pregnant in a given month.

Percentage of married women who are infertile by age group.

Age Group (years)
20 - 24
25 - 29
30 - 39
35 - 39
40 - 44
Percent Infertile
Percent chance of remaining childless*
Adapted from Menken J, Trussell J, Larsen U. Age and infertility. Science. 1986;23:1389.
* Historical data based upon the age at which a woman marries. 


A woman's fertility declines for a number of reasons including changes in the ways her ovaries function, her menstrual cycle, the number and quality of eggs she has remaining in her ovaries, and if she has eggs with genetic abnormalities. A man's fertility can decline leading to sperm with abnormal shape and unable to move efficiently toward the egg in order to fertilize it. Older sperm may have genetic abnormalities and as a man gets older, other problems such as lowered libido and erectile dysfunction can also occur.

ASRM has several publications that can offer more information.

Start with the ASRM Topic Index where you can find information on: 

ASRM also houses publications such as ASRM Fact Sheets and Booklets written with you in mind: 

ASRM also has factsheets and booklets on other causes of infertility, fertility treatments, general reproductive health, contraception, menopause, and many other subjects. Click here for the complete list of available materials. 

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